English vs French Lop Rabbit: Comparing Two Beloved Breeds!

When deciding between an English Lop and a French Lop rabbit as a pet, you’re choosing more than just a furry friend; you’re picking a companion with its own unique history and characteristics.

The English Lop is famed for its impressively long ears and refined build, making it one of the oldest fancy rabbit breeds.

In contrast, the French Lop boasts a sturdy, heavier body and shorter, but still notable, ear length. Both breeds have distinct personalities and care requirements that make them suitable for different types of owners.

Understanding the care specifics for these breeds is essential to ensure they live a healthy and happy life.

The English Lop, with its long ears, needs careful monitoring to prevent ear damage, while its French cousin may require a bit more space due to its larger size.

Their temperaments are also a key consideration: English Lops are known for being laid-back and affectionate, whereas French Lops can be equally friendly but a little more energetic.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rabbit owner, recognizing and catering to these differences is key in providing a loving home for these charming animals.

Key Takeaways

  • English Lop rabbits are distinguished by their long ears and slender build, while French Lops are more robust with shorter ears.
  • Proper care for each breed includes specific attention to ear health for the English Lop and ample space for the larger French Lop.
  • Both breeds are generally friendly, but their energy levels and temperaments can vary, with English Lops being more relaxed and French Lops more spirited.

Origins and History

Before diving into the distinctive histories of the English and French Lop rabbits, it’s crucial to understand their origins are deeply rooted in selective breeding for distinct physical traits.

English Lop Origins

The English Lop is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbits, with a history tracing back to the UK in the 19th century.

They’re distinguished by their impressive long ears, reaching from 21 to 32 inches. Breeders in the UK specifically selected for these traits to create a rabbit with a striking appearance.

Date of OriginEarly 19th Century
Country of OriginUnited Kingdom
Distinctive FeatureLong Ears

French Lop Beginnings

The French Lop came later, a product of crossing the English Lop with the French Butterfly rabbit during the mid-19th century.

The intent was to combine the ear size of the English Lop with the meatier body of the French Butterfly.

The result was a rabbit breed known for its large body size and slightly shorter, but still impressive, ear length. This breed gained popularity in France and spread through Europe, including the Netherlands.

Date of OriginMid-19th Century
Country of OriginFrance
Distinctive FeatureLarge Body Size

To give you a sense of size, a French Lop can weigh more than a small dog! This breed’s heft and friendliness make it a favorite in many pet owners’ hearts, including yours truly!

Characteristics and Appearance

When you’re trying to decide between an English Lop and a French Lop, getting to know their looks and traits can help you find your perfect bunny buddy.

Both have their unique charm, but knowing the specifics will let you see their individual personalities shine through in their appearance.

English Lop Features

The English Lop is renowned for its incredibly long ears, which can grow to be over a foot long! These ears sweep the ground gracefully as they move.

Their face possesses a certain nobility, with large head and chubby cheeks that give them an almost aristocratic appearance. Their body is lean and lengthy, flaunting a refined elegance.

HeadLarge with full cheeks
EarsVery long
BodyLong and slender

French Lop Features

On the flip side, French Lops carry a more robust build. They’re the kind of rabbits that look like they enjoy a good meal, with a sturdy body and a particularly brawny head that contributes to their overall solid appearance.

Their ear length is more moderate compared to their English cousins, yet they still have a laid-back droop that classifies them as a true lop rabbit.

HeadBurly and solid
EarsOf moderate length
BodyHeavyset and wide

Comparative Size and Weight

While both breeds are on the larger side for pet rabbits, your English Lop tends to be leaner with a weight that usually falls between 9 and 11 pounds.

The French Lop, a noticeably heftier bun, tips the scales at a range of 10 to 15 pounds. As for their size, the French Lop often comes out on top as the more substantial of the two.

BreedWeight Range
English Lop9-11 pounds
French Lop10-15 pounds

Coat and Color Variations

Both breeds boast a dense, soft coat that’s a treat to touch.

Color-wise, they showcase a palette ranging from solid hues to broken patterns, which include colors like black, white, blue, and fawn.

Some rabbits feature unique shading such as chinchilla gray or steel, and others might have the distinctive butterfly pattern or even come in the multifaceted shades of agouti and opal.

The variety is so vast that you’re sure to encounter a rabbit that catches your eye.

Coat TypeColor Examples
SolidBlack, White
ShadingChinchilla, Steel
MultifacetedAgouti, Opal

Remember, whichever type of lop rabbit hops into your heart, you’re in for a world of gentle head bops, curious investigations, and a new friend who’s as remarkable as their extraordinary appearance.

