Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Everyone has a different reason for bringing a rabbit or rabbits (who can have just one?) into their life. There are 49 recognized breeds in the ABRA (American Rabbit Breeders Association). Lionheads became officially recognized February 1, 2014 by ARBA as the 48th breed in the Tortoise variety ( all 4 colors) and REW according to the NALRC (North American Lionhead Rabbit Club). Since then breeders who have great passion for this breed continue to work hard to improve on type and structure in other varieties.
Rabbits can be raised for meat, fur and companions. It is hard for me, especially as a vegetarian, to think about consuming a rabbit but for some it is even a delicacy. Angora wool has made a fashion statement for decades.
Breeding rabbits is about improving a breed because you have a deep passion to make the breed stronger for its future. Working to improve traits and qualities as described by the SOP (Standard Of Perfection) set by ARBA. This is when exhibiting your rabbits comes into play. People breed and then take that progeny to shows to be judged. They learn what they are doing right as well as where they need to improve. It also gives people who share this passion a chance to fellowship together and extend their own learning. You will mostly hear terms of quality put into 3 categories. Show, brood & pet. Let's look a bit deeper.
SHOW usually means this rabbit is of good type and has no disqualifying traits. However, it does not mean the rabbit is competitive or "will win". Even a great rabbit has a window of winning due to conditioning of body and coat. You know a rabbit is "SHOW" quality after you have taken it to be judged. Show usually also has an accompanying pedigree of at least 3 generations.
BROOD usually means a rabbit that may have a slight fault that would keep them from ever obtaining a championship but has other traits you are looking to improve in your breeding program. This usually also has an accompanying pedigree of at least 3 generations.
PET usually means that the breeder cannot utilize the rabbit for either show or brood so they look for a nice home to place their beloved progeny to live out its life with care and love. It can be many reasons. Too small, too big, not enough or too much of certain traits they are trying to improve such as ears are too wide or too big or carry too much fur which is a disqualifying trait in lionheads. It is usually very little details that will push a breeder to offer their progeny as a pet. It doesn't mean that they are any less quality other than the small details that are set forth in the SOP. A pet rabbit doesn't need a pedigree.
Pedigrees are used as information and direction in breeding. They are also required to register your rabbit as a purebred through ARBA and the chance to obtain championships.
Prices will reflect these categories. Breeders are not making money on these animals. It costs a pretty penny to care, travel, and show. Much time is spent on feeding, grooming and rearing a well socialized rabbit. As much as one can socialize. They have a mind of their own an you have to earn their respect in your own right.
There are some really great breeders out there who without their hard work and effort we would not have these beautiful breeds to love and cherish. Then there are some people who don't look after their buns or control their population and dump unwanted animals. They don't spend the time to study the breed for even care about what the breed should be. Thank goodness there are organizations who spend their hard earned time, money and energy to find homes for these animals as it is through no fault of their own they are "homeless".
No matter what category you are looking for be honest with your breeder so they can help you find the perfect bun! Respect what others are trying to accomplish and care for to the best of your ability any bun you bring home. If you come upon a situation that you can no longer care for your bun please make sure to contact your breeder. Most will help you re-home or take back a bun in extenuating circumstances.
Learn more about Lionheads at North American Lionhead Rabbit Club
Aspenleaf Love Potion is a sable point doe bred by Suzanne Hansen of Aspenleaf Rabbitry in Colorado. Potion won her Junior class at convention. Suzanne has passionately bred Lionheads for over 10 years. Has multiple herdsman of the year honors and count at this writing of 126 Grand Champions! She currently is a COD holder for the development of the BEW (blue eyed white) variety. We have great admiration and respect for Suzanne who had done so much for this lovely breed. Thank you for trusting us with Potion.