The English lop is the oldest specialty breed of domesticated rabbit, known in the rabbit show world as the "King of the Fancy." In fact, all lop breeds today are descendants of the English lop, which was already established as a breed before the dawn of the 18th century. The English lop is characterized by its enormous ears, sometimes measuring as much as 28 inches (70 cm) from one ear tip to the other, and its elegant, mandolin-shaped body, tapering up from a low-lying head to a high, rounded backside in profile. The English lop has appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest ears, and the current record among the breed is 31.125 inches (79 cm), on a rabbit bred by Waymon and Margaret Nipper of California.
The English lop has long been a favorite among professional rabbit breeders, and it has earned numerous awards in rabbit shows through the years and dominated the "Best in Show" category in England for a stretch of time. However, it is also popular as a pet, and English lop owners swear by the animal's winning personality and affection towards people, a trait not all rabbits share. The English lop requires some special care because of its unique ears, and the decision to keep one as a pet should not be made lightly.
The ears of the English lop drag on the ground, as you would expect with ears of that size, so it is important for the rabbit to have enough space so that it is not forced to stand on its ears. Even with ample space, the rabbit will occasionally step on its own ears, so keeping the nails of an English lop well trimmed is essential to prevent injury. No rabbit should ever be picked up by its ears, but this is especially true of an English lop, as life-threatening injury could result. Ear wax buildup can also be a problem for this breed, so it is important to inspect the rabbit's ears often and clean them when necessary. The English lop is not a particularly active breed, so it does not require a lot of exercise, but care must be taken not to overfeed it for the same reason.
For dedicated owners, the English lop is a beautiful and rewarding pet, and although it carries extra grooming responsibilities, it is less likely than some other breeds to exhibit behavioral problems. For the many who have fallen in love with the look and personality of these amazing animals, a little extra care is a small price to pay.