Description: The head is wide and bold, held on a short, thick-set neck. The ears, which are 12 to 15 inches long, are much shorter than on the English lop. The ears form a ridge on the crown of the head adding to the boldness and distinctive head shape.
“King of the Fancy” is a phrase used exclusively to describe the lop for two reasons. It is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated rabbit known to man-records indicate it was well-known over a century ago. Secondly, the lop reached such a high standard of excellence in the 1920s that many breeders of fancy rabbits refused to compete against it in the A.O.V. (any other variety) class. The situation became so acute that a decision was made to give the lop a class of its own.
Of the three lops that are bred and exhibited, the English lop is the most popular. It would seem that ear length is of primary importance, but this is not quite true. In fact, ear width and shape are slightly more important. A good length ear in the English lop exceeds 25 inches. 27 inches in length is exceptional. Coupled with length, the ears should have plenty of width and substance, giving
them a thick, leathery feeling. Good length is meaningless if the ears are very narrow and paper-like in substance. The ears should be well rounded at the tips and carried well. The carriage of the ears refers to the way they trail from either side of the head; they should not be carried erect.
When measuring the ears at shows, a wooden rule is always used, which reaches from ear tip to ear tip. A metal rule could cut the ears, possibly ruining a superb specimen. The ears must never be stretched, as the blood vessels lie close to the surface and any rupture would bruise the delicate tissue.
There is a controversy about the use of heat to increase the ear length in young stock. There has never been any definite proof, yet an excess of heat would certainly make the lop very uncomfortable.
The English lop is bred in a limited variety of colors: the most popular is sooty fawn. Others are black, fawn and marked varieties of these colors. The marked varieties must conform to a set pattern. The white patches on the head and nose must leave a butterfly smut of the color other than white. The white extends from under the chin and runs along the belly as in the tan and other varieties.
The lop type has massive proportions; the body is very mandolin-shaped, heavy and thick-set. The head is broad and bold and set well onto the shoulders. To complete the bold look, the eyes must also be bold and bright and as large as possible. The lop should be firm in flesh-not baggy or skinny.
Well known in Europe, the French lop was reportedly produced by crossing the English lop with an unknown breed. The French lop is a massive, thick-set breed with a wide, deep body. The flesh is firm and well-muscled, the bone heavy and strong. It is a short and cobby breed with a distinct curve from the nape of the neck to well-rounded loins and hindquarters.
The third type of lop is the dwarf. This is a rather new breed that originated by crossing the French lop with a dwarf. Although the dwarf breed has never been ascertained, it is probably the Netherland dwarf because the dwarf lop was produced in Holland, the home of the Netherland dwarf.
The dwarf lop is almost a miniature of the French lop, except that the dwarf weighs three and a half to four pounds when adult. The type required is exactly the same as for the French lop.
The usual color of the dwarf lop is agouti, but it can be bred in self black, white and sooty fawn. There are also two shoulder spots on either side of the body, but there must be no other white markings on the back and sides.
Drooping from the crown, the ears lie close to the cheeks in a horse-shoe fashion. Ear width and shape are also important in the French lop soft, with no inclination to harshness or fly-back. The most popular color of the French lop is agouti, but any color is permissible including the marked pattern of the English lop.