Tag Archives: Purebred

An Article Worth Reading

Ellen Whyte is no stranger to pet lovers here in Malaysia especially among the cat lovers. A cat lover herself, she first gained a huge readership writing the book Katz Tales and she writes for The Star newspaper’s Katz Tales/Dog Talk section published on most Saturdays. I met Ellen the first time back in 2010 when she was writing on Pet Ethics. She is a strong supporter of pet/animal welfare and most of the time, you will see an adoption section as part of the Dog Talk articles.

Today, she wrote a very compelling article entitled “Defects in purebred dogs“. This article is not only relevant to dog lovers but for all animal lovers alike because it affects whatever animal that is tagged as “pedigree”.

Like the experience shared by Ellen in her article, I too received numerous inquiries about the Holland Lop breed and at times, am lost for words. We cannot deny how cute these rabbits are but each do come with certain genetic related fault. As I said, the article is very relevant to any species “governed” by any sort of “breed standards” which simply put is a set of specification of man made or human interpreted desired of a certain animal. The article can be replicated 100% except changing the subject of dogs to any other animal species.

Do not get me wrong because I also believe that like every living thing under the sun, thoughtful planning and careful handling of any subject can help eliminate/lower the risk of bad traits manifesting when animals are bred. There are reputable and ethical breeders out there, just rare. It is a very difficult balance to strike between passion and profit. I do not normally recommend breeders because I just do not have as much confident or faith in the genetic composition of the animals sold. It is heart breaking to learn after a few months or years, that the animal purchased has developed some sort of hereditary sickness. It does no good to both owner and the pet. The outcome can often end with either a broken heart or an abandoned animal.

I have often encouraged people especially starters to adopt hybrids because these are the animals that have gone through generations of “natural selection” and possess hybrid vigour – in short, stronger.

No doubt, pedigree rabbits make good pets and not everyone who have pets breed them (and some are even against breeding). For those who are aspired to be breeders, all I can say is that, know your animals well and well enough to be sure they will produce defect free offspring. You must always prepare and know the right thing to do when defect surfaces and in other words, be responsible not only as a pet owner but one who passes on animals to others.

Again, I invite you to read Ellen’s article here and to understand the extensive damage that can occur if animals are bred too fanatically “close” to “breed standards”:

A short snippet from the BBC’s Pedigree Dog Exposed Documentary:

And here is the full documentary:

The documentary also mentions “dwarf” breeds and we too have those in the rabbit world. The dwarf gene makes a rabbit cute and chubby.

The take away point in this video is one of the last quotes:

“There are those in the dog world who care passionately about health, who try to do the right thing. The problem is that they are trapped in a system that often rewards doing the wrong thing”

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Showing Holland Lops

Out of interest, I have always follow Holland Lop shows in the US. I find it very interesting to know. Although I am not yet an expert in this field of showing rabbits (no practical experiences as yet), I will try to discuss what I know to the best of my knowledge.

The order of judging is Solid before Broken, Senior before Junior and Buck before Doe.

The show for Holland Lops starts off with 8 groups as listed below (in judging order):

1 ) Solid Senior Buck (SSB)

2 ) Solid Junior Buck (SJB)

3 ) Solid Senior Doe (SSD)

4 ) Solid Junior Doe (SJD)

5 ) Broken Senior Buck (BSB – not Backstreet Boys okie!?)

6 ) Broken Junior Buck (BJB)

7 ) Broken Senior Doe (BSD)

8 ) Broken Junior Doe (BJD)

In each group after they are judged, the best from each group will be called Group Winners.

The 8 (4 solids & 4 brokens) Group Winners then compete to get Best Of Group/Variety (if I am not wrong) and Best Opposite Sex of Group. There will only be 2 Best of Group rabbits one coming from Solid and Broken. And 2 Best Opposite Sex of Group rabbits again one coming from Solid and Broken. Only the 2 Best of Group &  2 Best Opposite Sex of Group will go on to compete for Best of Breed (BOB) & Best Opposite Sex (BOS).

For example, if out of the Class Winners, a Solid Senior Buck won Best of Group in Solids and a Broken Senior Buck won Best of Group in Broken, any one of them winning BOB would mean that their opposite sex rabbits will be chosen for BOS.

