Pet of the week: The Mini Lop

For those of you who have marvelled at the Dwarf Lop's compact form, meet its even more gadget-sized baby brother, the Mini Lop. In a world that values size reduction without the loss of essential functionality (in this case, twitchy nose, floppy ears, cute, hoppity motion), the Mini Lop is the teeny-tiny bun that packs a lot of fun

He ain't heavy

In fact, the Mini Lop weighs in at a shade over 3lbs which in terms we can all understand is about the same as a bottle and a half of wine. Being so light, they are ideal pets for children who can learn how to handle small, delicate animals without being too rough and tumble on them.

Furry friend

Mini Lops have a very easy-going nature, which is another reason why they make such great pets for young 'uns. That and the fact that they are drop-dead cute. They are patient and inquisitive, and love the human touch, according to Buckinghamshire-based specialist Mini breeder Christine Hunter.

Bite-size bunny

Diet is crucial, and they have such delicate tums that switching diets can be harmful. A mixture of dried food, hay and some fresh fruit and veg is ideal. Christine rears her rabbits on her own formula, then gives very specific instructions on how to wean the kits off as they grow. And you thought they were happy with just grass ...

Love in a cold climate

"Rabbits seem to contend better with the cold than heat and moult better outside," according to Christine. They are best kept outside, but must be in a sheltered spot. If outdoors, they need as large a hutch as the space affords, and plenty of hay/barley straw to keep them warm and well fed.

Hutch thumper

"Thumping their hind legs is a warning sign – even these Mini Lops can make quite a racket, without raising their paws much at all," says Christine. Rabbits cannot express themselves very well, so thumping their back legs is an important way of communicating.

A breed apart

If you are interested in breeding or just keeping Mini Lops, visit Christine's website at dwarflops.co.uk. As a member of the British Rabbit Council, she is well placed to give all-round advice. If you are just keeping them as pets, then it's best to have a neutered buck and a neutered doe.

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