French lop rabbits are furry little creatures that are often domesticated as pets.
However, did you know that they also serve plenty of other purposes?
What are French lop rabbits? Scientifically known as Oryctolagus cuniculus, it is a large breed of rabbit that relishes affection and human interaction. For this reason, they make great pets for many fur-parents. In other parts of the world, they are also grown and bred for their fur and meat.
What Is a French Lop Rabbit?
The French lop rabbit is a crossbreed between two large breeds of rabbits.
As the name suggests, they are native to France and other European countries.
They also became relatively popular in the United States during the 1970s.
Their muscular and bony structure is prominent in rabbit farming, while their calm temperament is ideal for domestication.
French Lop Rabbit History and Origin
The French lop rabbit is a product of selective breeding, which was first practiced in the 19th century.
While there is no definitive record of it, the French lop presumably came from crossbreeding the English lop and the Flemish giant rabbit.
Their large stature is the primary reason why people breed the French lop.
In fact, their meat production was astoundingly helpful in rabbit farming that they also became popular in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and other neighboring countries.
By 1965, French lops also became part of rabbit shows and exhibitions.
This was also around the time when the breed was first introduced to the United States.
Since then, French lops have become a popular breed both for rabbit farming and domestication.
French Lop Rabbit Characteristics
Being the offspring of two of the largest rabbit breeds in the world, it’s not that difficult to distinguish a French lop rabbit.
If you ever plan on owning one, here are some of its characteristics that you need to be aware of.
The French lop rabbit can weigh anywhere between 10 to 15 pounds, which is about the weight of a small to medium-sized dog.
They have a semi-arched or mandolin-shaped body with a soft but dense coat of fur.
That said, perhaps the most notable physical feature of the French lop rabbit is its ears.
Hanging from the top of their head to just below the jaw, their lopped ears can reach five to eight inches long.
A French lop rabbit’s coat is rollback fur.
Essentially, this means that the fur will revert to its original position even after brushing it in the opposite direction.
The coat is only about an inch or two in length, and they don’t shed too much on off-seasons.
Many are quick to assume that the French lop rabbit is quite aggressive because of its large size.
On the contrary, this breed is one of the calmest pets you could ever have despite its intimidating appearance.
In reality, they are a very friendly breed that loves being picked up and caressed.
They love being around people who show them affection, which is why they make great household pets.
Additionally, French lop rabbits aren’t as destructive as most of the other breeds.
However, they might resort to chewing when they get bored and have nothing else to do.
A French lop rabbit’s coat comes in two varieties: solid and broken.
It can either be one or a mixture of two of the following colors: black, white, red, chocolate brown, or light brown.
Unlike other breeds, French lop rabbits do not have unique markings in their coat or fur.
The French lop rabbit breed has an average life expectancy of five to eight years.
However, some of them who are well taken care of can live up to 15 years.
French Lop Rabbit Care
How you take care of your French lop rabbit will significantly affect its lifespan.
Ergo, it would be best to learn this breed’s care needs to ensure that you can be with them for years.
Here are basic rabbit care tips for French lops:
Health and Diet
Most rabbit breeds only need clean water and timothy hay, and the same is true for French lops.
With that said, you have to ensure that they constantly have quality food and water supply.
Their large size means they need a lot of energy just to move around.
Hence, they also need to rehydrate and replenish their bodies quicker than other breeds.
You can provide your French lops with treats from time to time just for variety.
This breed loves vegetables, fruits, and even flowers, but don’t give them too much because overconsumption can lead to food poisoning.
Shelter and Space
French lop rabbits are good enough to be left wandering indoor or outdoor.
Their non-destructive and calm behavior wouldn’t have you worrying about your furniture and personal belongings.
Nevertheless, if you plan to put them inside an enclosure from time to time, make sure that it accommodates their size.
The enclosure should be tall enough that their ears or head don’t touch the ceiling when they’re upright.
Moreover, they should also be able to lay flat on the floor without touching the walls.
Lastly, it should be long enough that they can hop three times consecutively from one end to the other.
Long-haired rabbit breeds may look magnificent, but they require a lot of regular grooming.
Fortunately, French lops are short-haired, which also means they don’t shed that much fur.
The key to maintaining their coat is to make sure you brush their coat once a week.
During their shedding season, you’ll want to increase the frequency to twice a week to prevent their fur from tangling.
The most crucial part is that you regularly check and clean their ears.
Because of their size and the fact that they are lopped, it can be warm inside.
This warm environment attracts insects and pests to your French lop’s ears, and if they lay their eggs there, you could be looking at an infection.
Toys and Activities
Despite being calm-natured, French lop rabbits can be destructive when bored.
As such, it would be for the best if you provide them with chew toys whenever you’re not around.
On the other hand, they won’t seek much from you when it comes to playful activities.
You can just sit with them, place them on your lap, or carry them while petting their fur.
Breeding French Lop Rabbit
With their size and temperament, you might be wondering what French lop rabbits are bred for.
Here are their most common uses:
Most pet shops worldwide sell French lop rabbits as pets.
One reason for this is that their calm behavior makes them relatively easy to live with.
Additionally, their size also makes you feel as though you have a dog at home.
They might not be as energetic as puppies, but they also wouldn’t be as noisy.
French lops also don’t require too much maintenance, and you won’t need a trained groomer to take care of their coat.
Another reason why they’re an ideal choice for a pet is that their food and grooming tools are easy to get a hold of.
Lastly, you’ll find that they are very affectionate, so you won’t feel alone when you have them with you at home.
Aside from breeding them as pets, French lop rabbits are also bred and used to make wool.
However, they don’t always produce as much wool as the other breeds because of their short fur.
They will shed their old coat on a particular season, allowing you to make wool properly.
Because of their muscular structure, French lop rabbits are also sold for their meat.
In fact, that’s what they were originally bred for and probably why they became popular.
With that said, it’s important to note that rabbits are not classified as livestock.
Therefore, slaughtering them for the selling of their meat might be prohibited in certain states and counties.
French Lop Rabbit Gestation
The short gestation period is perhaps one of the most prominent reasons French lop rabbit breeding is very popular.
When a female French lop gets pregnant, it only takes about 28 days or one full month before the baby rabbit is born.
These babies are born without hair and blind.
After 10 days, baby French lops will begin to develop their vision and grow their fur.
French Lop Rabbit Price
The price of a French lop rabbit depends on its quality and pedigree.
Those raised properly can cost as high up as 50 dollars each.
However, this cost will decrease depending on the current health and age of the rabbit.
Furthermore, certain animal welfare agencies globally have strict regulations on rabbit selling and meat trading.
For instance, breeders who sell more than 500 every year should be registered and licensed under the Animal Welfare Act.
It is also illegal and punishable by law in most states to sell baby rabbits.
That said, it is best to consult your local government first before selling or buying rabbits, whether as pets or for their meat.
The French lop is perhaps one of the most popular rabbit breeds out there.
It was initially because of rabbit meat farming, but they are now bred for their temperament and behavior.
This gentle giant can be one of the best pets you could ever have for your child.
You just need to make sure that you provide them with shelter, food, and, most importantly, affection.