Behavior and Temperament

Before you decide if an English Lop or French Lop rabbit is the right furry friend for your family, it’s important to understand their distinct personalities and how they generally behave.

English Lop Personality

English Lops are known for their exceptional friendliness and calm demeanor. They often display a gentle and docile nature, making them perfect companions if you love cuddling with your pets.

Their long ears and big brown eyes can make it hard not to fall in love at first sight. From my experience as a vet, these bunnies enjoy lazing around but will show a playful side when engaged.

  • Calm: Rarely startle at loud noises and are peaceful
  • Friendly: Eager to interact with humans and animals

French Lop Personality

French Lops, on the other hand, tend to be very sociable and cuddly. They usually have a robust personality which makes them playful friends, especially around children.

They do have a strong presence in any room due to their size but don’t let that fool you—they are as gentle as they are large. These rabbits can be described as giant teddy bears that appreciate family time.

  • Playful: Love to engage in play with toys or games
  • Affectionate: Seek out interactions and show love

Suitability as Family Pets

Both English and French Lops are excellent choices for families. They adapt well to being part of a household and typically thrive on attention from both adults and kids.

Remember, they can be a bit more sensitive to being handled incorrectly, so gentle guidance is key for children. Their loving nature means they’ll often seek out cuddles and pets from their human family members.

  • Docile and Gentle: Safe around children with proper supervision
  • Family-Oriented: Blend seamlessly into family life and make wonderful additions to your home

Care and Husbandry

As a bunny parent, you’ll find caring for your English or French Lop both rewarding and unique. They need your attention for proper diet, grooming, housing, and activity to stay happy and healthy.

Dietary Needs

Your Lops’ diet is crucial for their health. Feed them a mix of timothy hay, fresh vegetables, and quality pellets. Always provide fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Food TypeExampleFrequency
HayTimothy hayAlways
VegetablesCarrots, spinach, bell peppersDaily in moderation
PelletsBalanced rabbit pelletsAs per instructions

Grooming and Hygiene

Regular grooming is key. Brush your Lops weekly to avoid tangles, and during shedding seasons, you might need to brush daily. Trim their nails every month to keep them from being overgrown.

Housing Requirements

Lops are one of the larger breeds, so they need a large space to live. Your lop’s living space should be big enough for them to move around and lie down comfortably.

Indoor CageAt least 6 feet by 2 feet
Outdoor RunAs large as possible

Exercise and Activity

Exercise is vital for these bunnies. Give your Lops plenty of time to play outside their cage daily. Safe toys and a bunny-safe area will help keep their bodies and minds active.

Remember, a happy bunny is an active bunny. They’re social creatures and love to interact with you. So go ahead, set up some play tunnels, and watch your furry friends hop with joy!

Health and Lifespan

When you bring home an English or French Lop rabbit, you want your new furry friend to live a long and healthy life. Their well-being hinges on understanding their specific health needs and how to prevent common issues.

Common Health Issues

Dental Problems: Because their teeth never stop growing, Lops can suffer from overgrown teeth which can lead to difficulty eating and painful abscesses. Regular vet visits are key to keeping their teeth trimmed and health in check.

Ear Issues: Those beautiful long ears are prone to ear infections. Keep them dry and clean to avoid any problems.

Sore Hocks: Especially in larger breeds like French Lops, their weight can lead to sore hocks, or ulcerated feet. Providing soft bedding can help prevent this painful condition.

Injuries: Due to their size, both the English and French Lop can be susceptible to injuries, especially if they’re not handled correctly. Their hind legs are powerful, and if not supported properly, they can kick and break their back or injure their front legs.

Table 1: Common Health Issues and Prevention Methods

Health IssuePrevention Method
Dental ProblemsRegular dental checks and chew toys
Ear InfectionsClean and dry ears, regular check-ups
Sore HocksSoft bedding, proper cage size
InjuriesCorrect handling to support hind legs

Life Expectancy

English Lop Life Span: Typically, your English Lop can be a part of your family for about 5 to 7 years. Their lifespan can stretch with the right care and a diet rich in hay, vegetables, and plenty of water.

French Lop Life Span: French Lops have a slightly shorter lifespan of around 5 years due to their size, but with your careful attention and love, they can sometimes live longer.

Remind yourself: a happy rabbit is a healthy rabbit. Give them space to hop, play, and you’ll give them the best shot at a longer, joyful life.

Table 2: Lop Rabbit Life Expectancies

Rabbit BreedAverage Lifespan
English Lop5 – 7 years
French LopUp to 5 years

Breeding and Genetics

When you’re diving into the world of English and French Lops, understanding how they’re bred and the intricacies of their genetics is like piecing together a furry puzzle. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to consider.

Reproductive Considerations

English and French Lops are distinctive because of those long, floppy ears we all adore. But if you’re a rabbit breeder, knowing about their breeding specifics is crucial.

Both breeds are considered to be of a medium to large size, meaning they need more space and care, especially during mating and gestation.

Unlike smaller breeds, these lops reach sexual maturity a tad later, around 6-8 months for bucks and 5-7 months for does.

Females can be prone to false pregnancies, so keep an eye out for nesting behavior without the presence of babies.

From my experience as a vet, I always advise to monitor their eating habits and vitality closely during this period, as any change might signal health issues that could affect their ability to reproduce.

Genetic Traits and Colors

Lop rabbits can sometimes seem like they’ve been painted with a magical brush, and it’s your job to understand how those colors come to be.

Both English and French Lops can exhibit a variety of coat colors and patterns, which are determined by a set of genetic rules.

Here’s a quick rundown of some common colors you might encounter:

  • Agouti: Banding on the fur with different shades
  • Self: One solid color all over
  • Broken: A mix of color with white, in distinct patches
  • Pointed White: White body with colored points, like ears and nose

The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and the British Rabbit Council (BRC) have their standards that define and recognize specific colors and patterns for these lovable lop-eared rabbits.

In my practice, I see a lot of breeders aiming for that perfect show-quality coat color, which takes a lot of skill and a bit of luck with genetics.

If you’re breeding lops, make sure to get familiar with the ARBA and BRC color guides for a comprehensive understanding of what’s expected.

Rabbit Breeds Comparison

When comparing rabbit breeds, you’ll find unique characteristics and care requirements. Let’s look at the differences between lop and non-lop breeds, focusing on their size, body type, and temperament.

Vs. Other Lop Breeds

The English Lop and French Lop are quite similar but differ in size. The English Lop is known for its impressively long ears and slim body, while the French Lop boasts a stockier build.

Mini Lops and Holland Lops are much smaller than their English and French cousins. They’re beloved for their compact size and sweet nature, making them ideal for families.

  • Ears: English Lops have the longest; Mini and Holland Lops have shorter ears.
  • Body: French Lops are bulkier.
  • Size: Mini and Holland Lops are smaller and easier to handle.

Here’s a table for a clearer comparison:

BreedEar LengthBody TypeAverage Weight
English Lop> 21 inchesSlim9-11 lbs
French Lop5-8 inchesStocky10-15 lbs
Mini Lop1.5-3.5 inchesCompact4.5-6 lbs
Holland Lop< 4 inchesPetite2-4 lbs

From my experience as a vet, English Lops may require extra care for their long ears which are prone to injury.

Vs. Non-Lop Breeds

Non-lop breeds like the Flemish Giant or Giant Papillon can reach sizes that dwarf even the French Lop. These gentle giants are known as large breeds with a commercial body type, often raised for meat due to their large size.

The Flemish Giant is a notable example, respected for its docile temperament and significant weight, which can exceed 20 pounds. Giant Papillons, while not as heavy, are still large rabbits with distinct markings.

Here’s a summary:

  • Flemish Giant: Recognized for their massive size and friendly personality, they’re often called ‘gentle giants’.
  • Giant Papillon: Known for their striking coat patterns; they’re still quite large but not as heavy as the Flemish Giant.

The following table provides specifics:

BreedBody TypeAverage WeightPurpose
Flemish GiantCommercial Type13-20 lbsPet/Show/Meat Rabbit
Giant PapillonLarge Breed10-15 lbsPet/Show Rabbit

As a vet, I often advise potential owners of these large breeds to check the space available at home; these rabbits need ample room to move and exercise.

Role in Human Culture

Both English and French Lop rabbits hold a special place in human culture. Whether you’re watching them hop gracefully at a show or raising them for their meat, these rabbits have touched lives around the world.

Show and Exhibition

When you visit a rabbit show, you’ll likely see the English and French Lops stealing the show. In places like the United States and Germany, their large floppy ears and docile nature make them stars in the exhibition scene.

As a show animal, the English Lop is particularly noteworthy for having the longest ears of any rabbit breed, which can be quite a spectacle!

