Holland lops are a compact dwarf breed generally in the 4lb area. They have remarkable character, making them ideal for pets and for showing. Their large color options also make them a unique breed to work with. Their unique lop ears in a smaller size rabbit make them ideal for most any home or apartment. They possess in most all cases a playful and highly expressed character that isn't found in some of the other breeds. For a first time pet owner, we recommend these guys or the slightly larger mini lop or mini rex for first time owners. As with any breed, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general the holland lop has been a easy choice in what we look for in the personality of our pets.
Holland lops were being developed in Europe after World War II. The rabbits used initially were netherland dwarfs and french lops but with little success. However, with importing the english lop into the mix, success was reached after several litters and the smaller lop version was created around 1964. These lops were further reduced from the initial 6lbs to the 4lb standard we see today. Holland lops were brought to the U.S. and quickly adopted into the ARBA at that time.
Downfalls to the breed are struggles in some ways with breeding, albeit, some of this problem is related to breeding practices. Smaller litter numbers, and higher failure rates can at times make them rather challenging breed to work with, however, there is still many ways to overcome the challenges by using the proper pairings to continue this dwarf breed's exposure.
Just like their smaller sized counterparts in holland lops, the larger mini lop is also a welcome fun pet for most any first time rabbit owner. They possess most of the same qualities of personality that a holland does but range a couple pounds higher in the spectrum of lops. They run and play in the same ways, and they enjoy manipulating objects or tossing them around in the play area. We have found several and own many that are so relaxed that they fall asleep around our neck, or watching tv on our laps. Feed costs are slightly higher due to the overall medium size, but not incredibly much if properly rationed pellets and ample hay is provided.
The history of lop eared rabbits goes back several hundred years, as far back as 1100 A.D. One rabbit that was developed early on was the German lop in Germany around WWII. The development of this lop was to focus on the size for meat production. As time went forward, the need for space created a situation for the development of smaller rabbits. Soon after, the Klein Widder was created in 1957 in Germany. The Klein Widder was a smaller version of the German Lop and in 1964, the lops were developed and shown. In 1972, an American breeder took notice of the few that had been successfully created and brought a few back to America with hopes of expanding the color scheme and numbers. Work continued through the 1970's, however, not much interest were given to the new breed, and so the name was changed to mini lop in 1978. The new breed was given away to breeders around the nation after several conventions with the ARBA, and was fully recognized in 1980.
Downfalls to the breed, is that many think that mini lops are the same as their smaller counterparts in Hollands. Mini lops are a little bigger by a few pounds, and those that dislike being picked up will certainly be stronger and be more capable of scratched armes and the such. However, given all those things, they are still in general very wonderful rabbits, and the breed is one we really adore.
Netherland dwarf is an interesting and lucky breed that has an abundance of colors available.. The dwarf rabbits were built on polish rabbit stock in the early 1900's. Additional development took place in Germany, England, and Holland. After surviving two world wars, only 17 netherland dwarf rabbits remained in Europe. To boost numbers and the range of colors, they were bred with wild rabbits. This is what gave the cause for concern as the wilder and more high strung tendencies of the the breed became more expressed. Today, we still see that on occassion easily expressed under stressed conditions of some netherland dwarf rabbits making them a more challenging rabbit for any rabbit owner.
In the late 60's and 70's, they were imported to north america, and the breed was continuing to grow in popularity and were accepted into the ARBA in 1970. The Netherland dwarf breed has seen strong success, and over time, the aggressiveness and feisty nature is slowly being diminished. However, for most rabbit savvy owners, it's relatively easy with experience in handling, etc. They make great pets, especially with those with rabbit handling experience. There are several that you can find that are adorable, sweet, and not as feisty.
Downfalls to the breed are providing a good environment for them. As in most breeds, a place for them free of stress or natural prey animal threats will have the best responses. The Netherland Dwarf breed has a bad reputation, either from literature or from word of mouth about being aggressive. However, we have found this to be false and the have found they are no different than other breeds with concern to behavior response. Other challenges within the breed are all with regards to breeding/kindling. There very small litter sizes 2-3 on average makes them longer term projects. In many cases, double dwarf genes are present, as well as, known Max Factor genetics can be an issue. This causes at times partial or even full litter failures.