History of the Plush Lop
A breif history of the Plush Lop & Mini Plush Lop
Christine Toyer creator of the Plush Lop & Miniture Plush Lop first started work on The Plush Lop in the early 1990’s. At this stage Christine was a successful Rex and Lop exhibitor, a Trainee All Breeds Judge and genetics enthusist. Christine was seeking a new exciting challenge hence the concept of the plush lop was born. A vision of combining the best aspects of both the Rex and Dwarf Lop breeds.
In 1995 Paula and Petra Otto were invited to judge one of REBS early National Shows. Petra was impressed with the development of the early examples and offered to help Christine begin the process of applying for Breed Status with the BRC.
What does 'Breed in Developement' (BID) mean?
Well firstly we should understand what a breed standard is. The breed standards list defining characteristic to which a rabbit is categorized and marked against at a rabbit show and for identification purposes. In Australia we fall under the British Rabbit Councils rulings and the BRC Breed standards.
How is this relevant to the BID for the plush lop? A breed in development in simple terms is when a rabbit breed or new colour has not yet been accepted by the BRC and must complete numerous presentations showing multiple offspring and generations with progression known as the BID process.
The BID Process -
1. That any new breed/colour or pattern is given a full scrutiny before it
takes its place in the Breed Standards Book.
2. They are distinctly different from any other breed already
3. They breed "true"
4. That there is enough widespread interest.
5. They will satisfy Health & Welfare Regulations.
To explain the plush lop & mini plush lops in simplest terms, the Plush Lop is a normal Dwarf Lop with a “coat variation” and miniature Plush Lop is a normal Mini Lop with a "coat variation". They are intended to be shown as a Lop Breed. In the same way that a Cashmere Lop has the long hair mutation, the Plush Lop has the Rex Coat mutation.
The Plush Lop Breed in Development Standards for Type and Colours is as per the Dwarf Lop Breed, with an extra pound for maximum weight allowed. The point allocation for coat is in the same proportion as for Cashmere Lops ie 30 points. This also is the same proportion of points allocated for coat in Dwarf Lops, 30 points including the 10 points specifically for guard hairs required in the Dwarf Lop Standard. As it is not simply a rex coated lop but its own breed with defining characteristics it is not the 40 points for coat as per the Rex Breeds.
Christine has explained that to create a floppy eared rabbit with rex liked fur was not that hard. Within three generations this can be done consistently. But these animals were pointy faced & fine boned, much like a Rex with loped ears and are not what Christine envisaged the Plush Lop breed could become and those early generations are not what is outlined in the BID Plush Lop Standard.
Malvina Lake Mini Lop with shaved head vs Moutain Bunnies Mini Plush Lop Doe skull structure
Anyone who has been involved in breeding either miniature or standard plush lop can attest to the challenge of the breeds. The bone structure of the Plush Lop breed has to be consistently a perfect Dwarf Lop build or in many cases better before the animals have any chance of being competitive. The lovely silky plush nature of their coats hides absolutely nothing and tells no lies.
Malvina Lake Dwarf Lop showing head puff due to fur vs wet fur to show the true skull structure
All flaws in the animal’s confirmation are apparent to all. So the first big challenge, and it has taken many years of patient work, was to change the finer skull shape, slightly arched back and lower head set of the Rex, to the wider crowned, heavier boned ,higher head set of the dwarf lop, while still keeping the rex coat gene.
Malvina Lake Mini Lop showing head puff due to fur vs shaved puff skull structure
Many of us have experienced the frustration with in every sense of the word two steps forward and one step back with every generation game.
The plush lop and mini plush lop community who have been trying to get both breeds accredited by the BRC have been faced with many challenges along the way but one of which is the well meaning, but misguided folk trying to start a "Plush" project themselves, however inevitably usually give up in frustration, and start selling off animals at the point where they are still ugly floppy eared rex! And what happens to all of those animals? Well generally we find they get released to the pet breeding market, which has made getting respect for our lines of Show purebred Plush Lops that much harder.
Fast forwarding to 2014 the the ANCRI (Australian National Rabbit Council Inc.) Rabbit Extravaganza. Again both the plush lop and miniature plush lops were assessed as apart of the BID process in hopes to obtain their accreditation. Christine, Julie, Sean & Max packed the rabbit trailer full of rabbits and hit the road from NSW to meet us in Seymour Victoria to present out beloved rabbits. Rabbits were traveling from all over Australia by, car, boat and plane to be at the extravaganza for a rabbit packed weekend.
With much joy we were advised that the miniature plush lops had been passed and were now accepted by ANCRI and the BRC making them able to receive CC's (Challenge Certificate) awarded for their section. The plush lops are hopeful to receive their accreditation in 2017.
Julie Chard of JK Hoppers was awarded the first ever CC for the miniature plush lop that weekend and deservedly so with her beautiful rabbit Shilo.