Daily Archives: May 26, 2008

Rabbit genetics

There is so much one can debate on genetics and with rabbits, you always hear breeders using the term line breeding & out crossing. I do not want to touch on the topics of inbreeding because I am totally against that although it is possible to do so and there are breeders using this technique as well. Inbreeding is when 2 siblings of the same litter are bred. This is what I do not do in my rabbitry.

Please allow me briefly explain the meaning of the terms here. Line breeding is the widely used technique by many breeders. They normally breed rabbits through mating father to daughter, son to mother or more distant relationship along the same LINEAGE i.e. nephew to aunts & etc. Why do this? Because to maintain a particular traits/characteristic of the rabbit, breeders need to get those exact genes into the offspring.

Out crossing is when 2 totally unrelated rabbits from totally unrelated lines are bred. Many breeders start off their own lines by out crossing more of the time. Until they get the desired traits laid down by certain standards by certain establishment, they start to use line breeding instead.

What seemed to be gross to many, it is so different with rabbits. Breeders normally keep their gene pool small in order to maintain the quality of their rabbits. But this is normally done when the desired traits start to manifest in the outcome of out crossing.

Therefore, if you see the ancestral lineage through the pedigrees, you might notice that there are many unrelated rabbits being bred to get the current generation. So far, what I notice with many breeders is that all their rabbits have different physical characteristics. But as long as all these rabbits adhere to the breed standards, they are show able. Some may have broader shoulders compared to others but those with narrower shoulders still able to be granded as well. Therefore, as long as the rabbit adhere to the minimum required standard, they are able to go onto the tables to be judged.

But their overall disposition may differ from line to line. That is how rabbitries establish their trademark. If that is not the situation, then we will have very generic rabbits that all look alike. There will not be varieties at all.

Just like how the many types of human behaviors define the many varieties in this world, rabbits are set apart through their characteristics, be it color or structure.

So it does not matter whether the gene pool is small or big, as long as the desired traits manifest in your rabbitry, you are heading the right way.

And who defines the desired traits? You and me. We have our own preferences on how our rabbits look. Once they adhere to the breed standard, we can work on the other “cosmetics”.

In the end, who establishes the standards? It is mere human.

And who sets the real & physical standards?

God. Not all rabbits are born alike. Therefore, never let your weak human standard judge your rabbits. They are all made by God and are gifts to you.

Nuff said…

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