“The Hallmark Breed”
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History of the Holland Lop
(inspired by the 5th HLRSC handbook, original article written by Anthony Howard)
Holland Lops were developed in Europe by Adriann DeCock. (They are known as Dwarf Lops in Europe.) Sometime before 1949-1950 he
obtained a French Lop buck and bred it to a white Netherland Dwarf doe. He assumed that the litter would end up being smaller like the doe (or at the very least, smaller then the French Lop.) He unfortunately was wrong and in 1951 tried breeding
a French Lop doe to a Netherland Dwarf buck (which wasn’t easy!!) This resulted with rabbits with the short and erect ears, proving that this would be a dominate gene.
In 1952 he bred a doe from this litter back to an English Lop buck. One in this litter had lopped ear carriage, while others had erect ears and a few had ears that appeared to be half lopped. The lopped bunny was a doe, but very aggressive by nature and was never successfully bred.
DeCock tried breeding a doe with one lopped ear from the second litter, to a buck from the first litter. This resulted with even more lopped earred rabbits. By 1955 DeCock had the first Holland Lop which weighed between 4.5-6lbs. By 1964 he presented rabbits weighing 4lbs for acceptance.
In 1970 DeCock and twelve others formed a Holland Lop Specialty Club, which worked hard on breeding the weights even lower, which is the weight standard we have today.
By 1979 Aleck Brook had imported Holland Lops from Europe and pushed for acceptance by ARBA, which was approved.
Visit the Lop Color Guide for pictures and descriptions of colors for this breed.
Current Standards for showing Holland Lops:
- Weight limit for juniors (under 6 months): 4lbs. Minimum weight 2lbs
- Weight limit for senior bucks and does: 4lbs.
- How it’s evened up (points)
- Head – 24
- Crown – 8
- Body – 32
- Ears – 10
- Feet & Legs – 10
- Fur – 7
- Color & Markings – 4
- Condition – 5
- Total – 100
A Holland Lop must be posed correctly for accurate judging. The front feet should rest lightly on a flat surface. The head should be held high on the shoulders, with no apparent neck.
The body is to be short in length and heavily muscled. Hollands should also have strong bone (thick/wide chest and thick/stubby legs.)
When posing a Holland Lop, consider it’s body to be a perfectly square box. The depth, width and length should be roughly the same in size, well rounded, heavily muscled, compact and very well balanced. Some does may develop a dewlap which preferably should be small and balanced with the rest of the body. Excessively large dewlaps are a fault.
The head should also be thought of as a perfectly squared box. It should be thick and wide and well balanced with the body, with a full muzzle. The crown should be strongly defined with lots of cartilage. A good crown will also cause the ears to be thick, wide and un-folding.
The legs should be short and thick as well as straight with strong bone.
The fur should be dense and glossy, as well as the same length (about 1 inch.) A good coat will slowly return to position when the rabbit is stroked from the hindquarters up towards the shoulders.
Tips for getting a good showable Holland 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. Holland Lops are supposed to be under 4lbs. Look for one that is small and compact with good depth, not over weight or it maybe hard to keep it under that limit. 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. Realize that Holland Lops can be extremely pricey because they are one of the more difficult breeds to raise. 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. Hollands are also interesting in a way that just because you pay top dollar for a pair, doesn’t mean that the offspring will produce grand champions. Some of the cheapest rabbits have been known to produce national winners, but these still average higher then the price of most other breeds.
You just want a pet?I haven’t been breeding Hollands for long (since 2006,) but immediately I noticed their wonderful personalities! They are full of life, very active, and are very sociable. Bucks seem especially friendly in my experience. Does can be more lazy but are just as loving. The short coat makes them easy to care for and they are small (3-4lbs) so they do not eat much or take up much space.
Holland Lops are a little harder to breed so they sometimes can be very hard to find and when you do find them they usually sell pretty fast.