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Rabbit Pedigree Beginners Guide – Everything You Need To Know About Rabbit Papers

Rabbit pedigree, partial pedigree, complete pedigree, registration papers, “has papers” dahhhh all these terms that sound good can be easily confusing. 

My head was spinning when I was trying to understand it all. But you can do it. After you read this post you will have a clear understanding of how rabbit pedigrees and registration all works.

First, let’s start with the rabbit pedigree.

What Is A Rabbit Pedigree

A rabbit pedigree is a document created by the rabbit’s breeder that has the family tree clearly stated showing the generations of ancestors for that rabbit.

At a minimum, you want to see three generations on the pedigree. (Sometimes you will see four but they will be in the portrait orientation.)

  • There is the rabbit that the pedigree is for.
  • Then the 2 rabbit’s parents behind him.
  • Then his 4 Grandparents listed behind them.
  • Then the 8 Grate Grandparents behind them. 

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Information You Want To See On An Official Pedigree 

There is other info on the pedigree but when the term full pedigree is used it is assumed that there is the following info listed for all the animals on the pedigree.

  • Name
  • Color
  • Ear number
  • Weight

The reason this is what is needed to be considered a full pedigree is because a rabbit can not be registered with the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) without the required information for every animal having those things listed above.

If there is a blank on any of that information listed above the pedigree is not considered full but a partial pedigree.

There can also be the rabbits:

  • Registration Number
  • Grand Champion Numbers (Abbreviated as GC)
  • Date Of Birth For Ancestry (this is not required and is often only done when a pedigree was made by a computer program.
  • Genetic Color Code
  • Legs Or Past Winnings

If you are making pedigrees and you have this information don’t leave this info off. As much information as possible is appreciated.

Here is an example of a pedigree printed using the Evens Rabbit Pedigree Program.

rabbit pedigree

What Exactly Do These Things Mean On The Rabbit Pedigree

Looking that that piece of paper can feel a little confusing. How do you know if you have an accurate pedigree?

Knowing your breed standard will help when getting a new rabbit.

Name Of The Rabbit And The Rabbitry Annotation

The name of the rabbit can be whatever you want.

These short one-word names are also called “call names” so when you talk to the animal you don’t say everything listed on the pedigree. Just one name. So if you want to get creative and have several names you can. 

BUT Do Not Change The Rabbitry Annotation ( Text in the namespace signifying which rabbitry it came from)

Many rabbit raisers who have been in it a while will choose to put their rabbitry name or initials/prefix ahead of the rabbit’s name.

Here in my rabbitry, I put LL’s in front of the rabbit’s name. 

Here are some other french lop breeders prefix examples PTF’s, Jean’s, Baker’s, BB’s, and so on. 

But once the rabbit’s name has been placed on the pedigree. NEVER changed it. This will cause the information to be inaccurate and people may even think it is not the same rabbit. 

You also should never remove the rabbitry name or the initials shown on the pedigree. This is crediting the rabbitry or breeder with developing that rabbit.

Time, money, and lots of effort go into it. If you choose to discredit the breeder it is HIGHLY unforgivable in the rabbit world and if it is found out you will ruin your reputation. Rabbit raisers are not quick to forgive and forget.

Color – The color on the rabbit pedigree should be the official color name. NOT blond in place of fawn or brown in place of chocolate if the breed does not call it that. If you are not sure DO NOT MAKE IT UP. There is a rabbit standard of perfection for a reason. 

You can look up color guides in the SOP or there are several color guideposts online. Asking in a Facebook group would be better than making something up. 

Ear Number – The ear number is the ID number tattooed in the rabbit’s LEFT ear. This takes a minute to learn but if you aren’t sure which ear, put the rabbit on a table. Back there rear end up to your belly and the side your left hand is on is their left ear.

When choosing a tattoo number again you as the rabbit breeder can make up any number and letter combo you like. It can be any combo of UPPER CASE letters and numbers. No symbols or anything else. 

Tattoo Number System

It is helpful if you choose a system and stick to it. 

Here in the rabbitry, I put the LL then the last character of the mother’s tattoo number, then the last character of the sire’s tattoo, then add a sequential number for the litter.

Tattoos for the same litter look something like this.

  • LL367
  • LL368
  • LL369

Some people just put the rabbit’s name in the ID ear number and that is fine too. 

A tattoo can be done with a pen tattooer or a clamp tatooer but l like the pen best.

Weight – Ok hear is where this gets fun. The weight should be the rabbit’s senior weight. Every rabbit breed has an age group that is considered Sr for the breed. For french lops that is anything over 8 months of age. HOWEVER french lops are not done growing until they are at least 12 months. 

