Determining breed by DNA test?

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Nov 12, 2013
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This may seem silly, but I was wondering is there any way to determine if a rabbit is purebred through blood tests? I did some research and I understand most come with pedigree papers, but the bunnies we have now were taken from a family moving across the country and did not want to take them with them. We were told they bought the rabbits from somewhere special (no idea where), but they came with no food and were in cramped I have no idea if they ever had paperwork and the people lost it or what.

We have two lionhead adults and one baby. The other rabbits though? I am almost positive one is a Red Rex and another Himalayan rabbit. This leaves 4 other adults unknown and 3 babies unknown.

We did not ever intend on getting into breeding or caring for rabbits but these buggers have wormed their way into my heart especially the daddy lionhead; however there are TOO many. They are all separated now but they weren't at the time we got them so we have possibly 2 other females due to have babies. (One had babies recently and another on the same day but hers died - guessing first time mommy since she did not pull fur until after the babies died and were taken out of the cage - still leaves 2 other females unknown for certain).

I would like to determine if there is any way to prove (or disprove) if any of these are purebreds? I'd like to start raising the lionheads and possibly start breeding them if I have any interest from people who can take care of them, but I'd like to know for sure what we have and what we would be selling/giving away.
I'd ask your local vet. Or the nearest rabbit savvy vet if they know if they can do blood tests. I know in my area it's 80 to get a dog DNA tested.

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Oh good to know it is possible! I will call the vets around here to see if any can.

One more question: If any of them do show to be purebred can they still get registered as purebred with just the bloodwork results and thus starting the lineage for a pedigree?
That I'm not to sure about, and also if they do do that for rabbits the blood test will come back giving you the exact percentage of which breeds are in the rabbit. It is possible for a pure bred to come back with another breed in it but has to be a certain percentage (low percentage) to be considered purebred. At least that's how it was for my friends dog. Since there is mix breeding far down the line to make certain breeds.

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Thank you for another speedy response :) I will do some research today about registering and make some phone calls - will post here if I find anything useful so others will know as well!
There are DNA tests that can be done for dogs, but it isn't always accurate. It takes a lot of time to get a data base of breeds before they can test unknown subjects with any hope of accuracy.

With rabbits, there is no point to getting them registered if you do not breed or show the rabbit. Registration is based off the pedigree and individual rabbit. If a rabbit has the right pedigree info, but has a DQ, it can't be registered. If the rabbit is a perfect example of the breed but the pedigree is not complete, they can't be registered either.
Even dogs cannot be registered with a legitimate kennel club without the proper paperwork. DNA testing is just not accurate enough and provides no lineage for the dog.

If you really want to get into breeding, you should get rabbits from reputable breeders and get the right paperwork for them. There is little point to breeding unknown rabbits. There are plenty of pet rabbits needing homes and adding to that is not a great idea. It is better to start with good breeding rabbits than try to work your way up and have to decide what to do with all the ones that should not be bred. You can't help what you have right now, but if you did want to be serious about breeding, best start with purebred rabbits and a good foundation.
I totally agree with Korrandsophie and as far as I am aware there is no DNA test for rabbits. I do remember someone a long time ago was asking for hair samples from different breeds with different lines to put a database together but I never heard anything else about it.

I did also want to say that in order to be registered the requirement is a three generation pedigree of the same breed.
IMHO, everyone who thinks about breeding should read the euthanasia sticky here (do not read if you're not ready for what's in it) I mean, what if the unthinkable happens and you have a little rabbit born with its insides on the outside or something?

I kind of thought about breeding, but what I really would like is like... a breeding video game. Where I get to put two rabbits together and see what comes out, and it's all fun and no work. What I don't want, and I'm not ready for, is the reality of breeding--taking care of baby rabbits, losing baby rabbits, possibly even losing the mommy rabbit. You have to be REALLY READY for breeding. Not to make it sound all doom and gloom--it's clearly very rewarding, too.

Like the above posters say, do make sure that you are positive you really, really want to get in it. Put a lot of thought into it. There really are a lot of pet rabbits in shelters right now, so if you want to breed, you want to make sure you have specific goals in mind or you might not sleep well at night. Just trying to help.
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Sorry for the delayed response, been busy!

@Korr_and_Sophie Yup! After researching a bit since my previous post I learned more about pedigrees, purebred, and registering etc. Came to the same conclusion as you so thank you <3

@woahlookitsme Yes, a third generation one is required. So none of mine would be possible even if I desired it (at this stage).

@zombiesue *nods* I read through the link you posted, and unfortunately...I already have experience with this in my household since my father has raised various other animals and my entire childhood has had them coming through our lives. Just last summer we had almost an entire littler of piglets we lost - we were able to save one (a premie baby at that!) by bottle feeding etc. I've seen the pros and cons to raising animals so I just stay bright especially when the new, healthy babies make it into the world. :) We live out in the country (well, more country than many areas) and we actually do NOT have any bunnies in shelters (at least not within a 100 mile radius) so at that point I don't know if it's a good thing or not (since it may mean people are just releasing the pets into the wild and thus killing them). I've personally never seen a bunny get let go by someone trying to get rid of them (that is actually how we ended up in ours to begin with, so they could have a decent home in between then and their forever home) but I don't have eyes everywhere.

You have all been wonderful - thank you for all the feedback!

In the end, I am definitely keeping two of our current bunnies but we will be finding homes for the rest. I want to begin breeding purebreds but I wish to research more into them before I make a serious commitment, my goal is to have it all sorted out by summer about how I want to do it - which breed(s), if I just want to sell them to people (in which case I'd seek buyers before the officially breeding), or show them/breed for specific qualities to show etc.
To my knowledge there is no commercially available test that can relate DNA characteristics to breed in rabbits. I know some people who have used the canine tests, but those are not necessarily accurate as their databases have a limited number of breeds and a limited number of comparison individuals to represent those breeds.

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