Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breeds For Beginners

Rabbit Breeds for Beginners
(from rabbit geek notes 12/27/09)

Welcome to the group.

Are you planning to raise meat rabbits? Are you looking for strictly for show? I'm glad you are asking now because the first rabbit you buy will likely be with you for its whole life.

For meat pen rabbits, see my website with meat pen info
http://www.rabbitgeek.com/meatpennotes.html

For "fancy" rabbits strictly for show this is my suggestion for new members or beginner:

Netherland Dwarf - Lots of competition, but because the dwarfs can compete for first place in dozens of colors and groups, there is a lot of chances to win a blue ribbon. Small rabbit, small cages, small feed bill.

Polish - Many of the same advantages, not as much competition.

The prices for ND and Polish rabbits are not terribly high. We've even found good rabbits in these breeds in the raffles. Our first showbunny was a Ruby Eyed White Netherland Dwarf we bought in a feed store. He often won first place as a REW Sr Buck.

Stick with solid color ND & Polish, not the broken pattern markings which can be a problem at times.

We had good luck with Dutch, but the marking requirements can be very frustrating for a beginner so avoid them the first year or two.

I would avoid Holland Lops. They are very popular, very cute but in show there is a limited number of colors to show in. At shows there are literally hundreds of rabbits competing for a small number of first place ribbons. Because of the popularity and the intense competition, the prices for Holland Lops is much higher than for other breeds.

It can be very frustrating for children to be told their rabbit won 10th place out of 27 rabbits.

I would also avoid Lionheads. While they are definitely a popular breed, as a showbunny they are not officially accepted in the ARBA Standard. So this means that from year to year, your rabbit may or may not be showable because of color or they may change the working standard and now your rabbit has too much wool on the flanks or not enough wool on the head. So beginners should avoid Lionheads. It also means that Best Of Breed Lionhead cannot compete for Best In Show in an ARBA show. That will not go over well when you have to tell the kid all the other kid's Best of Breed can go to the Best In Show table, but not theirs. *As of Feb 2014 Lionheads are an accepted ARBA breed for show! I would not consider them first choice for beginners but they are no longer on my avoid list.*

Himalayan - Another kid friendly breed is the Himalayan. Small and generally docile they are easy to handle. 4 different recognized colors give some flexibility for competition.


If you shop for rabbits at a rabbit show, before you buy, ask if you can take the rabbit around to get opinions on it. Sometimes you can catch a rabbit judge taking a break and ask if the rabbit has any disqualifications on it. Judges usually try to be helpful to beginners and will give you a good assessment.

Also, I don't expect people to sell me a rabbit guaranteed to win rabbit shows. I want one that will not be disqualified in show.

Rabbit should have a tattoo in the left ear and the tattoo should match the pedigree.

Get the pedigree at time of sale. Be sure the pedigree is SIGNED and has all the weights written in. There are hundreds of people who were told the pedigree would be mailed and it never was. No pedigree, no sale, walk away. If the seller really wanted to sell the rabbit, they should have brought the pedigree.

Having a pedigree is not required to show, but is required to register the rabbit with ARBA and to apply for Grand Champion for a winning rabbit. ARBA membership is also required to register a rabbit or apply for Grand Champion certificate.

Having a pedigree solves a lot of issues if you decide to breed the rabbit. Pedigree also makes it easier to sell or trade the rabbit if you decide to.

Above is my standard spiel on rabbits for beginners.

It's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Have a good day!

1 comment:

Marie said...
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