Raising Dwarf Hotots: A Beginner's Guide Part 1
Breed: Dwarf Hotot
ARBA Standard Description: see description at the ADHRC website
I have had the privilege of raising Dwarf Hotots for over thirteen years now, and the first thing I say to prospective Dwarf Hotot breeders is, “These rabbits are hard to get bred, have problems kindling, love to become overweight, hate to breed true to the standard, and though 90% of the bucks are sweethearts, 90% of the does are pure evil…are you sure you want to breed Hotots?” I believe honesty is the best policy if you haven’t guessed. There are people out there that will do their best to describe their Dwarf breed as loving, cute, great pets! But I like to cut through the fluff. ALL Dwarf breeds are hard to raise because of their dwarf skeletal structure. Big, bold heads on small bodies with narrow hips equals problems in the birthing department. Difficult labor ties into why I believe 90% of dwarf does tend to stray to the dark side in the personality department. If you had to push 1” heads through your 1/2 ‘ wide birth canal 4x a year, would you be Little Miss Sunshine? No. But this is what we ask of these Dwarf rabbits, and as responsible breeders, we can try our best to breed capable, larger framed does instead of the itty-bitties. In the next section, I describe how to be one of those responsible breeders. For now, let me outline. Dwarf Hotots are an attractive, easy to sell but hard to produce breed that faces a semi-competitive status on ARBA show tables. There are multiple breed specialty clubs that you can join that will educate you further about the breed, but the best way to get the skinny on Hotots, as with any breed of rabbit, is to talk to a large amount of long-term breeders themselves.
Now that you know the reality:
Still want to tackle the “Eye of the Fancy?” First, if you haven’t already, join the American Rabbit Breeders Association, ARBA. Their website is www.arba.net. Once you have ARBA membership, you can join the National Dwarf Hotot club, the American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club (www.adhrc.com) . By joining ADHRC, you can officially start earning sweepstakes points. These points put you on the map as a breeder. In theory, the more points you earn at shows, (earned by placing and winning classes) the better your stock. The better your stock, the more reputable name you gain which will lead people to buy your Dwarf Hotots. You can also go further into clubs and join whatever regional group is nearest to you—the MidAtlantic Dwarf Hotot Club, the Northeast Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club, the Midwest Regional Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club, the Ohio Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club, and the California Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club are all out there waiting for you to join (all are listed on the ADHRC website).