I am not sure if I have written about this issue but I suddenly felt the urge to write about it. It can be seen as an issue but some may not agree. As we all know, there are tons of rabbit breeders in this entire world. And most of the time we are caught up with “who is the best”. That is what rabbit shows or any other animal conformation shows do to most of us. If someone’s winning tons, that is definitely a sign of top crop/stock. But bear in mind that each breeder produces rabbits that are closest to the breed standard and also some go the extra mile to develop their own distinctive look – a trademark so to speak. If you think about it, if everyone interprets the SOP the same way, there wouldn’t be any variety. The SOP even call for varieties and especially in colors. Therefore, some breeders go for the extras e.g. bigger heads.
So as a new person coming into the hobby, how do you choose which breeder to obtain foundation stocks from?
There are generally 3 guidelines that we can follow:
1) Our preference
You may have a rough idea of what traits you like in a Holland Lop. If that is the case, search out for breeders breeding these particular traits and continue working on it. As much as you like to have a distinctive look in your rabbits, please do not overlook conformity to the SOP.
This is always a controversial. Honestly, I have been fooled previously into believing that lineage is everything. Boy was I wrong. Some breeders tend to mislead newbies by flaunting and bragging about the lineages filled with GCs. Many breeders have shared with me about their failures in out crossing even in stocks with generations of GCs. I have came to believe that lineages should not be taken as the sole determining factor in choosing a rabbit. On the other hand, I must stress that some lineages work well with others and have been proven to produce good stock. Let me share with you my personal opinion about how lineages can be used as a PLUS point. GOOD breeders normally cull very hard and only retain the best of the best. Ethically speaking, they will never ever pass on something that they do not want to keep for themselves to a fellow show breeder. You just have to sort these honest breeders out and I must say that the quality of their stocks are always consistent. In every venture that we embark, it is definite that we will encounter dishonest people that are only in the trade to get quick bucks. Honesty or not is basically a variable and factor that we cannot control. Therefore, do not be fooled when someone tells you that this rabbit is the offspring of a Grand Champion or it has got 14 Grand Champions in its lineage. It does not really justify as it is not guaranteed that a GC will 100% produce a GC. It only increases the chances through selective breeding. Also, don’t go hunting for a GC and expect that every kit that it produces will in turn be a GC. Most often than not, you will be disappointed.
Simply put, only trustworthy breeders can be trusted when they talk about lineages.
3) The rabbit itself
This is the best determining factor in my opinion. If you are familiar with the acronym WYSIWYG, then you will know what I am talking about. What you see right in front of you is what you will get when you try to reproduce. Therefore, breeders normally chooses traits in 2 rabbits to complement each other.
There you have it. Some tips in choosing the right breeders to work with and hopefully no one gets rip off at the end of the day.