What is a Holland Lop Rabbit | Care, Nutrition, Health & FAQ

The Holland Lop rabbit is arguably one of the most adorable rabbit breeds there is. With its small droopy ears and small size, these friendly rabbits are the personification of cuteness. If you are interested in learning more about the Holland Lop, then you are in the right place. This article will provide you with a comprehensive review of everything you need to know about this rabbit breed.

What is a Holland Lop Rabbit?

The Holland Lop is a small and compact domesticated rabbit breed. This breed came about as the product of cross-breeding between the French Lop with the Netherland Dwarf by Adriann de Cock. The main reason behind the experiment was to produce a diminutive breed of the French Lop and thus, the Holland Lop rabbit was created.

Below, we are going to give a detailed break down of this rabbit; from their unique physical attributes to tips on how you can look after them as house pets. So let’s get started.

The Physical attributes of the Holland Lop according to the ARBA and the BRC associations

The Holland Lop nicknamed the “Hallmark Breed” is a rather interesting breed of rabbit. From their miniature size to a playful and energetic personality, there is a reason why they are some of the most loved house pets. It was developed in Holland (the Netherlands), hence the name. As earlier explained, the scientist behind their development had intended for the rabbits to look like smaller breeds of the much bigger French Lops with their characteristic lopped ears. Unfortunately, the few experiments were unsuccessful as the first litter had erect ears. A few experiments later, the perfect litter of Holland Lops was born. However, there is a lot more to the appearance of these rabbits than their small size.

The Holland Lop was officially recognized and accepted as a breed of domestic rabbit in 1964 by the Netherlands Governing Rabbit Council and in 1979 by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). In Britain and other countries guided by the BRC, the Miniature Lop is the equivalence of the Holland Lop and it is the breed recognized by the British Rabbit Council (BRC). Below is a breakdown of the features of the Holland Lop.

Holland Lop Physical Attributes According to ARBA and BRC Standards

The Holland Lop is classified under two groupsbased on the patterns of its fur coat, and divided between solid and broken patterns. A solid pattern means the rabbit has just one color throughout its body while a broken pattern indicates patches of two or more colors on the rabbit. This breed of rabbits have fur coats in a wide variety of about thirty recognized colors all categorized under 8 groups as shown below:

Coloration and Patterns

The wide choice of coat colors only adds to the appeal and cuteness of these bunnies. While the ARBA recognizes the broken patterns on Holland Lops, the BRC on the other hand, unfortunately, does not.

Health and Nutritional facts and considerations regarding the Holland Lop

While the Holland Lop is not susceptible to any unique hereditary ailments, it can suffer from similar health issues as other rabbit breeds. Some of the common health issues observed in Holland Lops include intestinal ailments such as enteritis, coccidiosis, bloat, and gut stasis. Intestinal health issues are especially common in bunnies under eight weeks of age as their digestive tract is still developing. Holland Lops generally have a more sensitive digestive system compared to other breeds of rabbits thus making them more vulnerable to health issues related to the digestive system.

The bunny may also be susceptible to cold, conjunctivitis, otitis, ear mites, fur mites, and viral infections found in smaller mammals. Putting the bunny under stress and exposing it to unfavorable and unsanitary environmental conditions can compromise the rabbit’s immune system thereby lowering its resistance to ailments. Most bacterial infections in bunnies are often as a result of lack of cleanliness and poor management of the rabbit’s environment. Thus, taking adequate care of the rabbit’s environment can help to prevent the growth of parasites that can cause infection.

Neutering the Holland Lop can also help to decrease the risk of reproductive system related health problems like uterine cancer in the rabbit. Rabbits should be neutered and spayed while they are still at a young age. Veterinarians recommend spaying and neutering for rabbits before they are up to six months of age. If you think a bunny is facing health problems, it is highly recommended to see a veterinary doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Nutritional Requirements of the Holland Lop 

The Holland Lop, like other breeds of rabbits is a herbivorous mammal. Their diet is mainly made up of fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets.

