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Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Discussion of specific breeds, breed standards and selection criteria for purebreds.
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Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Meo » Mon May 07, 2018 1:03 pm


Hey there! I recently joined RabbitTalk because I am looking to start raising show rabbits! I have owned two rabbits since I was eight or nine, as well as many other animals, so I am confident in handling rabbits, but completely new to raising them and showing them. I am currently trying to decide on a breed to raise so that I can plan for cages and space, as well as start looking for breeders in my area to connect with. :)

I have been doing quite a bit of research on several different breeds myself, but a lot of information out there is a bit conflicting. (Holland Lops are a very affectionate and active breed vs they are skittish and shy, etc.) I know that a lot of the personality depends on the individual animal, but I would really like a rabbit breed that is typically calm to start with. When I was at the National Tan Show this year, I met a woman from Texas who raised Polish and Mini Rex, as well as Tan. She told me she'd raised HL's in the past, but had bad experiences with them, but absolutely adored her Polish rabbits. Now, I didn't know a lot about Polish until I'd spoken with her, but now I'm quite curious about them! She introduced me to one of her buns "Beans" and I was absolutely enchanted by the sweet little guy! He was super excited when he saw us approaching his cage, hopping around like he wanted out, and sticking his nose through the mesh, but when his owner picked him up, he completely settled down and just sat in her arms.

This is the kind of rabbit I would really like to raise- one that is curious and out-going, but calm enough to hold still for cuddles!

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The breeds I have been really looking at include:

-Polish
-Mini Rex (Read that they are quite beginner-friendly rabbits and easy to handle, as well as very sweet. I also love the way their fur shows off color!)
-Holland Lop (I'm actually starting to reconsider, since I've heard of lots of bad experiences with them, though people who do raise them seem to be very fond of them!)
-Mini Lop (I understand that they are usually calmer and more laid-back than Hollands.)

I also thought about American Fuzzy Lops, but I haven't found as much information on them!

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I would love to hear about your experiences with these breeds, or hear recommendations for others! Website resources are also appreciated! I have quite a few that I've been using, (arba.net, raising-rabbits.com, thenaturetrail.com, as well as others) but I would like to build up an arsenal of information before getting started so I can really do things right!

Thank you very much for your time, and have a wonderful day! :love:

EDIT:

- I am also curious about Havana and Dutch rabbits! I know some about Dutch, which I have been considering in the back of my mind for some time- but I am completely new to Havanas. :) (Of course any and all information on any breed is very much welcome!)
Last edited by Meo on Mon May 07, 2018 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Mon May 07, 2018 1:50 pm


The calmest small breeds are Himalayans and Dutch.

Polish generally have a good reputation as being pretty friendly, and all the ones Ive handled at shows were nice enough, but I can't give too much personal experience there... the ones I had were evil. That's not normal with that breed, though. I'd definitely recommend polish to people wanting a small breed.

Mini Rex have a lot of variation in temperament, you get some friendly, some more shy ones. If you do get mini rex, make sure you get them from very good lines, some lines are more prone to getting sore hocks. They come in lots of colors. A similar breed, if you like way the fur shows off color, is Mini Satin although those tend to be far more aggressive.

Holland Lops have a lot of hormones and energy. When directed right, they can be very, very friendly (especially with males, who 'love' people) or they can be rather skittish (more common in females). They are harder to breed; not the best mothers, small litters and generally more problems with kindling (related to be a bulldog headed dwarf breed. You see lots of breeding problems in all the dwarf breeds: which include everything under 4 lbs, including mini rex, fuzzy lop, etc, except himalayans, dutch, and some lines of britannia petite & polish although the majority of lines that ive dealt with in those two breeds have dwarfism). I bred these, and honestly my least favorite about them was that they sprayed horribly. Even some of my does sprayed.

Mini lops are fun. They have a lot less energy than hollands, and are easier to breed (no dwarf gene to deal with, larger litters, etc). They weren't as cuddly as the nice hollands though. My mini lops still sprayed though, more than almost any non-lop I've had. Of the ones you listed, only mini lops are for sure not a dwarf breed.

American Fuzzy Lops are basically longhaired holland lops. There are some differences in their standard (they have coarser wool, a lower head set, bolder head, etc) but people sometimes do show longhaired holland lops as american fuzzy lops. Purebred american fuzzy lops tend to be from my experience, a bit more laid back than hollands.
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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Meo » Mon May 07, 2018 2:31 pm


Thank you so much for the information! I do really like Dutch rabbits, but I've heard that they are a real challenge for new-comers because their markings need to be absolutely perfect and judging is very strict! While I'm not opposed to the challenge, I have been a bit more weary of them because I was told they aren't as easy to get started with.

