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The American Fuzzy Lop, referred to as a "fuzzy" for short, is a breed of rabbit which came from the breeding of Holland Lops with French Angora rabbits to produce a rabbit similar to the original Holland Lop, but with a longer woolen coat instead of the shorter fur coat of the Holland Lops. In 1988, the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) declared the American Fuzzy Lop an official breed separate from the Holland Lop, though the rabbits have many traits in common. The breed is often raised to compete in shows at the ARBA competition and also makes an excellent pet due to its relaxed nature and friendliness.
Originally, Holland Lop rabbits had solid-colored coats. Breeders wanted Holland Lops with mixed colors in their fur, and thus decided to breed Holland Lops and English Spot rabbits. The breeders achieved the mixed-color fur they wanted, but the type of fur had changed from rollback to flyback. Rollback fur gently rolls back into place when petting the rabbit backward, while flyback fur appears to "snap" back quickly.
To attempt to create the rollback fur in the Holland Lops, breeders crossed the rabbits with French Angora rabbits. This achieved the result breeders were looking for, but led to a surprise. Certain rabbits were born with longer, fuzzy woolen coats not found in the Holland Lops. A breeder named Patty-Greene Karl discovered the recessive nature of the genes for the long woolen coats and began breeding what would eventually become known as the American Fuzzy Lop.
For a rabbit to qualify as an American Fuzzy Lop and compete in competitions, it must meet certain requirements. Rabbits fall into one of two categories: junior rabbits and senior rabbits. A junior rabbit should weigh no more than 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) and a senior should weigh 4 pounds (1.8 kg) or less. Rabbits are then sorted by solid colored coats or broken colored coats, which describes a mixture of one or more colors over a white coat.
When purchasing an American Fuzzy Lop for competitions, the owner should check the list of ideal measurements, weights, and the acceptable fur colors. Judging is based on the shape and proportions of the body, along with the fur and color of the rabbit's coat. Nineteen colors are allowed in judging competitions, though many other color combinations exist. It is important for an owner to choose a rabbit in one of the acceptable colors if she wishes to compete.
Owners who want an American Fuzzy Lop as a pet instead of for show won't need to worry about the size, shape, or color of their Fuzzy Lops. The Lops are very social with people and other rabbits and enjoy lots of attention. The major difference in caring for a Fuzzy Lop compared to other rabbits is the extra grooming necessary to keep the fur coat clean and tangle free. An owner should provide adequate food and water for her pet rabbit along with plenty of room to run and hop. Rabbits may learn to use a litter box if trained properly.