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What are pedigrees needed for (besides breeding)?

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Happy Hollands

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Recently I've had quite a few people interested in buying baby bunnies from me and requesting a pedigree. They claim it is not for breeding - The common excuse is that it is for "interest" or 4-H / show. Keep in mind that my rabbits are Vienna marked and many are Harlequin variations (non-showable, right?). My rabbits do have good structure, but I do not focus on show colorings. What are the other uses of pedigrees besides breeding, and where should I draw the line on passing on pedigrees?

As of now, my rule is that pet rabbits are sold without pedigrees, but I always include a very detailed birth certificate for interest instead :) My sales policy states that the proper pedigree name must be used, and that they will not be passed on without my consent. All potential buyers fill out my adoption application (and a breeder form as well if they claim to be interested in that). I take it very seriously! I rarely sell to unexperienced breeders, as it takes up a ton of my time and sometimes people just aren't ready. I sell the pedigree and breeding rights for an additional $50 - this does seem to deter a lot of people just wanting it for interest (many times, a birth certificate is all they are looking for!).
 

SableSteel

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I don't see any reason to ever not give a pedigree. A lot of 4H clubs require their members to have pedigreed rabbits, even if they are just using the rabbit for showmanship and not for breeding or shows. Besides, it's a much better guarantee that a rabbit is purebred than just "birth certificates". Even crappy petstores will often give birth certificates. If somebody isn't readily willing to give me the pedigree, I have to assume that they don't have one, or there's something they don't want me to see on it (like the rabbit not being purebred). And if there isn't something wrong with the pedigree, then I can only guess it's a cash grab. There's no reason to be secretive about a pedigree. If a buyer is going to be unethical and breed a rabbit that shouldn't be bred, they're going to do it anyway, pedigree or not. Especially as, in rabbits, it's easy to fake a pedigree - they don't have a centralized studbook like dogs or horses. I never take a breeder who charges extra for a pedigree seriously, and I don't know any reputable show breeders who charge extra for pedigrees. It's something I've only seen backyard breeders do.
 

majorv

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I don’t think pet rabbits need a pedigree. For 4-H or FFA, or if it’s a fellow breeder who shows rabbits, then I would certainly provide the pedigree with the rabbit. If someone wants to take a rabbit I’ve petted out, and breed it, I certainly don’t want a pedigree with my name on it floating around with an irresponsible breeding.
 

Happy Hollands

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Thank you. So to clarify, the only uses for pedigrees for non-showable rabbit colors are 4-H (?) and possibly breeding?
 

NYAngela

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My personal thought if you’re going to market your bunnies as pedigree and charge a higher price then you should be prepared to offer a pedigree if asked, even if it’s for pure curiosity, a memory book, whatever. I have no use for one so I didn’t ask but I would have been off put if I was charged extra for one or told I couldn’t have one. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Happy Hollands

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Of course - I believe I was misunderstood by a few of you guys! It is really suspicious when someone looking for a "pet" suddenly is interested in what colors the rabbit carries and details about their genetics that no "pet" owner would research unless considering breeding / other uses of bunnies. It is really upsetting to be lied to as a breeder, because I put a lot of effort in making sure each and every one of my baby bunnies goes to an amazing home. I originally posted this thread because I wanted to make sure I fully grasped all the uses for pedigrees so that I could tell when somebody was being fully honest with me (and when they weren't). Despite having quite a few posts on this thread already, nobody has answered my question! So I'll repeat... What are the pedigree uses for non-showable rabbits?

I used to give away a pedigree with every bunny I sold, until I realized people were unethically breeding my bunnies and making a profit off of the pedigrees I'd given them for free (even after claiming to be a pet home). I felt used. An ethical breeder, like myself, is going to thoroughly screen families before adopting out babies - They are not a toy or an Easter gift... They are a 10+ year commitment. As I understand, pedigrees of other animals are not handed out freely either.

