To help understand the Dwarf, the breed details are divided in to the following categories:
This lop eared Dwarf is recognised by the BRC (British Rabbit Council) but is not included as a breed by the same name with the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association).
The equivalent of the dwarf lop in the USA is called the Mini Lop.
It is also known as the Klein (Little) Widder (Hanging Ear).
(Mini Lop in USA)
General Type and Condition... 30
Head, Ears, Crown and Eyes... 25
Guard hairs... 10
The Dwarf Lop in Britain is descended from the first dwarf lops developed in the Netherlands during the 1950s, also known as Holland Lops.
A dutch rabbit judge and breeder, Adriann de Cock, is generally credited with developing the Holland Lop. He set out to create a miniature French Lop, by crossing the French Lop with the Netherland Dwarf, and while this did not produce lop-eared rabbits, further cross-breeding with English Lops proved more successful.
It was difficult to breed Dwarf Lops that were small enough, yet also had good ear carriage (the Netherland Dwarf influence produced smaller rabbits, and also introduced a wide variety of colours, but resulted in upright ears in many rabbits).
Years of careful selective breeding resulted in a rabbit very similar in type to the French Lop yet much smaller, and Holland Lops of around 2kg were first shown in 1964. Holland Lops were imported to Britain in 1970, and selectively bred to produce the small but substantial Dwarf Lop.
It would be easy to say that the Dwarf Lop is just a scaled
down version of the French Lop. However, it is how this scaling
down was achieved that not only differentiates the two breeds
but also accounts for another major difference, colour and coat.
Much more emphasis is put on coat and condition in the Dwarf
Lop breed standard than in the French Lop breed standard and
there are many more colours in the Dwarf Lop than there are
in the French Lop.
The French Lop was indeed the basis for the Dwarf Lop but
it was crossed with the Chinchilla and the Netherland Dwarf
to reduce the size rather than just selectively breeding small
French Lops for numerous generations.
It was the use of the Netherland Dwarf that accounts for the
great variety of colours in the Dwarf Lops today.
Britain Takes a Fancy
Known as the Klein (Little) Widder (Hanging Ear), the Dwarf
Lop that had been developed in Holland during the 1950’s
was first seen by British fanciers at the Utrecht Show in 1968.
In 1970 the late George Scott was the first to import them into
A breed standard was established, and the Dwarf Lop was recognised by the British Rabbit Council in 1977. Strengthened by further imports of improved Holland Lops from the Netherlands, the Dwarf Lop became very popular in Britain during the 1980s and 90s.
Many of the early specimens grew too large and had poor ear
carriage and as their arrival in Britain was only just before the
Ministry ban on the importation of rabbits much credit is due
to the few British fanciers who worked on the breed.
At the formation of the National French and Dwarf Lop Club
in 1977 the problems with weight were so acute that the
members of the Club asked the B.R.C. for a larger ring.
The request was refused and the breeders just had to work on
bringing the size and weight down.
Meanwhile the Dutch fanciers had continued to work on size
and type and it was Angio Chisea who imported eight of these
much improved small lops in 1978, even though he lost some
of them while they were in quarantine.
The Chisea lops were not to everyone’s liking. Some were so
low as to be below the three and a half pounds required by
the standard; however, Chisea exhibited some of his lops at the
Club’s Adult Stock Show at Coventry in 1979 and was awarded
Best in Show with one of them.
Best in Show
This was to prove the turning point for the breed as in 1980
a Dwarf Lop did well in the Fancy Challenge at the Bradford
Championship Show and by 1981 Dwarf Lops were winning
Best in Show at open shows and in fact were exceeding French
Lops in some areas.
Although the numbers of Dwarf Lops have declined in recent
years, perhaps in response to the rise in popularity of the
Miniature Lop, they were for many years the most popular lop
They reached their highest number at the Bradford
Championship Show in 1996 when 152 were shown, making it
the second highest number in any breed shown that year.
