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The Mini Lop is perhaps one of the most, if not the most popular rabbit breed in the world. It features in most rabbit shows in most countries and is kept as a pet by many, many people. It’s small size and floppy ears certainly make it appealing and many fanciers fall for the charms of this cute bunny.
Adrian de Cock, a Dutch breeder, is the man often credited with the foundation of the Holland Lop – the breed that was used to create the Mini. He put the largest Lop breed, the French Lop, with the Netherland Dwarf and this resulted in a diminutive version of the French. Although the union of these two breeds seems unlikely, de Cock persevered and in 1951 a litter of six kits was born and these tiny babies signalled the beginning of a new breed. Following the arrival of these first kits, an English Lop was added to the breeding mix to make the ears more ‘loppy’. The Holland Lop Breed Society was established in 1970 by Adrian de Cock with the aim of getting the Holland Lop down to a tiny 1.5kg. In 1980 these smaller Lops found their way into Britain after Yorkshire breeder George Scott found them via a contact in Holland. After Scott spent time breeding together the smallest examples of the breed, the Mini Lop was born. The Mini was recognised by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) in 1994 and is already one of the most popular pet and show breeds in the UK.
Main colourways: blue, black, brown, Chinchilla, brown, sealpoint, fawn, fox, butterfly Average weight: 1.6kg The coat of the Mini Lop should be dense and soft and of a good length. It should also have lots of guard hairs. They have a compact body that is broad and well muscled, with a round head and full cheeks. The chest is deep and broad with curvy sides. The shoulders are also very powerful, as are the hind legs and the tail is strong, straight and well-furred. The ears should be liberally covered in fur and should be rounded at the ends. They must be held quite close to the cheeks to form a horseshoe shape over the head. The eyes are round and bright. The Mini is accepted in all colours by the breed standard, apart from broken.
This breed is bright, cheerful and playful and because he’s intelligent he can be easily trained. He will get along well with other pets and animals – although he will prefer quiet, calm children! As prey animals rabbits can be skittish and very active, particularly the smaller breeds. If you buy your Mini Lop from a reputable breeder your pet will have been well socialised and handled from an early age which will have got him used to human and animal company. The Mini Lop is a friendly little animal that will delight with his antics, but he will need plenty of exercise and stimulation to prevent boredom setting in. He will love playing with cat toys – particularly those that have bells or rattles.
Rabbits are quite delicate creatures and should be handled with care. Any children in the house should be shown how to pick up their new pet properly as they can sustain injuries very easily. All rabbits should be vaccinated against VHD and myxomatosis. These are two very serious diseases that usually prove fatal. Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) is an extremely infectious airborne disease that can cause collapse, breathing difficulties, jaundice, bloody discharge from the nasal passages, fever, weight loss and groaning. There is no cure for VHD. Myxomatosis is carried by wild rabbits and is also highly infectious. Symptoms include swellings around the head, eyes and genitals and conjunctivitis which eventually leads to blindness and eventually death. Vaccinated rabbits can contract Myxomatosis but the symptoms will be much less severe than in animals that haven’t been vaccinated. Diet should be the number one consideration for any rabbit owners as not only will high-quality pellets and hay, as well as lots of fibrous green vegetables keep him fit and healthy, they will also help to keep his teeth worn down. A rabbit’s teeth grow constantly, and if they’re allowed to get too long the animal may have difficulty eating or develop injuries in his mouth that will require veterinary treatment. His diet should also be monitored carefully so the rabbit is not allowed to become overweight. Obese rabbits are unable to groom themselves and may fall victim to flystrike; where flies lay eggs in soiled areas of fur and the hatching maggots cause injuries to the skin. All rabbits should be treated for worms, ticks, fleas and lice and owners of does should consider getting their girls spayed as it can help prevent uterine cancer, which is common in rabbits.
The Mini Lop will need regular grooming to keep his fur in good condition. Frequent grooming sessions will also allow you to check him over for any signs of illness or injury. He should be fed the best quality pellets, hay and vegetables you can afford. If your rabbit is going to live outdoors in a hutch it should provide enough space for him to hop around and stand on his hind legs. It should be fully weatherproof with a wire mesh front that’s fine enough not to allow little legs through. A cover should be placed over the front of the hutch in very bad weather and it should be placed out of draughts and full sun. If you have a light, well-ventilated shed that will accommodate a hutch, this would be ideal. The hutch should be cleaned out once a week and droppings should be removed daily. He should be provided with clean, fresh water every day. He should have human company regularly and get the chance to exercise and play with his humans whenever possible. A run or secure area of garden should be provided so he can run and play with impunity. If he’s going to live indoors your rabbit should be litter trained and he should also be provided with a quiet area where he can escape for a snooze if he feels like it. Any important belongings such as shoes, phones, papers, toys and clothes should be kept well out of his way as he will chew them. Cables and wires are a favourite so make sure he doesn’t have access to these as not only is chewing them dangerous, it’s also irritating when your TV doesn’t work because the rabbit’s chewed right through the wire!
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