The fact that AFL's are more laid-back than Holland's surprises me! I know that French Angoras were added to introduce the wool, but I thought they were essentially bred to be long-haired versions of Hollands, so I didn't know that they had noticeable differences in body-type. There were quite a few Mini Satins at the Tan show I attended, but for some reason they didn't really strike my fancy... and if they are aggressive, I definitely want to stay away from them (at least for now!) I feel the same about the Himalayans, while I've heard lots of great things about them, I'm just not quite as interested, though I do think they are a very cool breed with the cylindrical body shape and handsome Himalayan markings! :)

This is all very helpful, thank you very, very much, SableSteel! :D


Does anyone with experience raising Dutch have any thoughts on starting with them?

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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SableSteel » Mon May 07, 2018 2:56 pm


Dutch are harder with their markings, you get plenty of kits that would be nice otherwise, but aren't showable due to their markings. Markings are more random than, say, body type, in breeding.
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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ozemba » Mon May 07, 2018 10:50 pm


I guess I'll throw in my two cents here...

I've had Hollands for three years now, and I've only had one mean doe out of 10, she was just a grump that was her nature. My two bucks are angels. They don't spray a lot that I've noticed, I do have them next to each other though and had to put up a solid divider they were tearing each other up through the wire. My does are on a gradient of "sweet" I've got two does that really don't seem to care for attention but they don"t mind being handled. I have two does that are curious and will come around to see what I'm doing but if I put my hand in the cage they don't like being handled and will struggle when being picked up. Then I've got my two sweeties, they are always at the front of the cage seeing what I'm up to and desperate for pets or treats, love being held and brushed. If I spent more time with them I think they'd all come around but I'm happy where I'm at with them.

Now onto breeding difficulties... It was a hard start on breeding. I had one doe in with a buck three times with multiple falloffs with nothing to show, while another doe gets pregnant just looking at the buck. Once you get a litter out of them though they tend to keep producing. So once I had my "Christmas" litters I was set for pregnancies all through the first of the year. I just had my last kindles yesterday before the heat gets here. 4 bred does, 3 pregnant, 2 litters, 7 babies total. My small doe I was trying one more time, she had stuck kits last litter with none surviving, I bred her to a smaller buck hoping but again, she lost the whole litter with stretched kits and had so much trouble having them, about one kit every 6 hours, for a total of 4. She's getting all sorts of treats now to help recuperate, and she'll be petted out with a strict no-breed rule. One of the does that succesfully kindled, this was her first litter she's almost 5 months old now, had just a single healthy kit, which I'm happy with. The other doe, this is her 4th litter, had 6 healthy kits. I've only had one doe that was a terrible mother. She was petted out, she was a nice doe just not great with her kids.

I love them and their chunky little heads, BUT I've discovered I'm actually big rabbit person as I've just gotten two French Angora... I mean I'm a big dog person so I guess it makes sense. Also and idea, go to flea markets/swap meets/check your local facebook pet pages and see what the pet market is flooded with. If you are planning on selling culls as pets you want to be sure there will be a market for them. If everyone has Mini Rex and Dutch then maybe you don't want to get into that and have problems selling your breeding culls and non-show stock.

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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Meo » Mon May 07, 2018 11:16 pm


Thank you, @ozemba! I really appreciate your input. I’m starting to think I’ll be staying away from Hollands (at least until I have more experience with breeding rabbits). As cute as they are, everyone I’ve spoken to tells me about issues when breeding them.

(I’m a big dog person too, but I happen to like the smaller rabbit breeds! Funny how that is!)

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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ozemba » Mon May 07, 2018 11:24 pm


Meo wrote:Thank you, @ozemba! I really appreciate your input. I’m starting to think I’ll be staying away from Hollands (at least until I have more experience with breeding rabbits). As cute as they are, everyone I’ve spoken to tells me about issues when breeding them.

(I’m a big dog person too, but I happen to like the smaller rabbit breeds! Funny how that is!)


See, no one told me about issues with breeding. I found out after empty nestbox after empty nestbox when I started and it was really disheartening. :(

But now we're good. Ish.

The nice thing about small rabbits.... You can have more of them! ;)

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Re: Choosing A Breed To Raise & Show! Looking For Advice.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Meo » Tue May 08, 2018 10:06 am


True that, haha! Thanks again! :D

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