Is There a Point to Breeding if You Don't Plan on Showing?

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plasticbunny

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It seems to be the general concensis that breeding to improve the standard is the best (and to a lot of people, the only) way to go.

But, does this mean that it is best to breed towards winning rabbit shows, or is it possible to breed to improve the standard of a breed, without showing the rabbit?
 

majorv

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To me, they pretty much go hand in hand. Breeding to improve helps when you have outside objective evaluations from others. That would include other breeders of that breed, but also judges who are familiar with the standard, and thatmeans going to shows. With time and experience you get to know your stock and how good they are, but I know many of thewell known breedersstill attend shows and convention. You can't really continue to improve if you work in a vacuum.
 

naturestee

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You can breed to improve the breed without showing, but going to shows is a great way to get feedback on the quality of your rabbits. Some people who do rare breeds also breed to conserve the breed.

I also know people around my area who do not take their rabbits to shows, but primarily breed to provide show-quality rabbits to 4H kids.
 

hillrise

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Those of us who live hours away from show areas don't show very much at all, but we can still work to improve the breed. We have to import stock from far away, but once we have it, we can use it for improvement. There are also breeders who are working to improve things other than conformation. For instance, they might be breeding to increase litter size, growth rate, or even general health or temperament.

Shows DO help for getting evaluations, which is why if you're looking for show quality stock, parents that are registered and/or have several legs are good indicators (although not guarantees) of quality. For things like litter size and growth rate, though, all you need to be able to see are well-kept records.
 

Korr_and_Sophie

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It does somewhat depend on why you are breeding. For example, with the angora breeds you may be wanting more wool density or something to help get better wool for spinning. This is something that might not relate to showing as much but is still improving the breed as that is what they are used for.
On the other hand, most breeds don't have the same purpose as an angora, so they are mostly kept and used to show or as pets. In this case, it is better to breed to the standard as much as possible. While you can do this without showing, going to a show and getting the opinion of some judges can be helpful to know if you are on the right track. I also think it ads some credibility to your program, it is hard to sell show quality rabbits if you don't show yourself.
I do know that some breeders will not show some rabbits that they will breed. They consider these rabbits to be worth too much to risk exposing them to a show and what could be brought home. While these rabbits would still be excellent examples of the breed, they are not show. There would be other rabbits in the same lines that are shown.

While you don't have to go to a ton of shows, even going to one or two a year can be good, even if it is just to go and talk with other breeders and see what everyone is doing. It can also help you to see the differences in some rabbits which you can take home to use to evaluate your rabbits better. You could also see that yours are lacking in something and maybe get a rabbit to help with that.
 

GorbyJobRabbits

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I think everyone has made VERY valid points. I have fun with my rabbits. Breeding and babies and getting the best rabbits that I can out of my own program is amazing... but the icing on the cake is showing them off. I wouldn't have as much fun just breeding. And I wouldn't have made so many amazing friends along the way.

Showing helps to expand to other breeders and get your name out there. I'm more likely to buy new stock off of someone who shows vs someone who never leaves their barn.
 
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