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A French Lop is a popular breed of domestic rabbit that was first developed in France in the 19th century out of selective breeding between the English Lop and the Flemish Giant. The French Lop differs from the English in that it is characterized by a heavier stature and shorter ears. The French Lop weighs in at around ten pounds and has an average of lifespan of five years or more.
The French Lop Rabbit was first bred in France around 1850 and was established in France as a rabbit for meat during the mid 1800s. It is believed to have been produced by crossing two existing breeds, the English Lop and the Flemish Giant. The French Lop increased in popularity in neighbouring countries such as Belgium, Germany and Holland. In 1933, it was reported that ten French Lop Rabbits were brought over from Holland and exhibited in the UK although it was not until the 1960s that French Lop Rabbits became a popular mainstream rabbit breed in the UK. French Lop Rabbits were imported into the USA in 1970-1971.
The French Lop is a very large rabbit, weighing more than 10lb (4.5kg) with lop ears of between 30 to 38cm long, and an almost cubic appearance with a short thickset body and large head. The front legs are short and straight and the hind legs are carried parallel to the body. The French Lop comes in two color varieties: solid and broken, and within these categories can be found a number of different rabbit colors, including agouti, black, broken marked, chinchilla and sooty-fawn.
The ideal age for the female French Lop rabbit to start breeding is 9 months of age, but the first litter must be born before the female is one year old, due to the fusing of the pelvic bones that would hinder her ability to give birth naturally. It is recommended that they should not have any more litters after the age of three years. The French Lop rabbit can produce large litters, usually between 5-12 with a gestation period of between 28-31 days. On average they give birth at 30-32 days.
Due to their relatively larger size in comparison to other breeds, the French Lop may require a large hutch/run to move around freely. They are known to have a placid and relaxed temperament, and can tolerate other species. However, they are considered as unsuitable in the presence of small children due to a risk of injury, and for people that have limited space, although they can live in the house as a house pet. As a social animal, it is recommended that a French lop rabbit be housed with a companion, that may include a fellow rabbit, although there is currently a debate on the suitability of the pairing of a rabbit and a smaller animal, such as a guinea pig.
A French Lop is able to live outside and inside, a water-proof hutch that shelters the rabbit from any rain, snow, or heat is acceptable. If inside, a hutch or a cage can be used. If you are not giving your Lop regular time to spend with, consider getting two rabbits, a lonely rabbit that does not get regular exercise or companionship can be anti-social and depressed. The French Lop must follow a balanced feeding habit. They should have a sizeable amount of dry rabbit food, which contains all the nutrition standardized for a healthy rabbit.