Sunday, January 29, 2012
An Evaluation of English Angora Body Type Summary
The previous posts on evaluation of English Angora body type are a summary, and there are of course many other elements to consider. However, if you stick to these simple concepts, you will probably have fabulous type that will help you get ahead of the competition. Keep in mind with your breeding, however, that no rabbit is perfect, You will in all likelihood be working with English Angoras that may not live up to the standards in the previous posts. This is okay, nobody has perfect rabbits, and since if someone has perfect rabbits, they are not going to part with them, your herd will most likely not start out perfect. So, where do you start? Use the following list to help you.
Faults that are Unacceptable. Even when you are starting your breeding program, there are some faults that should be avoided at all costs. In other words, any of the following weaknesses should be eliminated from your herd right from the start. If all of the rabbits that you have exhibit the following faults, get new stock or you will never get ahead. These are all faults which will guarantee a poor finish on the show table and that are very hard to eliminate once bred into your line. They will haunt you for generations and may never be completely eliminated once predominant in your line. These are:
1) Weak shoulder. The shoulder should fill up your hand when you grab it.
2) Lacking depth in the hip, or hips that stick up past the spine for a “hippiness” feeling. You should be able to run your hand smooth across the body and they should not catch hips that are pointing out away from the body. The hips should clearly be lower than the spine and be flat against the body.
3) Weak in the lower hindquarter. A rabbit must be full in the hindquarter - when feeling the type, your hand should not go in when you reach the base of the table.
4) Cowhocks. Hind feet should preferably be parallel to the body, or point out only slightly. Do not breed any rabbit whose toes point out from the body in a v shape with the heels close together.
Qualities that are “Nice to Have”. The following are items that are ideal are something to work towards in your breeding program. When you start out, you may have to give in on some of these qualities, but they should always be the goal. In fact, if you want to improve your line, look for rabbits to purchase that have these items. Then, as your herd improves, these are qualities that should move from the “nice to have” category to the “must have” category. Once they are considered “must haves” you will be on your way to an impressive herd. These qualities are:
A) Definite feeling of roundness along the topline, like you are running your hands over a basketball.
B) High depth of shoulder (this is a preference, some may accept shoulders with less depth than I do). Shoulder should have a lot of depth, or have nice height, and should not be much lower than the highest point of the rabbit.
C) Straight hind feet that are parallel to the body or only slightly point out as long as they are accompanied by a very full hindquarter.
If you can, make sure that one side of the breeding pair has the attributes of the “Nice to Have” category, otherwise you will never reach the point where they can be considered “Must Haves.” For instance if my rabbit was only slightly round, I would only breed it to a rabbit that was super round. I try to always pair up something that is weak with something that is superior, and then keep no babies out of the cross that exhibit the weakness. Eventually, the good genes should overwhelm the bad. Remember, it only takes a generation to ruin type, but several generations to improve. Therefore, all breeding pairs must be chosen carefully to ensure that you are improving your line. Each generation should be better than the last, and if it is not, then you must reevaluate your program to get it moving in the right direction.