What is small, white and woolly and nicknamed a Fuzzy?
The American Fuzzy Lop!
The American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit (AFL) is a friendly and active, small rabbit breed; developed on the East coast of the United States of America in the 1980s.
This lovely little rabbit has a long woolly fur coat, a short flat muzzle like a cat, and long floppy ears. It will be playful and love to receive as much attention as possible, both human and rabbit.
American Fuzzy Lop Rabbits are very cute as little bunnies. Let’s take a look at this new breed of rabbit, now recognized by the ARBA
It is sometimes called:
- The Fuzzy Lop Rabbit,
- American Holland Lop Rabbit,
- The Woolly Holland Lop
A Brief History of the American Fuzzy Lop rabbit breed
The development of the American Fuzzy Lop rabbit begins with the Holland Lop rabbit.
The Holland Lop rabbit was originally only available in solid color coats. At that time breeders wanted to have a broken pattern variety within the Holland Lop breed.
Unfortunately, in this breeding mix, the offspring had lost the rollback fur that was common in the Holland Lop rabbit breed and favored the English Spot fur. To restore the rollback fur, Holland Lops were then crossed with French Angora rabbits; a wool breed, famous for its soft roll-back ‘angora’ wool coat.
It was the addition of the French Angora rabbit into the breeding attempts that introduced the ‘wool gene’ into the Holland Lop gene pool. Shortly afterward the litters in this breeding program were successfully born with long coats and the desired gentle rollback coat.
They were adorable and news spread in breeding circles about this new type of Holland Lop with fur like an Angora.
How did the American Fuzzy Lop rabbit breed develop to become a recognized breed by the ARBA?
Professional breeders heard about this adorable little fuzzy-fur rabbit and decided to attempt to breed them further.
Two breeders on the East Coast of America, Patty Greene-Karl and Gary Fellers, and another two breeders from the West Coast of America, Kim Landry, and Margaret Miller, liked this fuzzy rabbit breed and tried to breed them.
It was Patty Greene-Karl who had a breakthrough when she realized that the ‘wool gene’ was recessive.
She realized that if she crossed two Holland Lop rabbits, with this wool gene, there would be a one in four chance that the offspring would have a ‘fuzzy’ wool coat.
In the early 1980s, Patty Greene-Karl decided to start a breeding program to develop these woolly Holland Lop rabbits, as a new breed.
The mix included:
Holland Lop rabbits – typically a solid color with rollback coats
English Spot rabbits – typically a broken color with flyback coats
French Angora rabbits – with long hair and gentle rollback coats
American fuzzy lop rabbit breed and the ARBA
She called her new rabbit breed the American fuzzy lop rabbit breed (AFLs), as she had developed them on the East Coast, in the United States of ‘America’, and they had a’ fuzzy’ wool coat and ‘Lop’ ears (long dangling ears).
Practice makes perfect in developing new rabbit breeds
Patty Greene-Karl continued to adjust the breeding formula over the next 4 years, to achieve a rabbit that would be accepted as a new breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
As it custom when trying to introduce a new rabbit breed it has to be presented at the annual American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) show.
In 1984, at the Annual ARBA convention in Houston, Texas, Patty first presented her new rabbit breed – The American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit,
In Houston, it passed – receiving 3 standards: one for the weight (stating a maximum of 4.75 pounds and a minimum of 3.75 pounds), body type (wool breed), and ear carriage.
In 1986 – at the Annual ARBA convention in Columbus, Ohio– it passed
In 1987 – at the Annual ARBA convention in Portland, Oregon – it failed, due to inconsistencies
Patty asked Jeff Hardin for help to write a new working standard for her new rabbit breed, which was accepted; maximum weight of 4 pounds and an ideal weight of 3.5 pounds, and woolly.
In 1988 – at the Annual ARBA convention in Madison – it passed, and became a recognized breed by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association.
The American Fuzzy Lop rabbit breed appearance
An American Fuzzy Lop rabbit is a beautifully soft, long-haired breed of rabbit with a very short compact body that appears muscular.
This Fuzzy rabbit breed has a broad chest and muscular well-rounded hindquarters.
The AFL rabbit has the appearance and body type of a Holland Lop but with longer rollback fur like an Angora rabbit; woolly and super soft hair that’s not prone to matting and tangling.
Although the American Fuzzy Lop rabbit is a woolly breed its wool will be shorter than that of a commercial Angora rabbit, it can still be spun as wool for garments.
The AFL has a variety of different color classifications, solid color or broken pattern with distinctive markings; Pure White, Colored, natural or dyed!
The different colors include;
‘Agouti – which is another color combined with white, such as Chinchilla, Lynx, Opal, Chestnut or Squirrel
‘Pointed White – is a pure white color body, with different color markings; Black, Blue, Chocolate or Lilac.