  • Vegetables

Fresh leafy greens such as spring greens, romaine lettuce and kale should make up at least three-quarters of your rabbit’s meal while vegetables such as summer squash, carrot tops, dandelion, cauliflower, and broccoli can make up the other one quarter.

  • Hay

Hay is also a vital part of your rabbit’s meal. It is rich in fiber which is great for their dental and digestive health. Rabbits can be fed grass hays like oat, orchard and timothy hay.

  • Pellets

Fresh pellets rich in fiber are also recommended on a daily basis. Pellets feed are specially formulated to provide bunnies with all their nutritional needs and they are generally better than mixes. Mixes containing dried fruit, seeds and corn should be avoided. You can give your rabbit as much as one eighth to one-quarter cup of pellets daily.

  • Treats

You should give your rabbit treats occasionally. While the above-mentioned foods are healthy and can be given to the rabbit in unlimited quantities, foods like starchy vegetables, fruits, carrot roots and alfalfa hay (a type of hay with a high calorie and protein content) should only be fed to the rabbits as treats and in moderation too.

It is important to ensure that all foods, especially fresh foods are washed properly before they are fed to the rabbit and any spoiled hay or fresh food left uneaten should be removed before the day ends. Water is also an essential part of their meal and should be provided at all times to the rabbit in a water bowl or sipper bottle. Rabbits should be fed daily as poor nutrition can cause ill health and possibly death.

How to take care of the Holland Lop

It is important for pet owners to know how to take proper care of their Holland Lop so it can lead a healthy and happy life. Holland Lops are easy to handle and simple to care for as they only require basic grooming.

  • Grooming

If you own a Holland Lop, then you should ensure that they are groomed from time to time. A basic grooming routine involves weekly or at most bi-weekly brushing of their fur. During the yearly two weeks of molting season in rabbits, they tend to shed more hair than usual so you may need to increase the frequency of the hair brushing. Veterinary doctors recommend brushing your rabbit a few times every day during this heavy shedding period. You can brush the bunny’s fur coat using a wide-toothed comb or a slicker brush. This will help to keep their fur coat lustrous and tangle-free. The Holland Lop is a low maintenance rabbit and does not require excessive grooming to keep its fur clean.

Beyond keeping their fur clean and beautiful, regular grooming can also save your rabbit’s life. Rabbits are naturally self groomers and they are likely to ingest a lot of their own hair in the process. Too much hair in the digestive tract can cause an intestinal blockage which can subsequently kill the rabbit. Regular grooming will help to reduce the loose hair on the fur coat, thus reducing the amount of hair bunny it is likely to ingest. It is also advisable to trim the nails of the rabbit on a regular basis as well, at least once every month is recommended.

Do not bath your Holland Lop and never submerge it in water. Being near water can put the rabbit under a lot of stress and as a pet owner, that is one thing you should not put your pet through. If you must clean its fur coat, you can dip a cotton ball to clean the dirty areas. It is also important that you check the rabbit’s teeth from time to time for overgrown teeth. The teeth of the Holland Lop never stop growing and if left unchecked, they can grow into the jaws of the rabbit which can be quite painful for them. Sometimes, overgrown teeth in rabbits can cause the mouth to shift. This is why it is necessary to feed your rabbit with a diet rich in hay on a daily basis. The hay helps to file the teeth, reducing their chances of outgrowing their bounds.

  • Housing

Holland Lops are house pets and should be kept indoors. Indoor housing will protect them from harsh weather conditions, predators and other dangers that lurk in the outdoors. Nonetheless, occasionally, they can be allowed to roam outside for fresh air and sunlight. The “outside” must be within a controlled environment, like in lawn enclosures, fenced yards or exercise pens. The idea is to keep them somewhere safe where they can play with supervision and can easily be collected and taken back indoors.

For the indoors, the Holland Lop can be kept in a puppy pen, playpen or cage. Cages are the most commonly used type of housing for rabbits. It is vital to keep the rabbit in proper housing if it must maintain a healthy state of living. Cages for rabbits must not be smaller than the specification – 18 inches by 25 inches. The cage should be at least five times as big as the rabbit. Nonetheless, the usual rule of thumb states that the bigger the enclosure is, the better.