The lower weight limit for the Dwarf Lop breed standard was raised in 2000, establishing the Dwarf Lop as a distinctly heavier and more substantial rabbit than the smaller Holland Lops, which became known as Miniature Lops.
Despite the recent rise of the Miniature Lop, the Dwarf Lop remains one of the most popular show and pet rabbit breeds. (The Dwarf Lop is most similar to the Mini Lop in the United States, the Miniature Lop in Britain is known as the Holland Lop in the USA).
There is just the one 'variety' of dwarf lop but they have many different colour variations:
They can be self coloured (solid coloured) or have patches of white on the head, chest and legs.
The Dwarf Lop is a small to medium sized rabbit, weighing around 2-2.3kg (4½-5lbs). Ring size C.
Dwarf Lops bred as pets may be larger than 'show' rabbits and weigh up to 3kg (6½lbs).
Maximum - 2.381kg (5lb 4oz)
Minimum 1.93kg (4lb 4oz)
Weight over maximum. Adult weight under 4lb 4oz.
Body short with well rounded loins. Deep chest and wide shoulders, giving a cobby well-muscled appearance. Short strong legs.
Narrow shoulders, long in body.
Should be broad, thick well furred and rounded at ends. They should be carried close to the cheeks giving a horseshoe like outline when viewed from the front. The inside of the ears should not be visible from any angle when carried correctly. The ears are not measured.
Head - Well developed particularly in bucks. Good width between eyes. Full cheeks and broad muzzle are desirable.
Crown - The basal ridge of the ears should appear prominent across the top of the skull.
Eyes - Round and bright.
Narrow head. Ears carried back or not fully lopped.
Malocclusion. Runny eyes, odd coloured or wall eyes.
FAULTS - Brown eyes, white hairs.
FAULTS - Brown eyes, white hairs.
FAULTS - Brown eyes, too much colour on body, iron
grey - disqualification.
FAULTS - Too dark top colour, light tails. White tails a
FAULTS - Black/blue guard hairs to be considered a
FAULTS - Too many white hairs in nose, top lip and body
DISQUALIFICATIONS - Putty nose, white tips on ears.
ANY OTHER COLOUR - Any colour or pattern that conforms to the colour or pattern of recognised breeds, with the exception of the broken pattern.
Dwarf Lops have a dense coat of soft, medium length hair.
Coat - Coat to be dense and of good length, rollback with an abundance of guard hairs.
Coat too short or fly-back. Excessive white hairs in coloured exhibits, light tails in sooty fawns. White tails in sooty fawns a serious fault.
Poor condition. Putty nose. Bunches of white hairs or white toenails in coloured exhibits.
The average life span of a dwarf lop rabbit is from about 7 to 10 years, although with the proper care and attention they have been known to live in to their teenage years, but these are an exception.
Dwarfs are prone to maloclussion which can be fatal if not treated in time.
Rabbits that live indoors don't live longer for this reason alone, they are just less likely to come in to contact with wild rabbit diseases and predators etc.
However indoor rabbits tend to suffer greatly with the incorrect nutrition. Many indoor rabbits die due to GI stasis because they are not given the freedom to forage for their own choice of food and are given diets far too high in calories and low in fibre.
In fact rabbits do actually prefer living outside and providing they are properly cared for i.e. diet, exercise, protection, correct housing etc, they should live long, healthy and happy lives.
Dwarf Lops are generally good-natured and friendly rabbits. They are fairly active, playful, and enjoy the company of people and other rabbits. If introduced properly, they usually get on well with children and other pets.
They are quite laid back, very loving and will provide a lot of affection, if cared for and looked after properly.
It is a lively and outgoing breed, unlike the rather unhurried French Lop.
They are easy to house train, good natured and are okay with being handled and picked up, if done correctly.
Females and males can be especially temperamental until neutered/spayed.
These rabbits are good with caring children but as with all pet rabbits, adult supervision is advised with very young children.
