Comparison of exterior traits in selected giant and medium rabbit breeds
Generally, in recent times across the breeding spectrum, rabbits of giant, medium, small and dwarf breeds have been reared. The largest representation among breeders at most breeding exhibitions held in central European countries is amongst giant and medium breeds. The aim of this work was to evaluate the qualities and exterior faults in selected giant and medium rabbit breeds in different colour varieties according to a current book of rabbit standards. Of 1779 rabbits from 11 exhibitions held in the territory of the Czech and Slovak Republics, 646 giant rabbits weighing 5.5 kg and over and 1133 medium rabbits between 3.25 to 5.5 kg of different breeds and colour varieties were selected. Giant (large) breeds population included 210 of Giant, 187 of Giant Papillon and 249 of Lop. In the medium weight category, 308 of Big Light Silver, 184 of Chinchilla Giganta and 641 of Vienna group breeds were selected. The qualities and exterior faults of typical breed traits were evaluated in six positions: weight, shape, type, coat, top colour or markings and undercolour. The results of the work show that the most common exterior faults in these categories were in the shape, type and coat positions. In the shape position, significant exterior faults were found, such as slightly protruding hips with slanting rump, worse legs position with bowed or splayed limbs and loose skin on the body. Especially observed in the type position in all selected breeds were narrow chest, body too lean or too long and a more delicate head with finer structure of ears. The coat was usually thick and less elastic with the lighter undercolour at the base of the skin and non-sharply defined intermediate colour. The data obtained are ground-breaking, representing a new approach to assist in the characterisation of giant and medium rabbit breeds included in a study and to select individuals with the best exterior properties with a view to improving the breed quality.
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