A Mini Lop is a breed of rabbit that was officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder's Association in 1980. The rabbit usually has floppy ears, a rounded figure, and a gentle temperament. Its coat has a wide variety of patterns and colors. When fully grown, this type of rabbit usually weighs between 3 and 6.5 pounds (1.4-2.9kg). Although many people show Mini Lop rabbits, the animal's size and personality makes them an excellent companion as well.
The Mini Lop breed was discovered by Bob Herschbach in Germany in 1972. He proceeded to bring the breed to the United States and breed it selectively to achieve a standard, which became smaller and more colorful than its German predecessor. Once the breed became sanctioned by Breeder's Association, the Mini Lop Club of America was created with the intention of promoting this type of rabbit.
Mini Lops are known primarily known for having floppy ears, which they share with the rest of the Lop family. Although they often have a round appearance, these rabbits do enjoy running and exercise, and should be provided with ample space to play. While they are usually gentle, males can become territorial if not neutered. They are also a particularly smart breed, and can be trained to use a litter box and sometimes to respond to commands.
Like other rabbits, a Mini Lop rabbit eats primarily pellets and hay. Vegetables and fruits are also appropriate foods, but are primarily fed as treats. Most people find that brushing the rabbit helps keep its appearance tidier, although rabbits do groom themselves. Mini Lops do not usually require special grooming, which can make them especially attractive pets.
Although Mini Lop rabbits come in a variety of colors, only certain patterns are appropriate for show animals. There are both solid and broken patterns available. These patterns are usually named and have specific criteria for acceptance.
While the term Mini Lop refers to a breed in the United States, there is another lop breed in the United Kingdom called a Miniature Lop. This Miniature Lop is equivalent to the the Holland Lop in the United States, which is a dwarf rabbit. Despite being strikingly similar in the eyes of laymen, a Mini Lop and a Holland Lop are not the same breed. Many pet stores use these breed names interchangeably, and while both are excellent pets, if the animal is for show then it is best to purchase rabbits only from professional breeders.