The Pet Directory Smal Animal Article - Plush Lops! A New Breed for Australia

As published in The Pet Directory NSW & ACT Edition
By Christine Toyer - Malvina Lake Stud - (02) 4392 0999

A new breed for Australia

A few years ago a friend of mine said,” I love the feel of the Rex rabbits, but the lops are so cute and friendly, wouldn’t it be great if you could have both in one breed!”

This got me thinking about the possibilities, and one day when we had an “accident” between one of my lovely Rex does and a top miniature lop buck, I decided to keep the babies as the starting point for creating the Plush lop breed in Australia.

It was certainly not as easy as simply mating a perfect lop rabbit with the perfect rex rabbit and ‘voila’ the new breed is created. In fact although I first started nearly four years ago I expect it could be at least another two years until my attempts to create this new breed is totally ideal in lop type and size.

I first found inspiration for the project after researching on the Internet what others in America had done. I then started work on creating an Australian version of the Plush or Velveteen lop as it is sometimes also called. Not too long after I began, a few other breeders in the Sydney and Central Coast area also began doing first crosses with the ultimate aim of Miniature Plush Lops. A very good website documenting one such programme is found at Minilop Magic by Simon Voorwinde.

In this article I would love to briefly show you through some of the bunnies I used to get this project started and some of the progress along the way.
The Rex rabbit fur is short and thick like fine velvet, and the gene to create this coat is recessive to the normal rabbit fur. So when a rex and lop are crossed you get a “normal furred” rabbit, with upright ears, not what I was aiming for. First matings were just aiming for some ear lopping added to the rex gene. It then took a couple of generations of crossing back the “carriers” of the rex fur gene, who showed lopped ears, before “lopped rexes” start to result. But these early crosses are long in the body, and the nose, so don’t look as attractive as the cute little lop pictured above.

Two years ago some more attractive bunnies like the two pictured came along, the chocolate and white one is named Brocade, the Lilac one is called Lilo. Last year these two lovely bucks were mated back to the best lop does I had, to create the next generation of improved “rex carrying” does.
And now I am thrilled this 2004 breeding season to be getting the next improved generation of Plush Lop babies, shorter in the body and rounder in the faces, gradually getting closer to the type of the miniature lop in the picture on the left, with lovely velvety coats.

I am now designing a website with more information, and will be excited to start to allow some of this lovely new breed to go out to new homes, and hopefully see a class for them be added to our Rabbit Show schedules in 2005.

If you are interested in further information about this appealing new breed contact Christine Toyer - Malvina Lake Stud - 185 Bruce Crescent Wallarah 2259 - (02) 4392 0999.

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