  • Countries: United States, Germany
  • Attributes: Long ears (English Lop), Heavyweight (French Lop)

Facts about English Lop participation in shows:

Ear LengthUp to 32 cm (12.5 in)
PersonalityCalm and friendly
ClassificationFancy breed

Facts about French Lop participation in shows:

RecognitionAmerican Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA)
WeightHeavy – over 4.5 kg (10 lb)
AppearanceResembles a small Flemish Giant

As a vet, I often remind my clients to keep their show bunnies healthy and stress-free before events. It’s all about giving them the love and care they deserve.

Meat Production

You may not know this, but French Lops are also raised for their meat, especially in countries like Belgium. They are considered a dual-purpose breed, good as pets and for meat production.

The Siamese coloration, a mix of cream and dark points, is sought after in the meat-producing breeds.

  • Country: Belgium
  • Purpose: Meat production
  • Advantage: Large size & good temperament

Here’s what you need to keep in mind for meat production in French Lops:

SizeLarger rabbits yield more meat
DietA nutritious diet ensures healthy growth
CareProper care leads to better meat quality

Remember, as a vet and someone who’s seen many sides of rabbit care, I always emphasize the importance of ethical and humane treatment.

Whether they’re your pets, show bunnies, or part of a meat-producing group, they all deserve respect and kindness.

Rabbit Care Tips

Rabbit type plays a key role in care. English and French Lops are larger breeds, which means they need more space to play and exercise. Your friendly companions thrive on love and attention, so daily interaction is a must.

Playing keeps your rabbit happy. Supply a variety of toys to satisfy their need to dig and chew. Be creative; old phone books make for great dig toys!

Diet-wise, ensure a constant supply of fresh water and hay to keep their digestive system running smoothly. Add a mix of vegetables for a balanced diet. Here’s a quick table to remember:

Daily DietHay, Fresh WaterAlways
VeggiesCarrots, BroccoliOnce a Day
TreatsFruit (sparingly)Occasionally

Regular grooming can’t be skipped, especially for these fluffy friends. Give them a gentle brush a few times a week, which also doubles as bonding time.

Consider your living space; it should be safe and comfy. Bigger bunnies mean bigger living quarters. Plus, if you’ve got children, teaching them gentle handling is crucial for a good rabbit and child relationship.

As a vet, I’ve seen firsthand how these social critters flourish with good care. They’re not just pets; they’re your fuzzy companions who will love every bit of time you spend with them. Your thoughtful approach to their care will reflect in their bright eyes and lively behavior.


When you’re considering adopting a rabbit, the choice between an English Lop and a French Lop can be quite a puzzle.

Both rabbits are charming in their own right, with the English Lop showcasing those incredibly long ears and the French Lop boasting a robust body.

  • English Lop:
    • Ears: longest of any rabbit breed
    • Temperament: Typically docile and friendly
  • French Lop:
    • Build: Heavier and stockier than English Lop
    • Ears: Slightly shorter, but still lop-eared

One interesting fact I’ve observed in my practice is the English Lop tends to be a bit more laid-back, making them a hit in families looking for a calm companion. On the flip side, your French Lop might be a bundle of energy, ready to play and interact more.

Let’s break it down in a table for clearer comparison:

FeatureEnglish LopFrench Lop
EarsExtremely longLong, but shorter
SizeLargeLarger and heavier
Energy LevelRelaxedEnergetic
Family FriendlyYesYes

Remember, no matter which breed you choose, both require your commitment to their care and well-being.

From a vet’s perspective, I can tell you that routine check-ups, a proper diet, and lots of love will keep your lop-eared friend happy and healthy for years to come. Your furry companion will bring joy to your life, no matter which breed hops into your heart.


What’s the main difference between an English and a French Lop rabbit?

English Lops have incredibly long ears, often measuring more than 21 inches from tip to tip. Your French Lop’s ears are shorter but they have a thicker and more muscular build compared to the elegant frame of an English Lop.

How much space do they need?

English and French Lops both need plenty of room to hop around. Consider a hutch that is at least 6 feet long for these large bunnies. Additionally, daily exercise in a safe and spacious area is crucial for their well-being.

Are Lops good with children?

Both breeds are generally friendly and gentle. However, their size might be overwhelming for very young kids. Supervise their interactions to ensure a positive experience for your child and your bunny.

What’s their life expectancy?

BreedAverage Lifespan
English5-7 years
French5-8 years

Healthy diet and good care can help them live even longer!

Do they require special care?

Yes, their floppy ears mean you’ll need to check regularly for dirt and signs of infection. A diet high in hay maintains their digestive system and constantly growing teeth.

Remember, these tips come from my daily experiences as a vet working with rabbits like yours, and I’m happy to share this journey with you. Keep these guidelines in mind, and you’ll have a happy, healthy floppy-eared friend as part of your family.

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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