Jumping & Agility
It might be nice to note that dwarf lops have been shown to possess a certain expertise on the show jumping circuit. This type of sport is becoming more popular in the UK, with shows on jumping and agility cropping up all over including America and Australia. Have a look at this great page that tells you how to go about training your bunnies for such events - exercise for you and your bunnies and they really love it too!
The Dwarf Lop was created as a domestic pet rabbit and a show breed.
Dwarf Lops are fast becoming very popular, especially in the UK. There are quite a few UK breeders now, however they are still under development so make sure you check the breeding history of your dwarf lop before you buy from a breeder.
Dwarf lops are very prone to dental disease, a potentially fatal condition that is often inherited. Front teeth malocclusion is common and back teeth problems develop later.
When purchasing, it is best to try and choose a rabbit with a low risk of hereditary teeth problems, from a reputable breeder or rescue centre, rather than other outlets which may not know the rabbit's family history.
Like all rabbits, the Dwarf Lop can develop dental problems, but this breed is actually prone to dental disease. Their teeth should be checked regularly for signs of overgrowth and their diet should include fibrous vegetables that will help keep their teeth down. Enamel spurs and overgrown molars can prevent them from eating properly and can cause abscess injuries in the mouth so it’s vital that the teeth are kept in good order.
Avoid overfeeding. An overweight bunny can find it difficult to groom themselves and if fur is allowed to become soiled with urine or faeces it can attract flies. These flies lay eggs in the fur and the maggots can burrow into the rabbit’s flesh, causing painful open wounds that will require veterinary attention.
All rabbits should be vaccinated against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis and should be treated regularly for fleas, ticks and worms. It’s also worth considering spaying any non-breeding females in order to prevent uterine cancer, which is common in all female rabbits. More on diseases here...
If your rabbit is going to live outdoors their house must be large enough for them to hop at least 3 decent sized hops (surprisingly this can be up to 6 foot for this breed) and be tall enough for them to stand upright on their hind legs. It should be completely weather and waterproof and positioned out of direct sun and wind. The hutch should have shavings and straw on the floor and should also provide a covered area where the rabbit can nest. The hutch must be cleaned out completely once a week and droppings must be taken out every day. A hutch or house should not be the ONLY area where they live. More on outdoor housing here...
Regardless of whether your Lop is going to live indoors or outside, They should have access to a LARGE exercise area when they are at their most active - early morning and late evening. A very large run or secure area of garden will allow them the opportunity to stretch their legs and indulge in their love of exploration.
If they are to live inside they can be easily taught how to use a litter tray. More on litter box training here...
They must be provided with an area where they can retire to, hide away and relax completely. A
dog crate or indoor cage is ideal but if they are given free run of the house (like cats and dogs are afforded the luxury of, so why not rabbits?) then they will usually find their favourite place, usually under a bed or behind a sofa etc. More on the importance of rabbit shelter and hiding places indoors...
Just make sure all wires, cables and anything precious are out of the way and off the floor. Be aware that the rabbit could be near your feet, as they love being close to you, and take care not to step on them when you are moving around. More on bunny proofing your house here...
This should include good quality hay, rabbit pellets and lots of fibrous green leaves and vegetables like kale, cabbage, carrot tops and dandelions with constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. More on house rabbits diet here... & Outdoor rabbit diet here...
It’s also worth making sure you know how to pick up and hold your rabbit correctly. Rabbits can struggle and panic if they’re held incorrectly. They’re stronger than they look and can injure their backs if they fall incorrectly or can give you a nasty scratch in their efforts to escape. More on correct handling here...
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
NFDLC - The National French and Dwarf Lop Club, based in England, hold shows and produce a newsletter for members throughout the UK.
Northern Lop Club - A large North England Lop club conforming to BRC standards. They hold competitions and shows all over the UK.
National Dwarf Lop Club - The National Dwarf Lop Club of Australia is a specilist club aiming to promote the lovely breed the Dwarf Lop Rabbit.
NMLRC - National Miniature Lop Rabbit - Facebook Page
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