All lop rabbits have ears that fall to the side of their head. Other than that superficial resemblance, the five lop breeds differ widely in appearance. While the Holland lop was developed to resemble a smaller French lop, the two breeds vary significantly in terms of origin, size, shape and temperament.
The French lop was developed as a meat rabbit in 19th century France. It was developed by crossing the English lop with local wild rabbits. The Flemish giant rabbit was introduced to the gene pool, which increased the new breed's size. The cross with the Flemish giant also introduced new color genes to the new breed, which previously resembled the wild rabbit in color.
Breed originator Adriann de Cock developed the Holland lop as a miniature version of the French lop. He initially crossed the French lop with the Netherland dwarf; however, this initial cross did not create a breed with lop ears. Subsequent crosses with English lops and selective breeding to develop a breed type similar to the French lop resulted in a successful, if slightly larger rabbit than he desired. The breed attained its current size and type by 1955.
Size and Type
The French lop is the largest lop, considered a giant breed. Rabbits of this breed usually weigh between 10.5 pounds and 13 pounds, although individuals may be larger or smaller. The breed has a short, rounded body with short, strong legs. The French lop has a broad, round head with a wide forehead and full cheeks. French lop ears are are broad and hang about 1 inch below the head. The inside of the ear should be turned to face the side of the head.
The Holland lop, by contrast, is a dwarf breed, the smallest of the lops. Show quality Holland lops must weigh between 3 and 4 pounds, with 3 pounds being ideal; however, some pet quality Holland lops may reach up to 5 pounds. The body of the Holland lop is described as being short and stocky, giving the impression of a much larger rabbit in a small form. The Holland lop's head is rounder than that of the French lop, having a "strongly curved profile." Their ears are similar in dimension to those of the French lops, but they may be broader than the average rabbit ear.
The French lop is an active and friendly rabbit when young. As it matures, a French lop becomes docile, as is common with giant breeds. French lops make good pets.
The Holland lop is also an active and friendly rabbit when it is young. Unlike the French lop, the Holland lop remains active after maturity. Holland lops enjoy attention and like being handled. They make very good pets.