White AFLs come in 2 varieties: the Blue-eyed White and the Ruby eyed White.
AFLs are partly named for their type of ears which are long and thick but do not stand erect, instead they lop or dangle down the side of their face.
The AFL face is short, with a flat muzzle that resembles the face of a cat, with distinctive markings over the nose, eye circles, and tinted ears.
What are the main characteristics of the American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit breed?
American Fuzzies are friendly and sweet. They’re highly sociable and enjoy being handled and stroked.
This new breed resembles a Holland Lop rabbit with a longer soft fuzzy coat. It’s friendly and not known to be aggressive.
It is not considered as a vulnerable breed of rabbits by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
They became popular very quickly in America in the mid to late 1980s when they were attempting to become recognized by the ARBA. They did well in Rabbit competitions and are loved for their soft fur.
Power, intelligence, and trainability:
This rabbit loves people and will be very friendly if socialized early and becomes used to different people and other pets. Some can even be trained to respond to its name and come for food when called.
But remember that rabbits are prey animals and will act on instinct when faced with danger. They are not the most intelligent animal, but they have strong instincts and good eyesight and hearing and will attempt to run from any perceived danger.
It is important to socialize this rabbit as a young kitten and get it used to being handled early if it is to be kept as a family pet or even used as a show rabbit. Early touch and stroking will make the rabbit less nervous and more biddable. This rabbit will be friendly and playful and enjoy lots of attention.
American Fuzzy Lop rabbits are known for their beautiful long fur. Although their fur is wool like that of the Angora breed, the hair of the AFL is not as long. However, even with a length of around 2 inches in length, the wool of the AFL can be spun into yarn and used for clothing.
Their wool is good quality, just like Angora, and this has earned them the nickname ‘The Head of Fancy’
Today they are still popular as show rabbits or home rabbits and are suitable for living indoors or outdoors in proper secure hutches.
This is a very friendly and sweet little rabbit. They are curious and playful and make great family pets and companions for basically any type of rabbit owner; from Seniors to Young Singles.
They are very active and energetic and like to have the opportunity to run around and keep busy. They need a fenced area to keep them safe from predators.
Remember, rabbits are natural prey animals and as such will have acute senses. This means they can be easily startled by sudden noises or unexpected movements and this may cause them to become afraid and they may run away.
Physical Characteristics of the American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit
Size: Small size
Weight: 3-4lb (1.4-1.8kg)
Life expectancy: 5-8 years
Litter size: around 4-6 Kittens per litter
(2-4 litters per year)
Coat Color: Pure White or Agouti (white mixed with a Chinchilla, Lynx, Opal, Chestnut or Squirrel color), solid color or broken pattern
Coat type: A dense coat, super soft, wool type coat.
It is not hypoallergenic; there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic rabbit.
Ears: long and thick lop ears
Eye Color: medium-sized brown eyes or blue-eyed White or Ruby eyed White varieties too
An American Fuzzy Lop rabbit is good-natured and affectionate when socialized and they just love to play. This is not known to be an aggressive breed but could get startled by sudden movements or loud noises. It will need space to run around and burn off its energy otherwise it will become frustrated.
They are comfortable with any age or experience of the owner.
Types of training required for the American Fuzzy Lop Rabbit:
1) Crate – Buy a rabbit hutch or cage and get your rabbit used to going into it. This will become its nest and it will sleep there and just hang out in there to relax.
You will have to lock the hutch in the early days so it knows it is supposed to live and sleep there and it will be a useful experience should you ever need to transport your pet.
This rabbit is suited to indoor or outdoor living, with a suitable hutch or securely fenced area. If mainly living outdoors but care must be taken to raise the hutch off the ground and make sure it is predator-proof with no gaps in the sides or base.
2) Potty training – This rabbit is moderately easy to potty train. You will need to start early and take the rabbit and its droppings back to the cage or hutch each time and put the droppings on the litter shavings each time so it will recognize the place to go by odor and habit. As this breed of rabbit has longer than average fur special attention needs to be given to its cleanliness after going to the toilet.
FACT: A Rabbit may produce slightly softer-type stools overnight and it will then eat them in the morning to help with its digestion. This is not pleasant to watch but it is perfectly normal.
Any hutch or cage should be cleaned out at least once a week, with litter shavings and hay replaced regularly and fresh food and fresh water provided daily.
3) Walking on a leash – believe it or not, you can actually buy rabbit leashes and teach your rabbit to go for a walk with you. Not too far though and be careful of its paws when very young, or on any hot ground.
Health problems for American Fuzzy Lop Rabbits
The American Fuzzy Lop rabbit is generally quite healthy, with a life expectancy of 5-8 years, but check your rabbit regularly to prevent:
Flystrike – Flystrike (also known as Myiasis) occurs when a fly lands on a rabbit’s skin and lays their eggs in the rabbit’s skin (usually around a dirty bottom, wet fur, or a wound).
