History & Origins of the Holland Lop Rabbit Breed

The Adorable Holland Lop Rabbit

The Holland Lop is one of the most popular rabbit breeds kept as pets today. With their sweet expression, compact size, and affectionate nature, it’s no wonder these “lops” have captured the hearts of so many owners.

But where did this distinctive breed originate? Read on to learn more about the fascinating history and development of the Holland Lop rabbit over the decades.

Origins in the Netherlands

As its name implies, the Holland Lop rabbit traces its early origins to the Netherlands. The exact origin is unclear, but it seems to have stemmed from a Netherland Dwarf rabbit that spontaneously exhibited the “lops” gene for floppy ears in the early 1900s.

This genetic mutation causes the cartilage in rabbit ears to go soft, causing them to drop down along the sides of the face. The resulting lop-eared appearance was seen as highly desirable by some rabbit enthusiasts.

Efforts to recreate this lop-eared Netherland Dwarf led to the emergence of the Lop rabbit breed in the 1920s and 30s. These Lops were still quite small like the Netherland Dwarf ancestor, but now exhibited the distinctive floppy ears. They came in a variety of colors and patterns, including solid, broken marked, shaded, and more.

Introduction to the United States

The first Lops made their way to the United States in the late 1960s after being imported from the Netherlands and Germany .

American Adrienne Hardin is credited with making the initial imports and establishing a breeding stock of Lops in the US . From the start, the appealing lop-eared rabbits stirred up interest from rabbit breeders and fanciers around the country.

white Holland Lop Rabbit Breed

Development of the Holland Lop

Building from those original Lop imports, Adrienne Hardin and other breeders set to work standardizing the Holland Lop breed . They worked diligently over the next decades to achieve consistency in the breed’s characteristics, focusing especially on their unique head type and ears. Hardin herself bred many generations and made careful selections to refine the Holland Lop.

In 1979, the Holland Lop was accepted as a new breed for exhibition and showing in America. Popularity for the cute little lops took off, both among rabbit show breeders and families looking for pets.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) played a central role in recognizing and approving the Holland Lop as an official breed. After meeting strict criteria, the breed achieved full ARBA recognition in 1984. This milestone demonstrated that the Holland Lop breed was well established with consistent traits according to breed standards.

Today’s Holland Lop

From those early beginnings, the Holland Lop rabbit evolved into one of the most beloved rabbit breeds today. As the first lop breed recognized by ARBA, it paved the way for other lop-eared breeds that would follow. The Holland Lop also comes in an impressive array of color varieties, including black, blue, chocolate, fawn, tortoiseshell, broken, tri-colored, and more.

While originally bred as fancy exhibition rabbits, Holland Lops shift today toward primarily being sweet and playful companion pets. Their social, loving temperament suits them perfectly for apartment living and families with children. Of course, they retain their popularity in rabbit shows as one of the top competitive lop breeds.

Through the dedicated work of Adrienne Hardin and other breeders over the decades, Holland Lops have earned a lasting place in the rabbit world and the hearts of owners. Their cute lopped ears and animated expressions continue melting hearts to this day. Anyone lucky enough to adopt one is sure to fall in love with these endearing little rabbits.


Where did the Holland Lop rabbit originally come from?

The Holland Lop originated in the Netherlands early in the 20th century. A spontaneous genetic mutation in a Netherland Dwarf rabbit caused the lop ears. Breeders selectively bred these rabbits to recreate the trait, establishing the early Lop breed.

How did the Holland Lop get to America?

The first Holland Lops were imported to the United States from the Netherlands and Germany in the late 1960s by rabbit breeder Adrienne Hardin. She established the foundation stock in America.

When was the Holland Lop recognized as an official breed?

The Holland Lop was accepted as a new breed for exhibition and showing in America in 1979. Full recognition by the American Rabbit Breeders Association came in 1984 after meeting breed standards.

What makes the Holland Lopunique?

The defining traits of the Holland Lop are their compact size, rounded head type, and furry flop ears that hang down along the sides of the face. This distinctive look sets them apart from other breeds.

Who was most influential in developing the Holland Lop?

Rabbit breeder Adrienne Hardin was the most influential. Through dedicated breeding of many generations, she standardized the Holland Lop to achieve consistency in type and traits expected by shows.

What colors and patterns do Holland Lops come in?

They come in a huge variety of coat colors and patterns. Examples include black, blue, chocolate, fawn, tortoiseshell, broken marked, shaded, tri-colored Hollands, and more color combinations.

Are Holland Lops considered a dwarf breed?

No, even though they trace ancestry to the diminutive Netherland Dwarf, Holland Lops are no longer categorized as true dwarf rabbits based on rabbit registry standards. But they remain a very small, compact breed.

What are Holland Lops like as pets?

Holland Lops are exceptionally friendly, playful, and affectionate as companion pets. Their loving personality combined with a cute, cuddly appearance has made them very popular with families and apartment living.