Mini Lop Rabbit

Catherine Gose, CVT
By Catherine Gose, CVT. Reviewed by Laurie Hess, DVM, DABVP on Sep. 5, 2023
Mini lop rabbit

In This Article

General Care

Mini Lop bunnies are one of the most popular pet rabbit breeds in the United States. They are adorable, friendly, laid-back, and easy to care for. Adult Mini Lops can reach a maximum weight of 6.5 pounds and have an average lifespan of 8–10 years. They are recognized by their characteristic long ears, short neck, button nose, and large round eyes.

The breed's origins began in Germany in the early 1970s, when rabbit breeder Bob Herschbach first saw the German Big Lop at a rabbit show. Herschbach brought the rabbit to the U.S. and worked with fellow rabbit breeder Herb Dyck to develop a smaller version, which became the Mini Lop. Mini Lop rabbits were accepted as an official breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1980.

Caring for a Mini Lop

Although Mini Lops are smaller in comparison to some other rabbit breeds, they still need plenty of room to get exercise. Most rabbits need at least three hours a day of supervised time outside of their cage to roam and release energy.

Mini Lop rabbits are intelligent and can be litter trained. They are also very social and thrive on attention, whether playing games or cuddling.

Mini Lops can live inside or outside—as long as precautions are taken to secure an outdoor hutch against predators and exposure to extreme heat and cold. An enclosure with a solid floor is preferable to wire floors to avoid foot injuries and sore hocks. All rabbits housed outside are susceptible to overheating when temperatures go above 80°F and to frostbite when temperatures fall below freezing; therefore, they should brought inside during temperature extremes.

Mini Lop Health Issues

Ear Problems

One of the Mini Lop's unique features is their long, floppy ears that typically reach about 1 inch below the chin and lay close to their cheeks. Mini Lops are prone to ear infections and rabbits can also contract ear mites, making it important to clean your rabbit’s ears weekly with a rabbit-friendly ear cleaner such as Vetericyn Antimicrobial Pet Ear Rinse at the direction of your veterinarian.

Check the ears regularly for debris, wax buildup, redness, or other irritation. If these signs are noted, a veterinary exam is needed to diagnose the issue and prescribe appropriate medications.

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Rabbits have delicate respiratory systems, and URIs are somewhat common in all breeds. Signs of a respiratory infection in any rabbit, including a Mini Lop, may include:

  • Discharge from the eyes and/or nose

  • Sneezing

  • Lack of appetite

  • Increased respiratory effort

  • Lethargy

Most rabbits with upper respiratory infections require prescription antibiotics from a veterinarian to fully recover.

The risk of URI can be reduced by housing your rabbit in a draft free area and avoiding dusty  litter (including clay or saw dust). Instead, consider paper-based bedding such as Carefresh. Good cage sanitation is a must, as well, because ammonia buildup from soiled litter can irritate a rabbit’s sensitive airways.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

A rabbit's digestive system is a bit different from some other animals because they are unable to vomit. Therefore, everything they eat must be digested and passed through stool.

A healthy rabbit’s digestive system is in constant motion, otherwise gastrointestinal (GI) stasis can occur. GI stasis is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition for a rabbit and requires immediate veterinary care. Affected rabbits stop eating, stop passing stool, and become very lethargic.

Treatment often includes hospitalization to administer multiple medications, fluid therapy, and nutritional support until the rabbit feels well enough to eat on his own again. 

Hairball Obstruction

Rabbits are very clean animals and groom themselves often. They may ingest hair as they bathe themselves, and this can occasionally cause a hairball to form in the digestive system.

A large hairball can potentially get stuck in the digestive tract, causing a blockage or life-threatening GI stasis. Mini Lop rabbits have dense, lustrous, medium length fur, so brushing them routinely will help reduce hairball problems.  

Parasites

Cheyletiella (also known as “walking dandruff”) is a skin mite that causes itching, flaky skin, and hair loss. It is the most common skin mite that affects rabbits and is easily passed from one rabbit to another. Skin mites require a veterinary exam to diagnose and are treated with prescription medication. 

Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E. cuniculi) is a parasite that can cause severe nervous system problems and kidney damage. It is found in rabbit urine, and infective spores can either be inhaled or ingested from soiled bedding. Call a veterinarian right away if you notice:

  • Head tilt

  • Loss of balance

  • Eye twitching or rolling

  • Tremors or seizures

  • Decreased appetite or weight loss

  • Paralysis

Treatment usually includes prescription dewormers and anti-inflammatories. Some rabbits showing advanced signs of the disease may not respond to treatment and may suffer permanent neurologic deficits.  

Dental Issues

A rabbit's teeth grow continuously throughout their life, so it’s important to provide wooden chew toys and a proper diet to keep their teeth ground down. Overgrown teeth can lead to mouth ulcers, root root abscesses, and discomfort while chewing.