The top and sides of the cage should be made out of strong wire but do not make the flooring of the cage with wire mesh as it can cause the rabbit to develop sores on its feet. You can place wooden flooring or a piece of carpet on the bottom of the cage. The bedding should be made of edible rabbit food like hay as the rabbit will likely eat it. Do not make your rabbit’s bed out of sawdust, straw or wood shavings from cedar or pine trees as these materials can be toxic to the bunny. Remember to check and clean the bedding on a daily basis.

It is advised to provide a hideaway box within the cage where the rabbit can retreat to. Rabbits are naturally jumpy animals and things scare them easily. A hideaway box can provide a safe place for them to hide when they are scared. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. A hiding place can be a cardboard box construction. The idea is to construct an enclosed area that can conceal them.

My article on ” Housing your rabbit inside or outside ” can be a great source of information on this matter. If you are interested in checking my article, click here.

  • Playing

Rabbits need playtime to expend their energy. Holland Lops are social animals who require a lot of physical stimulation and companionship to thrive. As such, locking them up in a cage every day would be terrible for their psychological health. It is highly recommended that you provide them with play toys and other interesting objects to keep them entertained. You can also release them out of the cage to wander indoors occasionally.

It is pertinent to ensure that your house is rabbit-proofed before releasing them and their toys should be made out of non-toxic materials as they may nibble on it. You can buy pet-safe toys from your local store or make one yourself from recycled household items such as cardboard rolls made from paper towels, cardboard boxes, etc. If you wanna know more about how to rabbit-proof your home, you can check my article, where I explain in detail how to secure your house from your rabbit, clicking here.

  • Littering

Rabbits should be trained on how to use a litter box. A medium sized litter box for a cat would do for the Holland Lop. Keep hay within the litter box and endeavor to clean it out as often as possible. To clean it, just discard the entire content of the litter box, add rabbit safe bedding then put it back in its original position. You can use multiple litter boxes if you have more than one rabbit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How long do Holland Lops Live?

A: The Holland Lop has an average life span of 7 to 12 years. However, neutering or spaying rabbits can extend their lifespan as excessive breeding has been found to shorten the lifespan of does. Proper nutrition and adequate care can also lengthen their life span.

Q: Do rabbits stink?

A: No. Rabbits are avid groomers and are known to be very clean animals. If your rabbit is litter trained as well, then you will have absolutely no problems with smell.

Q: Do Holland Lops make good pets?

A: This breed of rabbits are excellent pets. They are quite popular for their sweet and gentle temperament and as such, tend to be great with children. They can be very affectionate and friendly, and may even like to be cuddled. However, they are very active pets and will need frequent interaction and playtime with their human caretaker or another rabbit.

Q: Can two Holland Lop rabbits share a rabbit cage

A: As social animals, rabbits love to be in pairs or trios. Rabbits may bond with other rabbits to form bonded pairs which are usually almost inseparable. Both un-neutered and altered rabbits raised together from birth may also form bonded pairs. Such bonded pairs can cohabit in one cage happily. Non bonded rabbits on the hand may begin to scrap as early as 3 to 6 months old, thus it may be necessary to keep them in separate cages until they get to know each other. It is not advisable to keep a pair of the opposite gender of rabbits together as they may start breeding as early as 3 months.

Q: Is spraying a major problem with rabbits?

A: Rabbits tend to spray urine around an area to mark their “territory”. This problem can be removed by neutering or spaying the rabbits while they are still young. Altered rabbits also generally have fewer behavioral issues and calmer temperaments when compared to the unaltered ones.

Conclusion

Overall, it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to take care of the Holland Lop and taking good care of your rabbit will enable it to live a longer and better life. Moreover, rabbits are much less demanding house pets compared to dogs and cats. In addition to their wonderful temperament, they are also quite adorable and if you fancy having a rabbit as a pet, then you could consider getting the Holland Lop.

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