Q&A: Episode 4

This is the first part of an ongoing series allowing readers to ask questions about the rabbit hobby. There are no rules or guidelines. Have a question? Ask away! Post your question as a comment on our blog or email oakridgerabbits@gmail.com.

Readers are encouraged to share their own ideas or opinions in the comments below.

What do you think about using BUD/BUB (false dwarf) rabbits in dwarf breeds? I have heard of people refusing to use them or not putting them on websites/posting pics of them. I don’t hear a whole lot about it though, so I’m wondering what your thoughts are.

Ah, the age-old question. For those who aren’t familiar with the terms, BUD or BUB is an acronym to describe “big ugly does” or “big ugly bucks.”

Of course, all rabbits are cute. What we’re referring to are dwarf breed rabbits that do not receive a dwarfing gene. In other words, false dwarfs. These rabbits typically have longer features (longer ears, longer faces) and grow larger than their dwarfed counterparts. In essence, they just lack the exaggerated characteristics of a show animal.

The long and short of it is that yes, I believe false dwarf rabbits can be valuable to dwarf breeding programs. But as usual, there is a catch.

If you plan to use false dwarfs within your breeding program, you should seek the same balance and type you would in true dwarf rabbits. Yes, their features may be larger and longer than a true dwarf, but they should still appear balanced and typey.

A mistake that many new breeders make is appointing every non-show rabbit as an acceptable brood rabbit. Just because it’s a huge rabbit that won’t excel on the show table doesn’t mean it has a place in the breeding herd either.

As an example, the Holland Lop breed standard calls for a wide shoulder and hindquarter. This doesn’t change based on the rabbit you’re evaluating. All Holland Lops should have these features. If a litter produces a large, false dwarf kit with a narrow shoulder and pinched/undercut hindquarter, the kit should be removed from the breeding herd. It doesn’t suddenly become an acceptable breeding rabbit just because it’s large and non-dwarf.

When you’re looking at something like ear length, false dwarfs will certainly have longer ears than true dwarfs. However, you should seek the same overall balance. A 4″ ear will look different on a small rabbit as compared to a large rabbit. In either case, ideal ear length as I’ve heard it described is that the ears fall less than one inch below the jaw line. A rabbit with ears hanging down to its ankles should be culled, regardless of whether it’s a small show rabbit or a “big ugly.”

If you’re careful to select rabbits with desired characteristics, despite their size, you will find that false dwarf rabbits can become valuable members of your brood herd. On the doe side, they often carry larger litters and have less difficulty kindling. On the buck side, they can add mass and size that smaller show rabbits may lack.

As far as posting photos of them on the website – everyone’s opinion will be a little bit different. In my small herd, I enjoy featuring all my rabbits on my website. In larger herds, it may not be “worth it” to fuss with photos if you are already trying to fit 20 show rabbits on the page.

In any case, make sure the photos used flatter the rabbit. It’s not worth posting a photo just to have a photo. All rabbit, even “big ugly” brood rabbits, can be set up to show off their best features. Be careful to advertise the best of your rabbitry, even if you include your less-than-show-animals. After all, their job in the barn is pretty darn important too.

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