About Mini Plush Lop's
Mini Plush Lops are a unique, very rare specialty pet with only 2 qualified breeders with rabbitries dedicated to specializing in them at this time. Mini Plush Lops are a 3-4.5 pound ball of fur, not hair. Unlike a traditional rabbit’s hair coat, the Mini Plush Lop literally feels like silky velvet similar to a Rex rabbit. Unlike a rex rabbit, the Mini Plush Lop is smaller and has floppy lopped ears just like a Holland Lop.
Something exciting about a Mini Plush lop is its lack of excessive shedding like most rabbit breeds, making it an ideal house rabbit. Mini Plush Lops will molt twice a year, but after the molt is over, no excessive shedding! They also don’t produce dander like a dog, making them a much better choice for those who may be allergic to other animals.
Mini Plush lops are very docile and sweet. They are happy to sit in your lap and watch TV with you or curiously hop around your house. Mini Plush Lops love to play! You can give them small kitten balls or even an empty toilet paper roll to
toss around. The Mini Plush Lop is an excellent children’s pet because they are small and gentle especially if you spend time with them every day. Because of their small size they are inexpensive to feed. Like all rabbits they rarely make any noise unless they are hurt or feel in danger.
Mini Plush Lops are not simply a cross between a Mini Rex and Holland Lop like many believe, a true Mini Plush Lop has a total of 4 combined breeds including one of the smallest rabbit breeds, the Netherland Dwarf. The Mini Plush lop gets its small size from introducing some high quality Netherland Dwarfs dozens of generations back when the breed was in its first stages of development. Carefully planned percentages of three other breeds were selectively bred over a 12 year period of time from only the highest quality stock of each breed to inherit their small size, plush velvet coat, floppy ears and laid back and friendly personality.
Because Mini Plush Lops have fur instead of hair, they do much better as indoor potty trained pets. At Ellie's Rabbitry, we prefer all of our Mini Plush Lops to go to an inside home or a family that is very willing to accommodate them outdoors. This would include some kind of heat source in the winter months or living inside a closed garage. Their soft fur does not retain their body heat like a normal rabbits hair does.
Mini Plush Lop Breeding Program
Devie D’Anniballe from Ohio was the creator of the Mini Plush lop. She had a vision of the perfect rabbit and with her knowledge, disciplined selective breeding program and span of over 12 years, she finally had a bunny breakthrough and started producing what is now the real and true North American Mini Plush Lop. There is a similar European version called a Plush Lop that is larger in size.
It all started in 1995 when Mrs. D’Anniballe and a few other breeders shared the same vision. All loved the personality and lopped ears of the Holland Lop and the soft coat of the Mini Rex. They decided to start a breeding program to try to create a rabbit that combined these traits, but it wasn’t easy. The Holland Lop was the desired size as well as the desired body type. The Mini Rex was added for massiveness and fur type. Unfortunately after two years of this breeding
combination Mrs. D’Anniballe and the other breeders still weren’t producing what they desired. The rabbits ears would not drop, making them look too much like a Mini Rex and their bone structure became too fine. Mrs. D’Anniballe’s co-breeders decided it couldn’t be done and stopped participating in the breeding program. That’s when Devie D’Anniballe went solo and took matters into her own hands.
She added 3 pound Mini Rex’s with excellent coats to a Mini Lop. This gave the desired body type and caused the ears to fall, but the rabbits were too big. Only the doe’s that were created from this breeding were kept for future breeding. Mrs. D’Anniballe already had Holland/Mini Rex crosses she was partially satisfied with so she used those bucks to breed with her Mini Lop cross Doe’s to bring down the overall size. Only the doe’s from that combination were kept. At some point Netherland Dwarfs were added to the mix to bring the size down even more. All of the rabbits were bred only one time. If the doe’s had litters and raised them, two does were chosen out of those litters and the rest were culled from the herd. Only one or two bucks were chosen to be breeding bucks out of several litters and the rest were culled.
Eventually her barn was sectioned off, one section for brood doe’s to have litters and another section for the resulting doe’s from those litters. Once they produced two doe’s they were culled from the herd. Another section was specifically for bucks that were kept for breeding.
After several years new things appeared within her herd. Eventually, Dillon was born and he was very close to what Mrs. D’Anniballe had been striving to produce. She discovered that if Dillon was bred to a Holland Lop and then the doe’s were bred back to Dillon, it created the perfect Mini Plush Lop.
Mrs. D’Anniballe created the standard for the Mini Plush Lop, it includes: 4 pounds or less with small compact bodies, wide faces with short muzzles, long heavy lopped ears like a Mini Lop and a velvet coat similar to a Mini Rex.
Devie D’Anniballe passed away in 2010. The Mini Plush Lop is mentioned in Mrs. D’Anniballe’s obituary here: Devie L. D’Anniballe Obituary
Below are photos of the 4 rabbit breeds combined to create the Mini Plush Lop: Different percentages of each breed were carefully selected and bred over a 12 year span. Only the finest of each breed were chosen to participate in the breeding program and only the best qualities of each breed shine through in a True Mini Plush Lop. If a rabbit is not a direct decedent of the D’Anniballe herd, it is not a true Mini Plush Lop.
The Netherland Dwarf was used for size, the Mini Rex was used for fur type, the Holland Lop was used for body type and temperament and the Mini Lop was used to help drop the ears or widen the “crown.”
Because of the four breeds used to produce the Mini Plush lop, the possibilities in colors and varieties are endless!
An example of endless possibilities includes one of my breeding doe’s named Pearl, she is a beautiful smoke pearl who happens to have the astrex gene, making her fur appear crimped or wavy. This is a very desirable and unique trait making Pearl extra special!
After years of selective breeding and literally thousands of rabbits later, the Mini Plush Lop was finally created. The perfect “Story Book Bunny” is what their creator Devie D’Anniballe affectionately called them. There are standard sized or “Large Sized” Plush lops in Europe, but the American made Mini Plush Lop is the smallest of the two breeds. Mini Plush Lops are not accepted into the ARBA. We personally hope to keep it this way. Once mass production of any breed starts, the quality and uniqueness goes down. When a rabbit breed becomes popular it becomes a hit in the rabbit breeding world for a time and that’s when you start to see different breeds of rabbits popping up in animal shelters and pet stores that were once only seen at rabbit shows. The best way to keep a breed out of animal shelters and pet stores is to keep them off the show table, too. As members of the ARBA, we truly respect and appreciate all they do for the rabbit industry. But it is still our hope that the Mini Plush Lop remains a specialty breed.
Today, many small backyard breeders have attempted making their own versions of the North American Mini Plush Lop and call them true Mini Plush Lop's. There are only 2 breeders including Ellie's Rabbitry who's entire herd consists of untainted, direct descendants of Devie D'Anniballe's founding Mini Plush Lop herd.