Mini Lop rabbits with a tooth problem may drool, paw at the face, eat less, and sometimes develop swellings or sores on their face, along their jaws. Rabbits with suspected dental issues need veterinary care. The veterinarian will likely sedate the rabbit and trim or file down any sharp edges on the teeth. If there is a tooth root abscess the veterinarian will have to anesthetize the bunny to surgically remove affected teeth and abscessed tissue so the rabbit can chew easily again. 

What to Feed a Mini Lop Bunny

Rabbits need plenty of fiber in their diet to maintain a healthy digestive system and to help keep their continuously growing teeth worn down. Consider the following diet guidelines when feeding:

Hay: Offer unlimited amounts of fresh hay. Mini Lop bunnies should eat their body weight in hay every day. Young, growing rabbits and lactating bunnies can have alfalfa hay (higher in protein, fat, and calcium), while other rabbits typically eat Timothy hay.

Greens and vegetables: Feed approximately 1 cup of fresh greens per 2 pounds of rabbit’s weight daily. Avoid iceberg lettuce, as it has no nutritional value. Instead, offer darker greens such as:

  • Arugula

  • Parsley

  • Kale

  • Mint

  • Basil

  • Cilantro

  • Spinach

  • Romaine lettuce

Parsley, kale, and spinach are high in calcium and can contribute to the formation of calcium-based bladder stones when fed in excess; offer other greens along with these to help prevent the formation of bladder stones. A smaller number of vegetables may be offered, as well. Rabbits enjoy leafy carrot tops, broccoli, bell peppers with the seeds removed, squash, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts.

Pellets: The general guideline is to feed 1/4 cup of fortified pellets/4–5 pounds of rabbit weight per day.  As a medium-sized rabbit, adult Mini Lops should get about 1/3 cup of pellets daily.

Treats should be given only occasionally, and high-fat and high-sugar treats should be  avoided. Oxbow has a wonderful line of healthy rabbit treats in a variety of flavors: 

A constant source of fresh, clean water is necessary, as well. Water bottles are e easier to keep clean than water bowls that become easily soiled with food and bedding. Some rabbits, however, prefer drinking from bowls, rather than bottles, so both bottles and bowls should be offered until a rabbit’s preference is known.

Temperament and Behavior

Mini Lop rabbits are friendly and affectionate, which makes them wonderful family pets. They are laid-back, gentle, and good with children. A Mini Lop typically will bond with every member of their family and enjoy playtime as well as quiet cuddles.

Without enough stimulation and social interaction, some rabbits act out with behaviors like biting or kicking. To prevent these negative behaviors from developing, give your rabbit care, attention, and supervised out-of-cage time to exercise every day.

Mini Lop Grooming Guide

Mini Lops should be brushed weekly, though more frequent brushing is necessary when they molt (which happens twice a year). Their nails grow continuously and should be trimmed with a small animal nail trimmer every month or two.

Weekly ear cleanings may help reduce the frequency of ear infections. Ask your veterinarian whether you should be cleaning your bunny’s ears and how to do it. Mini Lop rabbits should not need to be bathed in water; use pet-safe grooming wipes if your rabbit gets dirty.

Grooming your Mini Lop should be a part of your daily interaction. Grooming meets two needs: it keeps your bunny’s skin and coat happy and healthy, and it builds a trusting bond between you and your rabbit.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Mini Lops are, overall, considered easy bunnies to care for. But you still need to give your rabbit attention every day.

Mini Lop rabbits require a high-fiber diet, routine grooming, plenty of daily exercise, and lots of attention and social interaction. They are good with children (as long as children are supervised around bunnies to prevent rabbits from becoming injured or stressed); they generally do well in family homes as they typically will bond with every member of the household.  

Mini Lop FAQs

Is a Mini Lop rabbit a good pet?

Yes, Mini Lops are wonderful pets in a home where they receive lots of attention. They are friendlier and more easygoing than some other rabbit breeds, and they are even good in homes with children, as long as kids are supervised.  

Are Mini Lops hard to take care of?

Mini Lops are fairly easy rabbits to take care of. When cared for properly, they are generally hardy and have minimal grooming needs.

Are Mini Lop rabbits cuddly?

Mini Lops thrive on attention and will typically gladly spend time snuggling and cuddling with their family members.

Are Mini Lops easy to train?

Mini Lop bunnies are intelligent and generally easy to train. They often take to litter training well and can also learn basic commands. 

What’s the difference between Holland Lops vs. Mini Lops?

The most noticeable difference between the two rabbits is that Mini Lops are larger than Holland Lops. Mini Lop rabbits usually have a longer lifespan, and they may be a bit more laid-back than the smaller Holland Lop.

Featured Image: iStock.com/yoh4nn


Catherine Gose, CVT

WRITTEN BY

Catherine Gose, CVT

Veterinarian Technician


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