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Raising Dwarf Hotots: A Beginner's Guide, Part 2
Part two: Where to find good breeding stock
So, you’ve joined ARBA and the ADHRC. Now what? You want to get started! You want to own some Hotots! There are some listed in the newspaper, and a couple down at Petco looked like Hotots, so... Stop right there. If you want to raise and SHOW Dwarf Hotots, you need to take the right next steps, and neither the pet store or an unaccredited breeder is the way to go. If you want a couple pet Hotots for your kids to take to 4-H fairs or maybe if you just want a couple of backyard therapy bunnies, ok. I am all for rescuing bunnies from petstores and their potential evils. A bunny life saved is a wonderful thing. But, if you want to delve into a new world, face competition, have the pride of knowing you raised champions--if you want to travel and meet new people, then read on and follow closely.
Go to ARBA’s website (www.arba.net) and look for shows that are going to be hosted nearest you. Of the shows listed for your state or area, click on the more information tab or call the show secretary listed for the show you want to attend. See if Dwarf Hotots are “sanctioned;” if they are, chances are there will be a bunch of Dwarf Hotots there because those sweepstakes points for the National Club are going to be up for grabs. Make plans to attend one of these sanctioned shows. Go, bask in the glory of rabbitdom, ask questions, learn, and go home. DO NOT buy any Dwarf Hotots!! No, not yet! You need to get a feel for the breed and what you are looking for. You wouldn’t go to one car dealership and go home with the first vehicle presented to you, would you? Go to a couple local shows, and then, after carefully examining the local stock, go back and review the standard for the Dwarf Hotot, (see www.adhrc.com ). This is what a judge is looking for when they examine your stock. Having a Dwarf Hotot that matches this description is what breeding and raising rabbits is all about—to see who can raise a Hotot that best matches this standard.
Now you know what you want in breeding stock. Go back to that ARBA website. See where the National Convention is going to be held—is it close by? Can you travel there? If so, great. At Convention, breeders will be bringing their A-string competitors and their B-string to sell. You’ll have to pay more for these Dwarf Hotots, and more isn’t always better. Remember, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR. You may find a for sale bunny with great ancestry, that comes from a reputable breeder, but does it match your qualifications? If not, don’t pay the $$ price tag.
Your second choice for finding great stock is heading out to the ADHRC National Show, the location of which is found on their website, www.adhrc.com . Nationals is like a repeat of Convention, only Nationals takes place in the spring, whereas Convention is in the fall. That means those A-stringers from the fall may have turned the tide into becoming B-stringers, and breeders may be willing to part with them.
I find that the best place to buy Dwarf Hotots for the best price is at State Conventions (listed on www.arba.net under the show tab) . These State shows have a large number of rabbits, often of Hotots, (check that sanction!) and more people go to them to show because there are often 4 shows over the course of 2 days. That’s 4x as many points to pick up, and 4x as many champion legs (it takes 3 to be a champ!). So, you get a lot of variety in sale bunnies, but the price tags aren’t quite as bloated as at Convention or Nationals. This is where you want to shop.