Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Rare Breed List

The Rare Breed Rabbit List

It would be awesome to have REAL NUMBERS if you mean actual census/population counts. But those population counts do not exist.

I've conducted surveys for different breeds and found that:
You can never reach everyone since some people do not want to be reached or cannot be reached. I know that some breeders with the largest herds in the country have refused to participate in the surveys. So the reported number is always going to be missing some rabbits.

Definition of the breeds can vary by percentages of hybrids. For practical purposes, there are no 100% purebred rabbits since there was always an outcross somewhere. With the surveys we generally asked people to define the rabbit. 75% or more was counted as one of that breed. If 50% then it was up to the reporting person to decide which one it was going to be.

So if we do not have accurate census data what can we use for study?

Fortunately the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) has on record the counts of rabbits registered in USA every year. They also have on record the numbers of rabbits shown at ARBA Convention each year. So we can use those numbers for comparison.

Since we are monitoring the number of rabbits in each breed, the registration numbers are a solid number. These are rabbits that are examined by a registrar and recognized as representative of the breed according to the Standard Of Perfection (SOP) as published by ARBA. The pedigree must show 3 generations of same breed so rabbit is at least 93% purebred. A rabbit can only be registered once in its life so there is no double counting. The numbers come from all over the country and so regional population variance is minimized. These are firm numbers. We can say there was X number of rabbits registered during the year. We can compare the number of each breed registered. More registrations is more activity. We can rank the ones with most activity and least activity. I use a 5 year average to moderate fat and lean years. We can give it a score of 1 for least active, 2 for second least active, etc.

The other firm number is the number of entries at the National Rabbit Show held during the ARBA Convention. There is an incentive for breeders to take their rabbits to the National Show. First of all there is bragging rights for placing well at the shows. Some of the National Breed Clubs have sweepstakes contests for their members to collect points for placing well at shows during the year. Some of those clubs offer double points at Convention to encourage members to enter rabbits there. There is also a requirement that each breed and variety (color) must have 25 entries (Open/Youth combined) during a 5 year period to remain in the Standard Of Perfection. If this number is not met, the breed/variety is dropped and is no longer a recognized breed or variety. So there is strong incentive to take rabbits to the Convention. The Convention changes location each year so regional variances will influence the count. Technically a rabbit can appear more than once at the National Show and a cross breed (less than 93%) can be entered at Convention. A rabbit does not need to be registered to be entered. So many more rabbits are eligible to appear at the show. By taking the 5 year average of entries we can quickly see which breeds are most active, which breeds are least active and we can give it a score of 1 for least active, 2 for second least active, etc.

So by taking the Registration score and Convention entry score and averaging those two scores I create a new list that will indicate the amount of activity for each breed. Less activity means less rabbits. Less rabbits means rare rabbits.

I hope that clarifies the process of the Rare Breed List.

I have found that the population surveys can vary wildly, but since they are not done every year or in the same manner it is very difficult to include them as firm data.

Have a good day!

No comments: