Petite and cute, Holland lops are a popular breed for a reason. A cross breed between the French lop and the Netherland dwarf, they officially became a recognized species of their own by the Netherlands Governing Rabbit Council in 1964 and by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1979.
As affectionate and friendly as they are, it is no wonder that Holland lops are in the top 5 rabbits to have as pets. But, like with any pet, it's best to know how to care for a Holland lop before deciding to get one.
At an average of 2 to 4 pounds, Holland lops are considered dwarf rabbits. Their defining characteristics are their tiny size and large, lopped ears. Their fur can come in many colors including luminous brown, dark brown, gray, white, light orange, and dark orange. They are wide, stocky, and short, with thick hind legs and, of course, small, fluffy tails.
With their sweet and amicable nature, Holland lop bunnies make excellent pets. It's common for males in the species to be more outgoing than their female counterparts. Females tend to nip more than males, especially around breeding time. They are a sociable breed and are known to be great with kids. They are also capable of getting along with other rabbits and animals.
A Holland lop's diet should consist mostly of timothy hay, supplemented by high quality pellets. Fruits and vegetables can be included in your bunny's diet but should be given sparingly and not as the main source of nutrition. Fruit consumption should especially be monitored and only offered to your lop 1 or 2 times per week because it is very high in natural sugars that can lead to obesity if your bunny eats too much. The general rule is 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit per 5 pounds of bunny body weight, which doesn't amount to much for your tiny lop. It's also important that the rabbit have access to water at all time.
A Holland lop needs a cage that is at least 18 inches by 25 inches, although bigger is preferable. While wire bottoms are recommended by some, they should be avoided due to the problems they can cause a rabbit's feet. A plastic bottom will serve better in the long run and can be covered in bedding to keep your lop comfortable.
Rabbits are social animals, and the Holland lop is no exception to this. It's a good idea to adopt them in pairs. Owners should expect to spend a few hours a day playing with their rabbit. They require a lot of time out of their cage with regular interaction and socialization. Holland lops should not be left alone and unattended to all day.
Unlike a cat or dog, a Holland lop can't meow or bark to get across its needs, but that doesn't mean they're completely unreadable. Grunting, thumping, or nipping are signs that the rabbit is upset and wants to be put down or left alone. On the positive side, licking or rubbing with its chin means the rabbit trusts and cares for its owner. Holland lops even have their own version of purring. This sound is created when the teeth click lightly together to produce a sound when they're being petted or groomed.
Holland lops require plenty of exercise. They are not an animal that can be kept in a cage all the time and will need to be let out to run around daily. A normal sized room will give the rabbit plenty of space to run. As they are playful rabbits, Holland lops enjoy having plenty of toys to chew on and play with. Even makeshift toys like an empty toilet paper roll or a piece of cardboard are great options that cost practically nothing.
Holland lops need to be brushed once or twice a week in order to keep their coats healthy. This need increases during molting season, when they might need to be brushed once a day instead. It's also important to keep their nails trimmed. The best practice is to clip them once a month. This should be done cautiously or by a professional, as trimming their nails too close to the paw will hurt them.
The biggest risk factor with Holland lops is their teeth. They can develop overgrown teeth that will cause the rabbit pain and possibly lead to infection. To keep this from happening, they need a diet with lots of timothy hay and a variety of chew toys to play with to wear their teeth down naturally.
While Holland lops have no specific hereditary health issues, they can develop other health problems typical to all rabbits. Ear infections are an increased issue for lops because of their large ears. Digestive issues are another concern. Lops should be monitored to make sure they are eating and digesting food properly. If anything seems wrong, a trip to the vet may be in order.
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