The French Lop is a breed of domestic rabbit developed in France in the 19th century from the selective breeding of English Lop and Flemish Giant stock. The French Lop resembles the English Lop, but the French Lop is heavier in stature and does not have the exaggerated ear length of the English Lop. Weighing approximately 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb), it has an average lifespan of five years. The French Lop is currently recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and by the British Rabbit Council (BRC).
The French Lop was first bred as a meat rabbit, beginning around 1850 in France. It is believed to have been produced by crossing two existing breeds, the English Lop and the Giant Papillon ("géant papillon français" or "Butterfly Rabbit of France").[clarification needed] The new breed became popular in neighbouring countries including the Netherlands, from which ten specimens were exported in 1933 to the UK for exhibition there. By the 1960s, the French Lop had become a mainstream breed in the UK, and in 1970-1971, the first French Lops were imported into the United States.
The French Lop is a very large rabbit, typically weighing around 10-15 pounds. They don't have a maximum weight in the show standard. Their ears are typically between 5 and 8 inches long and hang down below the jaw. They have a stout, thickset body and a large head. The front legs are short and straight and the hind legs are carried parallel to the body. The French Lop has a dense, soft coat that comes in two colour varieties, solid and broken. Within these categories can be found a number of different colour variations, including agouti, black, chinchilla, and fawn.
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 fare well in both outdoor and indoor cages but keep in mind they are still rabbits and not dogs; they will chew and you need to bunny proof. They are known to have a placid and relaxed temperament, and can tolerate other species. When socialized well at a young age they are a wonderful family pet, and are very gentle with children. However, French Lops are not for the first-time rabbit owner because they are very large and can be hard to handle. They have very strong back legs, and can cause injury without meaning to, so care should be taken.
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