Showing in the UK

by Sara Firkus and Linda Kinart, WI

Have you ever wondered about the Holland Lop in other countries? What about the showing or selling process, or the breeding standard? While Tortoiseshell dominates the table in North America, what about in a different part of the world? Are Hollands even called Hollands somewhere else? For the curious minds, we would like to share our experience with a Holland Breeder from England named Glen Walters.
A few months ago Linda Kinart received a phone call from Glen Walters. Glen lives in the UK but was visiting family in Wisconsin. She was very interested in viewing the "American" rabbitry and of course, the rabbits. She had lots of questions, but so did we.

The Mini Lop? . . .
In England, Holland Lops are called Mini Lops. Mini Lops are called Dwarf Lops. Interesting? Glen was amazed by the fact most breeders use cages with wire bottoms. In her rabbitry and many others in the UK, the Hollands are kept in cages with wooden bottoms and have no use for nest boxes.
Local shows consist of about 15-20 Hollands. At Nationals, the number is much greater. All shows are pre-entered, local and national level. All rabbits are cooped at each show. The coops do not have the exhibitors name on a card, but instead a number. The exhibitor does not carry their rabbits to and from the show table, carriers are assigned to this duty. Rabbits are never tattooed. Instead, they use leg bands. These are plastic bands that go on the left hind leg of the rabbit as a junior. Usually the rabbit doesn't grow out of it's leg band but if it does, then it must be replaced with a larger band. The band has numbers printed on it.

Standard of Perfection . . .
The English version of the "Schedule of Points" system is much like ours. Most of the points are placed on the front end of the rabbit. While we are culling for "a Holland has to have a head," in England the emphasis is "a Holland has to have a crown . . . a perfect crown." They, too, like to have the Hollands sit up and pose. There is a 3 pound maximum weight limit. Because of this 3 maximum, senior does are rarely shown because they tend to go overweight. The ratio would be something like 20 senior bucks for every 2 senior does. Also, unlike our 6 month senior age, theirs is 5 months. A common age to start showing juniors averages about 13-14 weeks old.
Hollands are shown in solid and broken classes at smaller shows. At larger or National shows there is a system to break down the classes. Varieties are broken down into seven groups: Agouti, Broken, Pointed White, Self, Shaded, Ticked, and Wide Band. Chestnut Agouti is among the most common colors shown. Torts are about as popular as Blue-eyed Whites, Pointed Whites, Martens, and Otters. That's correct, the Tan Pattern is recognized. I'm jealous . . .

And the winner is . . .
ARBA awards legs when we win a first place at any ARBA sanctioned show. All you need are five rabbits and three exhibitors. We are also awarded sweepstakes points to fifth place at a local show, tenth place at Nationals. Glen informed us there are no sweepstakes points nor quality points awarded, although she though it was a great idea. They also do not have our ARBA leg system. Instead they are awarded "stars." A rabbit has to obtain 32 stars to earn the honor of Grand Champion. Stars are only awarded to the first place animal. At smaller shows you are awarded three stars, larger shows and Nationals, five stars. There has to be a certain number of Hollands and exhibitors entered to obtain stars, whether it be a first place or Best of Breed.

Selling/buying Hollands in the UK
In America, it's the seller's responsibility to give the buyer the purchased rabbit's pedigree. In England, when you sell a Holland there is a Commission that takes care of the paperwork for you and sends it to the buyer themselves. How much are these Hollands going for? In England you can buy a very nice Holland for about $50-$75. Imagine that! At our Nationals $75 is a down payment on most stock. Another interesting fact I wasn't aware of is the process of obtaining stock from England. Shipping to America is not a problem, but if someone from England wanted to buy American stock it would have to go through a six-month quarantine before they could claim the animal(s). For that reason, not many England breeders import.
I hope you find this information as interesting as we did. Thank you for letting us share it with others.