It’s surprising just how many different kinds of domestic rabbit breeds are out there. All sizes, all colors, all with all different personalities.
Then you have the purpose of the breed, with most being bred for different characteristics in terms of fur or meat, or just as companion animals.
But some of the most charming, and also most desirable rabbits out there are lop-eared rabbits.
There’s just something about those floppy ears that makes them so adorable and endearing, and lop-eared rabbits are some of the most wanted when it comes to keeping rabbits as pets.
Nonetheless, many lop ear breeds also have other uses, and all are very interesting. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you about some lop ear rabbit breeds below…
1. German Lop
Chunky, stout and well-muscled, the German Lop rabbit is a relatively recent development among lop breeds, as the name suggests coming out of Germany in the 1960s.
Bred specifically to be pets, and also show rabbits, the German Lop has an affectionate personality and generally enjoys being handled so long as it is properly socialized while it is young.
Although they’re mostly calm, these rabbits like to play and have a relatively high energy level.
If you want to play games with your rabbit or just let them loose to run around and work out some energy, the German Lop is one of the better lop breeds for the purpose.
Also worth mentioning is that, compared to many other lop ear breeds and most domestic rabbit breeds of its size, generally, the German Lop tends to be quite healthy with a long lifespan.
It is hardly uncommon to hear of German lops living eight years or even longer in captivity with good care.
2. Cashmere Lop
On the smaller end of the medium-size spectrum, the Cashmere Lop usually weighs in at only about 5 pounds maximum, and as the name suggests is famous, and loved for its incredibly soft, dense coat.
Stroke this rabbit one time and you’ll know at once why they got their name!
Beautiful, affectionate and docile, the Cashmere Lop is a wonderful pet that has a reputation for forming a strong bond with its human owner.
Many keepers even report that this breed is surprisingly intelligent, capable of responding to its name and simple commands.
However, something else to keep in mind about the cashmere lop is that they seem to be a little more skittish around dogs and cats than other domestic rabbits, even if they have been raised with them.
Most rabbits are fearful of typical predator animals, but Cashmeres seem even more sensitive, so if you’re going to keep them in a mixed pet household, try to restrict your other pets to smaller, non-predator species.
3. Mini Cashmere Lop
Everything you need to know about the Mini Cashmere Lop is in the name: This is a specially selected sub-breed of the standard Cashmere Lop with all of their familiar characteristics.
The Mini Cashmere Lop has those adorable floppy ears that we expect and also the incredibly soft coat of the standard Cashmere Lop.
But when talking about a Mini Cashmere Lop, miniature is the most important part: these rabbits are half the size of a typical standard Cashmere Lop.
In fact, the Miniature Cashmere Lop rarely weighs more than 4 pounds, and many weigh significantly less than that.
Like the standard Cashmere Lop, the minis make great pets and are surprisingly affectionate.
But, one curious thing to note about the Mini Cashmere Lop is that they tend to be even more long-lived and healthy than the standard Cashmeres are.
It’s pretty common for a Mini Cashmere Lop to live longer than 10 years, and some have even been reported as living as long as 14 years! All in all they are a wonderful breed and a great choice for a pet.
4. French Lop
The French Lop Ear is one of the biggest rabbits on this list, and even though it routinely tips the scales at an impressive 11 to 12 pounds they don’t throw their weight around.
These are some of the most docile, lovable and friendly rabbits around, making them great pets though they do need a lot more room than smaller breeds.
The French Lop was originally developed in France for meat, and also fur.
Today they’re almost exclusively kept as a companion (pet) breed, but despite being such a popular pet the exact origins and stock used for developing the breed are contested.
They are generally healthy, and are capable breeders on their own although they usually produce a smaller litter compared to other breeds owing to their size.
5. Holland Lop
The smallest of the lop-eared breeds, the Holland Lop is tiny, adorable and a perennial favorite pet with many rabbit owners.
Generally possessing a sweet personality and being easy to care for, this rabbit is a joy to own.
The Holland Lop, as the name suggests, was developed in the Netherlands in the middle part of the 20th century, being specifically bred using French Lop and Netherland Dwarf stock to create a tiny, precious lop-eared rabbit.
But the project, though successful, actually took many years to culminate in the Holland Lop that we know today, and it took several more decades from there for the breed to be recognized in the United States.
These itty bitty rabbits usually only weigh about 2 ½ pounds, and almost never weigh more than 3 ½ pounds.
Despite their tiny size, their chunky fur and stubby proportions make them look thick and stocky even though they really aren’t.
One fun fact is that these bunnies are not born with lop ears: they usually only fall over at around 2 months of age.
6. English Lop
If you ever heard a rabbit referred to generically as a “lop ear,” they could have been referring to any of the breeds on this list.
But if you wanted to point to the ultimate example of the lop-eared rabbit, the English Lop beats all contenders!
That’s because these impressively large and stocky rabbits have huge, wide, floppy ears that can grow longer than 2 feet each!
Their immense ears make the English Lop look very much like the rabbit version of a basset hound.
Nonetheless, this distinguished breed has been around for hundreds of years, since at least the early 19th century and likely much longer based on historical records.
Nonetheless, in the West, they were deliberately developed as a “fancy” breed: show rabbits.
And show is a purpose that the English Lop continues to enjoy today.