Rabbit shows normally have many breeds and all the BEST OF BREEDS will come together to compete for BEST IN SHOW (BIS) and also BEST RESERVE IN SHOW (BRIS).

Then how do your rabbit get Grand Champion?

It take 3 GC legs from 3 shows under at least 2 different judges to grand your rabbit. GC legs can be awarded starting to Class Winners. So it is not surprising if a rabbit can earn a few legs in a show. Rabbits with junior legs must have at least 1 senior leg to grand.

But there is a clause to awarding the GC legs. The requirements are that there should be at least 5 rabbits competing and at least 3 breeders represented. For example, 5 rabbits should be competing in the Solid Senior Buck category and they should be owned by at least 3 breeders. So the winner of this category will be able to earn a GC leg.

Important procedures before showing a rabbit:

The main reason that one shows his/her rabbits is to obtain a Grand Champions status. In order to grand a rabbit, the breeder will want to get it registered. The Registrar is the person that helps breeders in registering their rabbits. A registrar must register your rabbit by tattoing its right ear. These registrars are registered under ARBA and they will go through your rabbits physically to ensure that they do not have any disqualification. The rabbits that you desire to get registered must have a complete pedigree stating 3 GENERATIONS of rabbits (yes, all the way up to Great Grandparents).

So now you see why a PEDIGREE document is so important when you desire to get your rabbit on the show table. Not just a birth certificate but something that will show you reliable information of the lineage. It is to ensure you show a purebred rabbit instead of hybrids and mixed breeds.

Why 3 generations of rabbits in the PEDIGREE you might ask. A purebred rabbit is one with 3 generations of purebred ancestry. Meaning to say, all the way up to the great grandparents must be at least Holland Lops. Why wouldn’t they be Holland Lops? That is because, Holland Lops are still being developed and they may cross breed with another breed to enhance the color or fur texture. For more information on this topic, please refer to an old post I posted previously called F1, F2, F3, F4, Hybrid & Purebred?

Another interesting thing is that, the rabbit that you desire to show DO NOT need to be offspring of a show rabbit or even a registered rabbit (but they must be pedigreed). Whether showing rabbits or dogs, the sense of integrity and principles of a person is always put to the test. Show breeders that cares a great deal of their reputations will uphold good sense of showmanship.

What I have witness and have the honor to know about the local dog showing world is that, there are bound to be some breeders that do not take to not winning that well. They just cannot lose and therefore, may “tweak” the pedigrees just to get through the procedures. Unethical dog breeders in order to get their dogs registered has also resorted to using a dead dog’s pedigree to get pedigrees for some mixed breed puppies. I know of many dogs without pedigrees having pedigreed puppies.

So the best thing to do is not to take winning or losing that seriously. Just have FUN and in the midst of that, have a great FELLOWSHIP and make many great FRIENDSHIPS!

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F1, F2, F3, F4, Hybrid & Purebred?

When a breeder wants to create a new breed by out crossing 2 different breeds, they normally start with the term Hybrid. Just like a Lion crossed with a Tiger would give you a Liger hybrid. For example, if we cross a Holland Lop to a Netherland Dwarf, that will produce a HYBRID.

F1 denotes breeding a purebred to another breed. The F1 specimen must have basic manifestation of the intended breed.

F2 denotes breeding a F1 to a purebred or another hybrid that is F1 or F2.

F3 denotes breeding a F2 to a purebred or another hybrid that is F2 or F3.

F4 is also known as purebred that may be offspring from breeding an F3 to a purebred or another F3. This will produce 4 generations of the intended breed on the pedigree.

Purebred is a term given to rabbits that conform to the basic requirements/standards laid down for a particular breed and with 4 generations of the breed occurrences on the pedigree.

Anyone want to try producing “teacup” Holland Lops by breeding to Netherland Dwarfs? Let’s try out an example to see if my explanation is accurate. Let’s say I have a Holland Lop I call HL1 and a Netherland Dwarf I call ND1.

1) HL1 + ND1 = F1 (Hybrid)

2) F1 + HL1 = F2

3) F2 + HL1 or F2 + F2(from another litter) = F3

4) F3 + Hl1 or F3 + F3(from another litter) = F4

I think I got it right there. What say you?

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