These eggs hatch quickly and the maggots then chew their way into the rabbit’s skin. This can happen within hours and become fatal.
This is especially important when the rabbit is a longer haired breed as it may not always be obvious there is a problem. Checks need to be more frequent with this breed
Wool Block (Furballs) – American Fuzzy Lops, like all rabbits, lick their fur to clean themselves, and develop fur balls. However, rabbits cannot regurgitate fur balls, as cats can, so it can become dangerous if it builds up in the stomach.
Therefore a papaya supplement is often used, in the form of papaya enzyme tablets, as the papaya enzymes can break down the fur ball blockage.
If Wool block is not identified and treated early it can become fatal.
Teeth – A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing so it is very important that it has enough hay to gnaw on. 70% of the rabbit’s food intake should come from hay and chewing hay will help keep the teeth from over-growing.
A rabbit’s teeth must not be allowed to grow too long as they can grow into their jaws and face. This can be both painful and prevent them from eating properly. Overgrown teeth must be filed down by a Vet.
Caring for an American Fuzzy Lop rabbit – what’s needed?
Feed as a small-sized rabbit, 70% of a rabbit’s food intake should be from hay, the rest should be formulated rabbit food; the amount must be suitable for the specific weight of the rabbit.
The amount you should feed your rabbit will depend on its weight and energy level; add some leafy green vegetables into the diet too.
Do not give your rabbit iceberg lettuce as it has too much Lanandum which can be dangerous to eat or sugary foods
The American Fuzzy Lop rabbit has long wool hair but it is not high maintenance to groom.
It needs to be brushed in the shedding season and checked regularly to prevent matting and tangling, mainly around the tail area when it sits. Matting is not only unattractive it can become painful for the rabbit when attempts are made to untangle it.
It will lick its own paws and clean its face and ears thoroughly and then display some interesting stretches to clean the rest of its body. Rabbits are by nature very clean animals.
FACT: When a rabbit rubs its face and whiskers for you to see it means it feels at home where it is.
Check around the rabbit’s bottom regularly to make sure it has does not have flystrike evidence.
Tick and flea repellents are available if the rabbit mainly loves outside to protect it against bites.
There are a variety of soft and wire hair-brushes which will help keep your bunny’s shedding under control. (Best check out what’s recommended on Google or Amazon or Wikipedia for further facts.)
Remember, you do not need to bathe a rabbit. They will self-clean their fur.
Cleaning teeth, nails, and ears
Check their teeth to prevent over-growth, by making sure they have enough rough food and toys to chew on, as this will keep their teeth length down.
Nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly. If this breed of rabbit is allowed to run around, especially in a large enclosed area outside, they will wear their nails down slightly. If not they need to be checked, say once a month for length and infection.
A Rabbit’s nails should not be trimmed past where the white end of the nail meets the pink part!
Despite the rabbit regularly cleaning its own Lop ears, their ears still need to be checked for dirt build-up, mites or infection regularly, especially if they are kept outdoors.
What’s life like for an American Fuzzy Lop rabbit?
A Fuzzy is a cute little hairy rabbit that will be active and playful when it has the opportunity.
It likes to be stimulated, so its hutch should have some safe toys in it for it to play with; objects where small parts cannot be easily bitten off or it may choke. You can make your own rabbit toys out of old socks or old gloves that you can stuff with hay which it could eat.
Golf balls, pine cones, or hardwood are ideal, and PVC tubing would make an ideal burrow tunnel for it to play in.
Be careful if the rabbit is housed outside, that the hutch or cage is lifted off the ground and sealed with fine mesh or wire to protect it from predators.
Whether you keep your Fuzzy as an indoor pet or outdoor pet you must ensure it has enough space in its cage to stretch out completely to rest or sleep and enough room to keep its food away from where it sleeps or its litter tray.
Positives and Negatives of ownership
- Beautiful unusual super soft long hair like Angora to touch
- Very cute little bunnies
- A multi-purpose breed – good for their wool quality, for shows and as pets
- Fairly low maintenance
- Sweet-natured and affectionate with children
- Very sociable and loved to be handled
- Very clean and easy to potty train
- Suits indoor or outdoor living, easy to house train
- Needs to have a regular amount of papaya added to its diet.
- Does not tolerate very hot temperatures well
- Will need sufficient stimulation or will bite at cage contents
- Needs sufficient space to run around
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q. How much does an American Fuzzy Lop rabbit cost?
A. Around $50, from a reputable American Fuzzy Lop breeder
Do your research before you buy and check the breeder or seller, its health history, and any characteristics that might give cause for concern.
Food and litter material will cost around $20-25 per month, plus Vets fees, vaccinations, and accessories all need to be factored into the cost of owning your rabbit. Then factor in accessories, toys, vets bills, and care products.