Friendly, affectionate, curious, and relaxed bordering on lazy, they make ideal rabbits for people that don’t want to invest too much time or effort in ensuring that their rabbits get enough exercise.
They will be more than content to hang out with you at home!
7. Plush Lop
One of only a few rabbits that has a noticeably soft, dense undercoat, a feature shared with the Rex and Mini Rex breeds, the Plush Lop is another lop breed developed specifically to be a pet, though they‘ve been gaining lots of positive attention in show circuits.
A small breed, the Plush Lop will rarely weigh more than 5 pounds, though they do enjoy a long lifespan of around 10 years with 12 being the expected maximum.
These rabbits are calm, but highly curious and need exercise to prevent boredom.
Boredom which they will express as destructive tendencies if you keep them confined without stimulation for too long.
Nonetheless, these rabbits are always a joy to watch as they explore their environment and interact with people and other animals they are comfortable with.
However, they are willful and you shouldn’t expect to meaningfully train a plush lop to respond to commands or even recognize its own name!
But, as long as you are content to let your pet rabbit set its own itinerary, they are a fine choice.
8. Mini Lion Lop
The Mini Lion Lop is a domestic rabbit breed that has only recently been developed in the early 2000s in England, and has been recognized as a formal breed there although that is sadly not the case here in the US.
A tiny pet and show breed that rarely grows larger than 3 1/2 pounds, this plush, wooly-coated rabbit has a notable main of fur around its neck and head in the same way that the standard Lionhead has.
Also of note is the fact that they lay claim to many, many fur colors and patterns that are standardized or will soon be standardized, more than nearly any other domestic breed.
Colors include white, black, blue, various grays, tans, browns, siamese, steel and more.
Pretty remarkable and if you are wanting a distinctive, adorable and small rabbit as a pet it might be worth the time seeking out a Mini Lion Lop.
9. American Fuzzy Lop
Talk about truth in advertising, the American Fuzzy Lop eared rabbit does indeed come from America, it is truly fuzzy and it also has adorable lop ears that give it sort of a frowning or disappointed expression.
But don’t let that fool you, as these rabbits are incredibly sweet, friendly and playful, and known to be serious attention hogs; they want as much attention and affection from people and fellow rabbits as they can get!
Probably the most notable characteristic of the American Fuzzy Lop, aside from its ears, is its coat which is very similar to that of Angora rabbits.
Indeed, it is genetics from the French Angora that produce this long, fuzzy fur in the first place.
The story of the breeding project that produced these rabbits is actually pretty fascinating, and is worth looking into although it is beyond the confines of this article.
All you need to know is that the American Fuzzy Lop is cute, charming and a wonderful pet that comes in a variety of different colors.
You can even raise them almost like miniature sheep to harmlessly harvest their wool which is highly suitable for spinning into yarn or for other textiles.
10. Miniature Lop
Out of all of the lop-eared rabbits on this list, it is the Miniature Lop, commonly called the Mini Lop, which could be considered a true designer breed.
Produced in Germany by crossbreeding the German Lop and Chinchilla, the resulting bunny was tiny, plump, cute and still featured those adorable lop ears that we all love.
More than most other domestic breeds, the Mini Lop is one of the most popular pet rabbits for a number of reasons.
They are small, but not truly tiny, usually weighing between four and six pounds, and are surprisingly muscular for their size.
Their fur is incredibly soft, dense and fine, a trait that makes them look like little puff balls. They have many different colors of fur, one for any preference.
Most importantly, these rabbits are friendly, to the point of wanting too much attention from people sometimes.
Though they have a reputation as being slightly needy, they are active and energetic without being hyper, and more than willing to hang out and relax around without being truly lazy. An ideal pet for many owners!
Perhaps the only downside to the Mini Lop is their tendency towards dental issues, specifically misalignment of the teeth, and hygiene problems that can result from a lack of care for those fluffy coats.
11. Dwarf Lop
A slightly contentious breed, considering it is recognized by the British Rabbit Council but not the American Rabbit Breeders Association, the Dwarf Lop is as the name suggests a very small lop-eared breed, but contrary to what you might expect it isn’t the very smallest on our list.
The Dwarf Lop will typically weigh anywhere from 4 to 5 ½ pounds and is most noted for its high energy levels, playfulness and charming good looks.
With chubby, wide bodies and wide heads they definitely look adorable but they can be exhausting owing to their exercise requirements.
This is one lop-eared rabbit that you won’t be able to keep cooped up in a small space even though it is small enough to fit almost anywhere.
Definitely get one for their playfulness, but be prepared to let them work out, run and explore if you want to prevent behavioral problems.
12. Meissner Lop
Closely related to, but distinct from, the French Lop, the Meissner is a rare and distinguished breed of lop rabbit for the true rabbit connoisseur.
If you love the dense, thick coat and overall build of the French Lop but want a somewhat smaller rabbit, the Meissner is the answer.
These rabbits max out at around 10 pounds, though their weight is highly variable with some rabbits weighing as little as 7 pounds or anywhere in between.
Like the French Lop, they generally have good personalities and form strong bonds with their owners, other rabbits and other animals they are raised with but they have a reputation for being notably destructive.
Put plainly: these rabbits show a marked tendency tend to chew, even when they aren’t suffering from stress and boredom.
And that means you’ll need to spend extra time rabbit-proofing your house and furniture to protect your belongings and protect the rabbit from harm. But other than that, they are a lovely breed if you can find one!
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.