The French Lop is the only lop-eared bunny in the “giant” size category, and, weighing around 11 lbs, they can be large. But don’t let their size put you off — they’re a friendly and cuddly rabbit with lots of love to give!
Thanks to their docile and laid-back nature, the French Lop makes a great family pet for all. Their size means they aren’t always advised for first-time rabbit owners because they have slightly higher needs than a small bunny. However, as long as you give this rabbit lots of space, exercise and love, they’ll be your best friend!
If you’re interested in knowing more about the French Lop and seeing whether they might be the rabbit for you, keep reading below.
History Of The French Lop
The French Lop rabbit often resembles a larger Mini Lop rabbit. These bunnies are not as popular as some other breeds and are not as widely bred, purely because of the space and amount of food that they require. That being said, they can make an excellent pet for those who understand their needs.
The breed is recognized by both the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and the British Rabbit Council. Today the breed is a popular meat rabbit breed as well as being raised as a pet and as a show animal. Let’s take a look at the French’s origins.
The French Lop was first bred using an English Lop and a French Butterfly rabbit, although some say they were created by crossing an English Lop with a Flemish Giant rabbit. Either way, this breed was first seen in France in around 1850, where it was used as a meat rabbit.
As a meat animal, the French Lop became popular in neighboring countries such as Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. The breed was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1933, again as a meat animal, but didn’t gain popularity until 1965 when the breed was first exhibited in the UK.
Although this breed had popularity in Europe, the French Lop wasn’t introduced to the United States until the early 1970s.
Characteristics Of The French Lop
This large rabbit is often mistaken for the Flemish Giant rabbit because of their size. These rabbits are usually born in litter sizes of between 6 and 7 kits, but it can be as high as 12 kits!
The French Lop normally weighs between 10 and 15 lbs! These large bunnies have a commercial body type and short, straight front legs and hind legs that run parallel to the body. They have a thick body and a large head with a wide forehead and chubby cheeks. Their lop ears usually hang between 5 and 8 inches long down below the jaw.
The French Lop has a dense and soft coat that is short to medium in length. It is rollback fur, which means that when the fur is stroked from the opposite direction, it returns to its original position. The fur is not difficult to maintain and during non-shedding season, will only need to be brushed occasionally. We will go into more detail about grooming your French Lop later on.
The French Lop’s coat comes in two color varieties: solid and broken. There are a number of different colors that can be seen on this rabbit, including white, brown, blue, black, opal, fawn, chinchilla and steel.
While this lop breed is large and can look intimidating, they have a wonderful temperament. Friendly and docile, these gentle giants are a very calm breed that are happy going with the flow and being around their family members.
They bond very quickly to those that they love and, once bonded, don’t like to be apart from you! At home, they will follow you around and like to be picked up and petted. Make sure you give them lots of attention and they will love you!
While the French Lop doesn’t chew or destroy things more than any other rabbit, they should always be kept occupied! They are much more likely to become destructive if they are bored, so giving them some toys is always a good idea.
You should always respect your French’s personal space, especially when they are new to your home. If they are afraid or frightened, then they might try to bite.
The French Lop has a relatively short life expectancy and usually lives for between 5 to 7 years.
Known Health Issues
Unfortunately, the French Lop rabbit can be prone to some health problems. These are usually the same concerns that all rabbits are faced with.
– Malocclusion — this is when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned so that the normal process of chewing doesn’t wear down your rabbit’s teeth. Regular dental checkups are very important. You should also make sure your rabbit eats plenty of hay.
– GI Stasis — this is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Symptoms include loss of appetite, small or no fecal pellets and lethargy. It can be treated if caught quickly.
– Ear Mites — this is a common parasite of pet rabbits. You may see your rabbit shaking their head a lot if they are affected. Your vet will be able to treat them.
– Woolblock — this can be a serious and sometimes fatal issue. As they clean and groom themselves, your rabbit can ingest fur which can become trapped inside the digestive system and create a furball. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot regurgitate furballs and it will become bigger and bigger. This can lead to loss of appetite as your rabbit will believe they are full, or it can block the digestive tract.
The French Lop can also be prone to gaining weight. Ensure you don’t overfeed them and make sure they get enough exercise. Like all rabbits, they can also suffer from back issues if they are mishandled or accidentally dropped.
Regular vet checkups will ensure that you catch any health problems before them become too serious. You should also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the French Lop, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these rabbits on a day to day basis is really like. As a large rabbit, they do have certain care needs that need to be met. Below we will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs, their grooming requirements and their living space requirements.
Food And Diet
The exact amount you feed your French Lop should be based on their size, age and activity level. Of course, the French Lop is going to need more food than the average rabbit, purely because they are a much bigger rabbit! However, they can be prone to gaining weight, so try not to overfeed them as this can be detrimental to their health.