@SableSteel It's one thing if you are solely a show breeder, I can understand how you would want your pedigrees to stay with the rabbits if they were top of the line show quality. But I specialize in PET / Vienna marked buns! I'm definitely readily available to provide pedigrees as I already have them written up from when babies are born. Like I mentioned earlier, I ask some questions before approving the adoption application and it is really eye-opening to see how many people are misinformed or unethically breeding for profit. I sell my pedigrees for extra because anybody who gets a pedigree rabbit from me is most likely going to profit from it in the future. Oh, and I market my bunnies as purebred (no pedigreed) and if inquired about pedigrees I say "able to to to an approved breeder with a pedigree". :) If they ever do rehome the bunny I have approved them to adopt, they're most likely going to include that pedigree and get their money's back (plus more) depending on who they sell it to.
 

majorv

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Pedigrees are used by a breeder to aid them in who to breed to who. That’s the only reason I can think of why a breeder of non showable colors needs pedigrees. I believe that 4-H and FFA follow ARBA rules...at least, I know FFA does.
 

ladysown

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sometimes pet people just want the pedigree. Seriously. either it's because they want to know more about who mom and dad/grandparents etc are, sometimes it's to keep their options open if they decide to breed down the road, sometimes it's idle curiosity. Doesn't really matter.

If people want one, I see no reason not to give it to them UNLESS the breeder has a written policy stating no pedigrees with pet rabbits. Usually breeders who do this have varied prices on their young rabbits because not all rabbits have the potential to be show or brood animals. So it mostly depends on what YOUR policies are as to how you handle it.

You will drive yourself nuts if you try to figure out the motives and wondering if people are being honest or deceptive. Take people at face value until proven otherwise. If you watch the rabbit ads in your area you'll get a sense who the breeders are, and if you get to know other breeders they'll give you a heads up on the deceptive folks out there.

Non-showable colours or not, pedigrees contain a wide variety of information and as such are useful.
 

Happy Hollands

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sometimes pet people just want the pedigree. Seriously. either it's because they want to know more about who mom and dad/grandparents etc are, sometimes it's to keep their options open if they decide to breed down the road, sometimes it's idle curiosity. Doesn't really matter.

If people want one, I see no reason not to give it to them UNLESS the breeder has a written policy stating no pedigrees with pet rabbits. Usually breeders who do this have varied prices on their young rabbits because not all rabbits have the potential to be show or brood animals. So it mostly depends on what YOUR policies are as to how you handle it.

You will drive yourself nuts if you try to figure out the motives and wondering if people are being honest or deceptive. Take people at face value until proven otherwise. If you watch the rabbit ads in your area you'll get a sense who the breeders are, and if you get to know other breeders they'll give you a heads up on the deceptive folks out there.

Non-showable colours or not, pedigrees contain a wide variety of information and as such are useful.
Thank you for enlightening me and providing some insight / advice. I currently have a form on my website that potential adopters fill out to be considered for adopting a baby Holland Lop from me, and an additional form if they are interested in breeding OR a pedigree. Thank you all for confirming that the only legitimate reason for a pedigree (for non-showable colored rabbits) is breeding aside from "interest". Good to know!!

I do not feel like I NEED to defend myself, but... to clarify, I never withhold pedigrees, they are always available with my signature stating they are correct to the best of my knowledge. I have had people refuse to work with me / answer questions which tell me they are suspicious and / or not a good fit for one of my babies!
 
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Jadette

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Just want to throw my 2 cents in. A pedigree for me is important from a pure academic perspective. I like to know the history of my pets, even if I do not intend on breeding them - just so I know what I have.
For example, I bought what I thought was a blue tort lionhead from a breeder recently. This particular bunny had a high rufus, so it was very difficult to tell at an early age if it was truly a blue tort just by looking at her. As she matured, she got darker in color so I reached out to the breeder to verify. Once she looked at her pedigree, she indeed verified that she was a black tort, as her pedigree showed that she did not carry dilute and her line would not have produced any blue torts.
Maybe to some people, it doesn't matter to them if it's a blue or a black tort, but for me - even if I decided not to breed her, I wanted to know definitively what she was.
 

