Mini Lops are described as a “basketball with a head” with so many captivated pet owners all over the world. The most striking feature of this lovely breed is its long and soft ears. National rabbit breed competitions recognize a Mini Lop’s ears as a part of judging, which is the best of the breed. But the cute Mini Lop is more than its ears. This guide will give you an overview of what this breed is all about and how to properly care for it as a pet.
Mini Lop breed history
The Mini Lop is a designer rabbit breed created by combining the genes of a German Lop and a Chinchilla. The new breed was called Klein Widder or “Little hanging ear.” The adorable breed actually had had many names, as many rabbit owners were fascinated by its unique characteristics.
During the early ’70s, a breeder from California named Bob Herschbach first saw this breed at a rabbit show in Essen, Germany, and purchased a trio and took these to the United States. Herscbach began breeding the rabbits and crossing these with a Standard Chinchilla.
The first time that this rabbit was presented to the American Breeder’s Association (ARBA), it was called “Klein Widder,” however, the name changed to Mini Lop in 1974. The Mini Lop finally had its pace in the ARBA in 1980 by Herby Dyke. Since then, bunny lovers are looking for Mini Lops to have as pets. Some join rabbit competitions or contests to find the best Mini Lops.
The ARBA Standard of the Mini Lop perfection may not be the same as the qualities of Mini Lops as pets. The Mini Lop has a compact body and is one of the smallest rabbit breeds. Even an adult Mini Lop is small, weighing only 3 to 6 pounds. But despite their very small size, all Mini Lops possess a circular body.
The Mini Lop body is huge and thick, and this is despite having a very large size. This rabbit is heavily-muscled and is well-rounded. This rabbit has a dewlap, which is not found in females of the species. The neck should be short and have a broadhead that sits near the compact body. Sometimes you might think that these rabbits lack a neck because of their compact body and very large head.
The name of this breed indicates that the rabbit has rounded and well-furred ears, which are lopped vertically to the side of the rabbit head. These ears look similarly like pigtails in a child’s head. The Mini Lop is a cute fat bunny that’s very cute and adorable.
Coat and fur
The Mini Lop has soft, luxurious, and medium-length rollback fur. But despite this lovely fur, these rabbits don’t need much grooming compared to Angoras or English Angoras. This requires weekly brushing that’s important to keep the fur soft. You may also increase grooming twice a week, especially during molting season (take note that molting season happens twice a year).
Along with keeping rabbit hair from your furniture, you must brush your rabbit’s fur more frequently, especially during moments when your pet is shedding like crazy. Doing this can protect your pet’s health. Rabbits are known as avid groomers and may eat their own hair accidentally. Accidentally ingesting balls of fur can endanger the health of your pet. An owner must help his pet get rid of hair or loose hair when brushing or to reduce the amount of hair that the rabbit ingests. You must monitor the molting season and brush the fur regularly to remove loose hair.
Mini Lop colors
Mini Lops are available in many colors. The ARBA has recognized a wide range of colors and marks for the Mini Lop. Now, there are seven recognized colors: Agouti, pointed white, broken, shaded, self, and ticked, and the wideband colors. You may have noticed that these are not names for colors, but these mean so much if you are rating Mini Lops. Also, these mean that there is a pattern or shade of a Mini Lop that will match an owner’s preference.
Care requirements of Mini Lops
Similar to all rabbits, Mini Lops requires a large enclosure where they can live, eat, rest, and socialize. If you decide on an outdoor enclosure, the structure must be raised and must be spacious for the rabbit to stretch its legs in a comfortable manner. You must place a ramp that extends to the lower part of the enclosure so that the rabbits can enjoy the ground or grass under their feet. This is what your outdoor pet will surely love.
If you decide to house your Mini Lop indoors, use a wire enclosure that will allow your pet to stretch out and to go to the toilet (poop and pee). The bedding must be spot cleaned daily so that your pet will lay down on clean and stain and poop-free bedding. You must change the bedding completely weekly. If you overlook this, health issues may arise, and this can completely affect the health of your pet.
Diet of Mini Lops
The diet of a Mini Lop rabbit is no different from any rabbit breed. This means that the diet must be composed of at least 70% of quality hay, such as timothy hay or orchard hay. The rest should be a healthy balance of fruits, veggies, leafy green veggies, and rabbit pellets (commercial rabbit food). Just like hay, there are different types of pellets that you will find in the market. Some commercial rabbit foods contain higher amounts of protein compared to others. Meanwhile, lower quality rabbit pellets contain very small amounts of nutrients and may not be worth buying.
You must also be aware of what kind of fruit or vegetables you feed your pet. Some fresh fruits and vegetables may be healthy for humans but are toxic to rabbits like calcium-rich fruits and veggies. Most green leafy veggies are unsafe because these foods can cause digestive issues, especially when taken in large amounts. You must feed your pet fruits and veggies that are high in fiber and nutrients.