They should be eating a portion of hay that is at least as their body size every day, alongside pellets and fresh vegetables. Fresh water should also always be available to them.
Hay is very important as it helps to keep your French’s digestive system moving, as well as helping to wear down their teeth so they are less prone to dental issues. At least 70% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay.
High-quality supplementary pellets help to provide extra vitamins and minerals that keep your rabbit healthy. Take a look at a supplementary pellet food we recommend below.
Best Food For The French LopBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Kaytee Timothy Complete rabbit food for the French Lop. Made from hand-selected timothy hay, this food is high in fiber and not only supports your rabbit’s digestive health but also promotes chewing to help with their dental health. A pellet rather than muesli, there is no chance of selective feeding with this food, either.
There are added vitamins and minerals in this recipe to support the overall health of your pet as well as prebiotics and probiotics. Made in the USA, this food is corn free and alfalfa free and there is no added sugar.
In the wild, rabbits run around three miles a day. Therefore, it is very important that you give your pet rabbit enough exercise every day to keep them active and entertained. They should have at least three hours of free-range time, whether this is out of their hutch in the garden or just around the house.
A large bunny, the French Lop needs a lot of time to exercise outside of their hutch. When socialized from a young age, the French Lop will stick by your side and will happily hop along next to you in the garden! If you want to leave them alone outside unsupervised, they will need a large secure enclosure. This can be stand-alone or it can be attached to their hutch. This will keep them safe from predators and means you won’t need to be on the lookout all the time.
Exercise is very important for the well-being of your rabbit. It helps to keep their joints moving, keeps them entertained and ensures they stay at a healthy weight.
Family Compatibility and Trainability
Thriving on human interaction, the French Lop rabbit breed makes a wonderful family pet. They are excellent for individuals, couples, the elderly and with children. The French Lop should always be supervised around young children just because of their size — they are very docile but they are also heavy and can get hurt when dropped!
You can easily train your French Lop, which can make life a little easier! You can train them to use a litter box so there is less mess for you to clean up and you can even teach them to come when their name is called!
Choosing to keep your French Lop indoors or outdoors is a personal preference. As a giant rabbit breed, many owners choose to keep their French Lop outdoors because there is more space. They will then have more fresh air too and will enjoy feeling the grass underneath their paws as they exercise. However, they can also live happily as an indoor rabbit, as long as they have lots of space to move and are not confined to their hutch all day.
Whether they are inside or outside, their hutch should be large enough that they can easily hop around inside. Try to stay away from hutches with wire floors as these can cause sore hocks within rabbits. Take a look at the hutch we recommend below.
Best Hutch For The French LopBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Pawhut Deluxe wooden hutch for your French Lop. This hutch measures 90.6” L x 27.6” W x 39.4” H and, as they are giant breed of rabbit, gives them a large space to live in.
With two levels, there are multiple ramps to the enclosed upper box that allow easy access to and from the large living area and run. This hutch is made from fir wood and heavy duty wire mesh to keep your French Lop safe at all times. The roof is also waterproof so the hutch can stay outside at all times, although it can also be used indoors.
The French Lop does not require too much grooming. You should be brushing these bunnies once a week with a bristled brush to keep their coat looking tidy and matt-free. During shedding season, which happens twice a year, you will need to be brushing them more often — two to three times a week.
You should very rarely bathe your rabbit. It is not really necessary, unless they are really dirty. Bathing can also be a traumatic experience for them. You should also trim their nails as and when is needed.
French Lop FAQ’s
How big should my rabbit’s cage be?
The rule with rabbits is: the bigger the better! If you have the space for a big hutch then your rabbit will always appreciate the extra room to roam and exercise. No one wants to be stuck in a cramped space!
If you do not have a lot of space, then the cage should be at least 4 times the size of the rabbit. A guide is 24″ by 36″ for smaller rabbits (less than 8 lbs) or 30″ by 36″ for larger rabbits. Hutches with multiple stories are also popular as they give your bun more space.
Should I keep my French Lop inside or outside?
This is up to you! As a large breed, the French Lop will certainly need a lot of space and so, if you can provide them with this space in the yard or garden, they will benefit from it! However, the French Lop can live happily inside too. You just need to make sure you are letting them have free-rein of the house for at least 3 hours a day so they get plenty of time to exercise and stretch their legs.
The French Lop is a large rabbit breed with lots of love to give! Friendly, laid-back and docile, this gentle giant makes the perfect companion to everyone, including children. While their size means they do need lots of exercise, food and a large living space, their fantastic personality ensures they are easy to live with. Make sure you give this bun lots of love, attention and toys and they’ll be happy wherever. Do you think the French Lop could be for you?