SableSteel

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I doubt that everybody asking for a pedigree wants it so that they can breed the rabbit and try and resell the babies. Some people just want to know what's behind their animals. Like my dogs; am I ever going to breed them? Oh god, no. Do I like having their pedigrees? Definitely. It's interesting to see what's behind them and makes me feel like a part of the breed's history. (Also, in many counties 4H showmanship can use unshowable rabbits and still ask for a pedigree, so even then breeding isn't the only reason to need a pedigree). Especially in rabbits, where there isn't a strict registry, a pedigree is the only way to know that the rabbit you have is purebred. An educated buyer shouldn't take a breeder's word for the fact that the animal is purebred imo. And in the end, breeding rabbits should never be about the money - either the money you make or the perceived money that people who buy your rabbits might make. It should all be for the good of the rabbit and frankly I see no reason to withhold information about the animal's history if you have that information when passing it along is as simple as printing it out. If somebody is going to be unethical enough to breed a rabbit that shouldn't be bred, I don't think a lack of a legit pedigree is going to stop them.
 

Happy Hollands

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Just want to throw my 2 cents in. A pedigree for me is important from a pure academic perspective. I like to know the history of my pets, even if I do not intend on breeding them - just so I know what I have.
For example, I bought what I thought was a blue tort lionhead from a breeder recently. This particular bunny had a high rufus, so it was very difficult to tell at an early age if it was truly a blue tort just by looking at her. As she matured, she got darker in color so I reached out to the breeder to verify. Once she looked at her pedigree, she indeed verified that she was a black tort, as her pedigree showed that she did not carry dilute and her line would not have produced any blue torts.
Maybe to some people, it doesn't matter to them if it's a blue or a black tort, but for me - even if I decided not to breed her, I wanted to know definitively what she was.
That's an interesting story that I think all breeders can benefit from! It baffles me how somebody could mistake those two colors, but maybe because it was not an experienced breeder. For anyone who is curious - a blue tort and black tort look extremely different at birth, and are easiest to distinguish color differences then. A black tort will have a dark line running down its side, whereas a blue tort will not have a distinct line, more just shaded. Hopefully that makes some sense... let me know if interested, I can attach a picture of a newborn black tort so you all can visualize what I mean!

I've got enough feedback on here, so thank you to all of you who have positively contributed and helped me understand how pedigrees are interesting for pets, even though there is no real use for them besides interest. I guess I've had a few negative experiences that cause me to doubt this claim. Moving forward, I'm going to offer a pedigree to everybody as long as they have a justified reason for needing one. Interest is included as a reason, but I will be charging a very small fee (less than half what I charge to breeders) to cover the price of the pedigree platform I use and the time it takes for me to write up each individual paper. No longer will pedigrees be just for a few select breeders! I am proud of the rabbits we produce, and would want my name attached to them. I want people to trust me and not doubt if my rabbits are pedigreed or not. I'd never really looked at it from that perspective before, but then again everybody who visits our rabbitry gets to see the parents and sometimes even the grandparents - and they definitely are purebred, you can tell just by looking at them. I guess I'm just afraid that somebody is going to take advantage of my cheaper pet prices and use the rabbit for something else, such as breeding. But I will let you guys know how my new policy works!
 

Mac189

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As a person who has adopted rabbits and never had any interest in breeding ever, If I were to take the plunge and get a purebred rabbit I would be interested in having the pedigree. My first rabbit was a pet quality mini lop and it was fun knowing the names of her parents and grandparents from the pedigree. I also attended a few shows that the breeder was in and kept a lookout for family members of my sweet Bun Bun. Having the pedigree actually helped me make friends and allies in the rabbit community in the area when I was first owning rabbits who knew the breeder and owned rabbits from the rabbitry. Additionally, I really enjoy trying to figure out the color alleles my two mixed breed rabbits have just for the fun of it or as an applicable practice for better understanding genetics and genetic modifiers for class, and having a pedigree makes this little game way easier!

Best of luck with your new policy!
 

ladysown

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This statement in all of this caught my attention: If somebody is going to be unethical enough to breed a rabbit that shouldn't be bred, I don't think a lack of a legit pedigree is going to stop them.

Not all rabbits produced "breed worthy" specimens. I've seen it more than once where two stellar rabbits produce something less than stellar. And breed worthy is very much in the eyes of a breeder. For instance, a breeder may have a policy that anything that ever gets sick, or doesn't grow like the rest of the litter, should never be bred. ERGO they won't want to send that rabbit out as "breed worthy". or hidden colours pop up in a cross and you go GAH, I didn't know that was there... THIS offspring should NOT be bred, and neither should their parents. IN THAT breeders opinion.

It's not being unethical, in fact, it's the very opposite. It's having a standard and then trying to encourage others to adopt the same standard.
 

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