Some rabbits develop the attitude of being picky when it comes to food, and this is not a good sign for rabbits. You must train your rabbit to eat healthy and proper food and not just boss its way around eating unhealthy foods.
Water is a vital part of any rabbit’s diet because this improves the digestive system’s health and can help enhance overall health. Inside its cage, it must have a good supply of clean water daily. Change water daily and spot clean it because some rabbits may poop or pee in the water. You may also use a water bottle with a spout to help your pet drink water without spilling it in the cage and making a mess.
Mini Lop rabbits must be allowed to play out of their cages. These rabbits should be allowed to create lasting bonds with their owners. Just letting your pet stay inside its cage without human interaction can dramatically affect its overall mental health. Also, rabbits that don’t develop a healthy relationship with their keepers may find it hard to trust their owners.
To interact with your pet, do so by starting to gain its trust. Only when your pet trusts you will you be able to help it grow out of its shell. You must also bunny proof your home or room, especially when you have an indoor rabbit. Your rabbit will usually chew on any kind of thing that they think as a toy. This is why most rabbit owners recommend using safe rabbit toys and chewing items.
Never leave an indoor rabbit to play without any adult supervision. For outdoor rabbits, make sure that these are safe from natural predators like pet cats, dogs, raccoons, and foxes. If you live in an area where rabbits are natural prey, it may be better to house your pet indoors where it can be safer. Remember, Mini Lops is very small and thus consider these as possible prey to large animals.
But this is not a reason not to give your pets some outdoor time but do so with constant supervision. Use a rabbit fence or a pet fence that is readily available online. Take note that rabbits may also dig holes, which is a normal thing as wild rabbits are known to burrow and make warrens. For this, consider burying the pet fence to a foot or more deep in the grounds. This will prevent your pet from digging out and escaping.
Also, consider that indoor rabbits also love to go on outdoor adventures and thus may not be as cautious as outdoor rabbits. Thus, you must always be around to assist with any problems.
Mini Lops are not affected by any disease, but there are some health concerns that most pet rabbits are affected as well. But with proper living conditions and good health care, Mini Lops can greatly prevent some diseases.
When your rabbit remains outside, it is vulnerable to flystrike, which is a condition when flies lay eggs on soiled fur, which are common in the rear part of the rabbit. When the eggs hatch, the maggots feed on the rabbit itself. It will start to eat the rabbit inside out if this is overlooked. This is very painful and can lead to seizures when the maggots reach the brain and spine and loss of motion.
Another thing to avoid is impaction of hair. Rabbits are very meticulous groomers and will ingest hair as they clean themselves. This behavior is similar to cats, but unlike these animals, rabbits don’t know how to vomit. Hairballs can remain in the intestines, and this can cause stasis or blockage of the GI tract. Prevention includes brushing the rabbit’s coat regularly to remove loose hair. Also, feed more food that contains roughage like hay and green leafy vegetables. And if you notice signs of GI blockage, you should take your pet to the vet at once. Remember that early treatment and prevention goes a long way.
A part of monitoring your pet’s health is taking good care of its teeth. The teeth of a rabbit grow continuously compared to humans that stop growing during their adult years. If the growth of a rabbit’s teeth is overlooked, this might grow very long and can pierce its mouth and lips, and this is very painful to your pet. For this, a dentist that specializes in rabbit teeth will have to cut the teeth down with a grinder.
You may also prevent this from happening by letting your pet chew on hay or other hard objects. The natural chewing motion helps to naturally grind a rabbit’s teeth. And aside from the teeth growth, consider cleaning your pet’s teeth to prevent cavities and remove plaque. As much as possible, take your pet to the dentist twice a year for cleaning and filing its teeth.
Inspect the rabbit ears for dirt and mites. This pest can infect rabbits through direct contact. If you suspect anything inside its ear, take your pet to the vet to remove dirt and pests. Do not overlook mites because, in just a day, the condition may turn to an infestation.
Mini Lops are very happy to be with their owners. These may sometimes display the attitude of a dog as this breed is very affectionate and will do what they can to show their affection to their owners. These look like small teddy bears, and thus, many people adore them as pets.
First, Mini Lops is gentle and, thus, can become good friends with children. But this may not be a good pet for very young children as they may only drop the rabbit and hurt it. For older children, the Mini Lop won’t mind being picked up and cuddled. They love to be the center of attention and let their owners groom them from head to toe.
Just like all pet rabbits, the personality of your Mini Lop breed will shine through when given the right encouragement. You must always spend time to play and train your pet. Rabbit proof your home so you can let your pet out of its cage. Rabbits like the Mini Lop also love to play with toys. Even simple toys like old newspapers, toilet paper rolls, and old baskets are perfect for hiding in and nibbling on.
Because this rabbit is very sweet and cuddly, these can be good pets for couples, seniors, and singles. It is for people looking for a cuddly companion. But just like other rabbits, not all Mini Lops are the same. Some may be harder to train than others, so take your time. Be patient with your pet, and it will surely learn tricks and trust you.