Any breed named after the famous story The Velveteen Rabbit is likely to be a big hit with children and adults alike. Offspring of two famous show breeds, the Velveteen Lop has been winning peoples’ hearts for the past two decades with its unbelievably soft fur, long drooping ears, and generally playful disposition.
As a more recent breed of rabbit, you may be curious to know what the Velveteen Lop is all about. Today we’re going to be covering the history of this silky breed, as well as giving plenty of tips for how to best integrate them into your home and keep them healthy. Let’s get started!
History and Origin of the Velveteen Lop Rabbit Breed
According to the American Velveteen Lop Rabbit Club, the first steps in this breed’s development began in the late 1980s with Californian breeder Virginia Menden. Wanting to combine the best of a Rex’s plush coat with a curved or “mandolin” body type, she began pairing English Lops and Mini Rexes in an attempt to produce the Velveteen Lop. By 1994, though, she had given up on the project.
Following this, breed presentation rights were passed to three other breeders before a Ms. Mary Crawford presented the first instance of the breed in 1999. Unfortunately, Mary’s next two presentations were not as successful as her first – leading to the presentation rights being finally handed off to David Kabela, who finally produced consistent showings.
Truly, the story of the Velveteen Lop is still being written! Only recently being accepted as a recognized breed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, it is not yet eligible for best of show category due to a lack of national exposure.
One of the smallest of the semi-arched breeds, the Velveteen Lop is much fuller and heavier in its hindquarters than in its daintily raised front feet. This serves to further emphasize its long, slender ears – often measuring more than 14 inches from tip to tip across the skull.
Velveteen Lops’ most signature trait is the plushness of their coats; it is what the breed is named for, after all! The ARBA looks for the fur to be:
- Dense, straight, and upright
- An ideal length of ⅝ inch
- The same length and texture over the entire body
- Extremely smooth and even in feel and look
- Lustrous in appearance, with a springy resistance to touch
Which is all to say, the Velveteen Lop is most noticeable by the incredible uniqueness of its fur! Available in the fantastically diverse array of colors expected of any Lop breed, they can be found in almost any color imaginable.
Health and Diet
All rabbits need two things in abundance: Fresh hay, and clean water. Choose timothy hay and make both it and the water available in multiple locations around your home to encourage your rabbit’s appetite and health.
Greens, especially dark and leafy ones, are an important adjunct to your rabbit’s diet to keep its coat soft and lustrous. Along with a nutrient-dense kibble, these greens will provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to round out your rabbit’s main diet of hay. Treats such as fruits, vegetables, and flowers can be given sparingly, always being cautious to avoid poisonous plants.
As a smaller rabbit, the Velveteen Lop can live happily in smaller homes – but be sure to always give them a cage that they can move freely in, as well as plenty of space in your house to run around when you’re home. Their small size and exposed ears mean that they are not well-suited as outside pets, especially in the wintertime.
Of course, the trademark velvety plush coat of this Lop breed comes with a requirement for a lot of grooming! Whereas you can safely groom many rabbits just once per week (or twice during shedding season), the Velveteen Lop requires daily grooming to make sure its coat stays in top condition. Once you’ve felt the fur of a well-groomed Velveteen, though, you’ll know that this is small price to pay for their luxuriously silky feel.
Being descendants of two very mild-mannered and friendly breeds, the Velveteen Lop has inherited the best traits of both Rexes and English Lops. This makes them especially affectionate, and much more relaxed than other rabbits of a similar size. In short, Velveteen Lops make fantastic pets for rabbit owners of all experience levels.
Final Thoughts on the Velveteen Lop
Through the dedicated efforts of breeders, the Velveteen Lop is coming into greater popularity with good reason: The breed combines a uniquely luxurious coat with a pleasant demeanor, all in a supremely manageable size. If you can get your hands on one of these rare bunnies, we strongly recommend them as pets!
Featured Image: Myxi on Flickr