"The Monarch of the Fancy"
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The history of Mini Lops(Researched from the Mini Lop Rabbit Club of America handbook.)
In 1972 Bob Herschbach happened to be at the German National Rabbit show when he discovered some lops called Klien Widder. These Klien Widder's were developed from German Big Lop's and a small Chinchilla. These rabbits had beautiful heads, but long and narrow bodies, and their weight topped out around 8 to 9lbs. Only about 20 of these Klein Widder's existed in the world at this time and 11 of them were entered in the show.
Bob brought a trio (a male and two females) and brought them to his home in California. He wanted to use these rabbits to create some sort of dwarf lop in different colors (the ones he purchased were white and agouti.) He bred some into English Lops and began a long process of strict breeding to bring down size.
In 1974 Bob entered his Klein Widder's at the ARBA convention in Ventura, CA. They didn't receive much interest and he concluded it was most likely because they were not small enough and the name wasn't too appealing. (I happen to like a good German name!!)
After this convention he started calling the rabbits Mini Lops and continued to breed down their size and give rabbits to other breeders to get them to help. In 1977 Bob gave the sponsership of the Mini Lop breed to Herb Dyke.
In 1978 Herb and Bob started a Mini Lop club and within the year they accumulated over 500 members.
Eventually the Mini Lop breed was accepted as an official ARBA sanctioned breed in 1980 at the ARBA National Convention in Milwaukee, WI.
Visit the Lop Color Guide for pictures and descriptions of colors for this breed.
Current Standards for showing Mini Lops:
Mini Lops must be posed correctly to be judged correctly. The toes of the front feet should come to rest just below the cheeks. The toes on the rear feet should be tucked in and even with the thighs.
The ideal Mini Lop is to be massive with broad shoulders, excellent depth of body and be well filled and rounded. When looking down at the body the shoulders should be very slightly narrower then the hips. The rabbit should be thickset with strong bone and muscle. He should be well balanced with his head and compact. Does can have dewlaps but for show purposes it must balance with the rest of the body's features.
The ears should be placed on top of the head and rise out of a strong crown with lots of cartiliage. The ears should hang down and be even with the cheeks, the length should balance with the proportion of the rest of the body.
The legs should be thick and straight.
The fur should be glossy with very thick and dense fur of medium length.
Tips for getting a good showable Mini Lop
1. As always check condition, if it is well groomed, kept clean and check to make sure it is free of disease (check ears, eyes, nose, genitals).
2. Mini Lops are supposed to be under 6 1/2lbs. If you're looking to show, look for one that is small and compact with good depth, not over weight or it maybe hard to keep it under that limit and in condition. Brood does are the only exception because larger does (while not extremely fat) produce larger litters and will often throw thicker bone. Look for a good head that balances with the body. The ears should be covered in light fur and the feet should be wide and thick. Also check and make sure eye color match the color of the animal (eg. brown eyes for a black), and toenails for the color (eg. colored nails for a black).
3. Check out the pedigree, don't ever get a show rabbit without a pedigree. Look at the line and check for inbreeding, or if it has the colors you would like to see if you want to breed. I breed mother to son and father to daughter alot, as well as many other breeders do, but I never breed a rabbit to another that has the same mother and father. This could can cause some defects and other health problems when it gets older. It's best to stay away from that and don't over do it.
4. Mini Lops can be extremely pricey for quality stock. A breeder cannot be expected to sell you their best animal. You may get lucky and by either their own mistake, or need for extra feed or show money, that they will sell an amazing rabbit to you.
Mini Lop rabbits are an excellent breed for any age. Keep in mind that these are not the smallest of rabbits, but somewhere in the middle. As adults they max out to be 5-6lbs and some bloodlines may have rabbits close to 7lbs. So as adults they may not be easy to handle for especially young children, however they are extremely docile and will hold up to rougher handling then a Holland or a Fuzzy Lop would. So that in itself might be a buying point especially if your children are used to playing rough like with a dog. Mini Lops are very gentle and laid back. They will grow large enough to safely roam a house (and not get trapped in things.) Just be sure to watch them and keep precious wood-work and wires away from them because they will chew it (this goes for ANY rabbit!)