This last August at Fiber fest, a woman ran up to me to tell me her exciting news. She had just purchased a purebred black German angora bunny. She was so happy! I was not.
“What exactly do you mean - a purebred Black German?” I asked. Her smile started to fade a bit. I inquired further and we came to the conclusion that she had indeed made an excellent purchase for her purposes but that she misunderstood what the breeder had told her. The reputable breeder had made it clear during the purchase that the bunny was a German cross or German hybrid. The animal, by the way, was lovely with deep jet color and promising density. I believe that it was a good choice for a wooler. If it was simply a wooler, who cares if it is called a black German or a German hybrid? I care for a number of reasons.
First of all, the term was inaccurate. Secondly, the buyer skipped over the mistake and believed that she had it right. She announced the breeding as she understood it. The mistake was solidifying into fact. Lastly the entire issue of “breeds” of angora presents an annoying conundrum.
Are English, French, and German separate and distinct breeds? Or are they varieties of the breed angora? And what of the Giant and the Satin? Since none of these types of angoras fell from the heavens to
How are angoras regarded in
COMPARATIVE HISTORY Nearly sixty years ago, angora breeders on the Zentralverband Deutches Kanichenzuchters (Z.D.K.), in partnership with the Federal Agriculture Research Center, embarked on a program to improved the wool production of their angoras. The philosophy was straightforward. Goals for wool production and body type were set. As the goals were achieved, more demanding goals were set.
They started with foundation stock similar to what we know as English angoras. Wool production increased steadily from a starting point of 240 grams (half pound) to a world record set in 1990 of 2,232 grams (over five pounds). Tracking the progress of the program required the elimination of as many management variables as possible. The first testing stations were established in 1934 to provide controlled conditions for the evaluation of the angora breeding stock, data collection and research to improve husbandry techniques. In plotting their strategy for the improvement of the angora, breeders in Germany needed to clearly define body type, wool production and wool qualities in language as objective as possible.
The standard for the angora in
The ideal body is described as being as wide at the shoulders as it is deep. The length of the body should equal three times the width. The shape of the body is tubular, resembling a loaf of bread. This body type is preferred for rapid shearing of first grade wool. Body weights run from seven to eleven and a half pounds (2.5 to 5 kilos) with an average of nine to ten pounds of very solid dual purpose rabbit. The wool must densely cover the entire rabbit and be silky, not cottony. German wool is heavily crimped. The ideal texture and length of the wool should be as even as possible over the entire body of the rabbit. Development of the angora in
What could one expect from a Giant angora?
Let’s look at the developmental history. At the 1985 American Rabbit Breeders Association’s National Convention, Louise Walsh presented her
In an article titled “Giant
Is a German angora the same as a Giant angora? I agree heartily with Louise. They are not. Considering the histories and the genetic backgrounds, I am comfortable with the statement that they are separate breeds.
While the Giant angora was being submitted for acceptance with the A.R.B.A., other breeders were committed to the preservation of the high production angora as it was developed in
YOUR CHOICE Make an informed decision when faced with the choice between the German angora variety or the breed Giant angora. The integrity of the breeder is the first consideration. What is the genetic history and foundation of the stock in question? What level of wool production can you expect from them in exchange for your initial and daily investments? Can you expect them to breed true? How do the prices and values compare between Germans, German-Hybrids and Giants?
These questions can be answered favorably by both German and Giant angora breeders provided full disclosure is made and the rabbits are suitable for your intended purpose. As with any breed, a rabbit intended for show must fit the standard. When Germans fit the Giant standard, they are often shown as Giants. German angoras usually fare well in competition against true Giant Angoras. A Giant, qualifying as a German-Hybrid, is welcomed to compete against the German standard. -article by L Samson
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