If you’re considering a Holland Lop bunny for your next pet, you probably have some questions.
Firstly, how are they so cute? For this, there is no definitive answer.
Secondly, are Holland Lop bunnies good pets? For this, the answer is yes! The Holland Lop bunny is among the top five most popular bunny breeds and can make a fantastic pet for the right person. That said, this little bunny is a big responsibility.
Here’s what you should know about a Holland Lop bunny and keeping one as a pet.
What Is a Holland Lop Bunny?
All domesticated rabbits are believed to descend from a single species: the European Rabbit. Today, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognizes 51 domesticated rabbit breeds.
These rabbit breeds can be divided into three categories: commercial, fancy, and wool (some breeds may fit into more than one category). The Holland Lop bunny is a member of the fancy breeds family of lop bunnies.
There are four other breeds in the fancy breeds lop family: the American Fuzzy Lop, French Lop, English Lop, and Mini Lop. Members of this bunny family are defined by the drooping shape of their ears.
Adriann de Cock originally bred the Holland Lop bunny in the Netherlands, aiming to create a smaller, lop-eared version of the French Lop. To achieve this, he crossed French Lops, English Lops, and Dwarfs. The ARBA officially recognized the Holland Lop as a breed in 1979.
Holland Lop Bunny Characteristics
The Holland Lop bunny is the smallest lop bunny. Neither male nor female adults weigh more than 4 pounds. You may see the Holland Lop advertised as a “dwarf bunny,” but not all Holland Lop bunnies are dwarf bunnies. Genuine dwarfism is dependent on genes inherited from both parents.
Along with their signature floppy ears, the Holland Lop bunny has a compact muscular body and a square head. Their compact frame means that they’re small, light, short, and not meant to be raised as commercial rabbits.
Holland Lop bunnies come in a wide variety of colors. The average lifespan for a Holland Lop bunny is about 10 years.
Like most domestic bunnies, the Holland Lop bunny is a sociable, intelligent, and curious creature that enjoys gentle handling and peaceful surroundings. When comfortable, they make engaging and entertaining companions. However, rabbits likely won’t appreciate the loud noises and sudden movements of young children. If you have a family, it’s best to introduce a new bunny when your kids are older.
How to Care for Holland Lop Bunnies
Many people don’t realize that bunnies require a considerable amount of care and attention. Bunnies will need regular human interaction and at least an hour of playtime (outside their cage) every day.
Although Holland Lop bunnies belong to the fancy category, they don’t require fancy cages. What they do need is adequate space for exercise and exploration. One 4-pound bunny will require a cage at least 180 square inches at the base with a height of 15 to 35 inches — tall enough so that no part of its head touches the roof even if it is hopping or sitting upright. The cage can be constructed of wire mesh. Wood is not recommended because rabbits may be tempted to chew it.
A few other things you’ll need for a bunny:
- Another, smaller, portable wire mesh cage (for transporting the bunny to the vet if necessary)
- Food dishes (preferably heavy ones so they’re difficult to knock over)
- Water system (many options are available, from ceramic crocks to plastic bottles with nozzles)
- Chew toys
A dirty cage can cause health problems for bunnies, so it’s important to wash food and water containers daily and clean the cage at least once per week.
Luckily, despite their abundant fur, grooming a bunny isn’t time-consuming. However, they require regular nail clipping and weekly brushing to keep shedding to a minimum.
If you’re keeping them inside, you may want to potty train your rabbit. To do so, you’ll need a litter box, bunny-safe litter (like layers of newspaper or wood pellets), and time to provide consistent positive-reinforcement training.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to provide a balanced diet for your bunny.
What Do Holland Lop Bunnies Eat?
Providing proper nutrition is the most important aspect of owning a Holland Lop bunny. Food will provide them with energy and keep them warm, support vital bodily functions, and maintain healthy bones.
Rabbits don’t have ordinary digestive systems, and they are able to digest nutrients from materials that many animals can't process. This is because they have bacteria in their cecum (a pouch where the large and small intestines intersect) capable of breaking down food unaffected by the small intestine or colon. This process provides them additional nutrients from fibrous material.
However, bunnies still require the following basic nutrients in their diet:
- Water. Like all living creatures, bunnies need clean drinking water at all times.
- Fats. For small quantities of fat, bunnies turn to oats, barley, and wheat. For higher quantities, provide soybean seed and flax seed.
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help bunnies produce heat, energy, and fat. Carbohydrates can be found in barley, oats, wheat, corn, and molasses.
- Proteins. Young rabbits need more protein than older rabbits for their growth, muscle development, and all that fluffy fur. Protein sources include milk, wheat bran, linseed meal, pasture grasses, oats, and legume hays like clover and alfalfa.
- Minerals. Bunnies depend on minerals like sodium, chlorine, phosphorus, and calcium to support their bodily functions. These can often be found in rabbit pellets and plants. However, these may be lacking in other minerals like iron, copper, iodine, cobalt, and sulfur. If necessary, mineral blocks can be purchased for bunnies with deficiencies.
- Vitamins. Generally, bunnies require vitamins A, B, and D to aid digestion and prevent diseases. Vitamin A is found in green grass, milk, carrots, legume hay, cod liver oil, and yellow corn. Bunnies primarily get vitamin B from their cecum bacteria. To prevent rickets, ensure that your bunny gets plenty of vitamin D from milk, grass, and well-cured hays.
To summarize, a healthy bunny diet should include each of the following food categories:
- Dry roughage. Roughage includes high-fiber feeds like hay and straw. Hay is the most important part of a bunny’s diet! Providing your bunny an unlimited supply of high-quality grass hay will keep their digestive tract healthy. Timothy, brome, and orchard hay are all great options. Adult rabbits shouldn’t eat alfalfa hay, but its high calcium and protein content make it appropriate for growing rabbits.
- Succulent feeds. Bunnies need to eat a variety of green, leafy vegetables every day. Dark leafy greens like romaine lettuce, mustard greens, and bok choy are particularly good for bunnies. Certain high-carb vegetables like carrots can cause stomach upset when consumed in large quantities, though, so always monitor your bunny’s intake.
- Concentrate feeds. These include rabbit pellets, grains, and supplements. Pellets should be served in moderation, as overfeeding can result in obesity and soft stool.
Make sure a Holland Lop bunny gets all the nutrients they need by feeding them a balanced diet of high-quality grass hay, varied fresh foods, and limited pellets.
Should I Get a Holland Lop Bunny?
Holland Lop bunnies are great pets, but they're not for everyone. They’ll do best in a quieter home with adults or older children. They need attentive, dedicated owners that will ensure they’re properly fed, cared for, loved, and happy. If that sounds like you, a Holland Lop bunny may be the perfect addition to your home!