With that said if you are raising rabbits, it is best to wait until the rabbit is full-grown weight to put their weight on their pedigrees. 

BUT if you are using a say a buck that is still young then you should put whatever weight he is at on the pedigree of the offspring and update his weight as he grows. This is where having the birthdate of all the rabbits on the pedigree comes in handy. If someone sees a rabbit that is smaller on the pedigree but can look and see that he was young when he sired that offspring that would still be acceptable. 

For show rabbits, if they do not weigh the right number for their age and breed that can be considered a disqualification. If I was looking at buying a rabbit and saw that its pedigree was full of rabbits that were underweight I likely would not buy it. A half-pound can be the difference between winning a show or not.

DO NOT eyeball your rabbit’s weight. Do your best to get an accurate weight.

Why Would You Want A Rabbit Pedigree

Why would you want a rabbit pedigree? Well first off I am a big promoter of creation options for yourself if you want to have a profitable rabbitry. 

Having a pedigree significantly increases the value of a rabbit. 

But also having a pedigree even if you are just raising rabbits for meat will tell you a lot. You would be able to look at the weights of the rabbits ancestry and be able to keep increasing the weight of your offspring. 

Having a pedigree will also help you keep good rabbitry records. Things like inbreeding and being able to tell if a certain bloodline of rabbits do not mesh well together. 

Some genes when crossed can lead to bird defects and rabbits that do not grow out well. If you do not have a pedigree which are essentially your rabbit breeding records you would not be able to figure those things out.

Do You Need A Pedigree To Show Rabbits?

The short answer is no. But if your rabbit does well and you want to register your rabbit to get its grand champion certificate your rabbit must have a full pedigree to do that. 

If you want to raise rabbits to sell people who are into showing are not likely to buy a rabbit without a full peidgree.

So if you want to get serious about rabbit showing it would be recommended your rabbit has one as well.

Is It Worth Paying Extra For A Pedigreed Rabbit

Honestly, you have to be the one to decide that. If you have a pedigree for your animals they are worth quite a bit more when it comes to selling them.

It also gives a sense of legitimacy when selling your rabbits as purebred. 

However, just because your rabbit has a pedigree does not mean it is a good quality rabbit. Learning the rabbit breed’s conformation is going to be invaluable to you if you are trying to get good animals. 

Knowing what you are looking for will help you know if someone is charging a fair price or not.

How Do You Know If It Is A Purebred Rabbit

The rabbit’s pedigree works as proof that the rabbit is purebred but you are still relying on the fact that the breeder did not fabricate it.

If you are new to the rabbit world it is going to be difficult. It takes time to learn but if you are observant and take it slow you will learn.

Familiarizing yourself with as many breeds as possible will help you notice if something is not quite right with the rabbit you are looking for. For example, If I am looking for a french lop ( they should weigh at least 11lbs) but if I see a rabbit that is only 9lbs it very well could have some mini lop in it. 

Once you decide on the breed you want to raise. STUDY IT. Learn it like your life depends on it. Watch judges at rabbit shows. Learn what they are looking for. 

Ask other rabbit raisers when they are not busy if they will give you a few pointers.

The image below is a good example of rabbits that are not purebred. The dark ones have a lot of Dutch in them as well as the light colors to their left. But the first clue is the color of those tan-colored rabbits. That is not a recognized color of the Dutch rabbit and I don’t think it’s even possible to get that color out of the breed without mixing it.

Group of rabbits that are not pur bred

The other clue is the black rabbits with the blaze are not the right body shape of a Dutch rabbit. But all of that takes time to learn.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Rabbit Pedigree

You can very likely find a pedigree template for free if you look hard enough but sometimes they will have a watermark on them. You will also have to handwrite each one which becomes tedious. Trust me.

The ARBA also has a pedigree book that you can get here for about $15 off of amazon.

You can also buy a pedigree program from Evans Pedigree Software. Evan’s offers two different price points $70-$90 but it is so worth it. Plus it is a one-time purchase and your done. Using a program like Hutch is a monthly fee forever and you will pay for the pedigree program in a year’s time.

I have an affordable rabbit pedigree template in my shop for less than five $5 dollars.

Get My Rabbit Pedigree Template Here In The Shop

How Do You Make A Rabbit Pedigree

Pedigrees are written on the honor system. Meaning the breeder writes them up on their own pedigrees and it is assumed they are correct.

If you have rabbits that DO NOT have a pedigree you can start one with the information you know about the rabbit you own. But it will take you three generations before the pedigree is complete with all of the ancestries.

If you are willing to do that then go for it.

Evan’s pedigree program is like an easy rabbit pedigree generator. It is worth EVERY PENNY! All I have to do is click each parent and print them out. You don’t need to have a fancy program like that. You can use a template in a google doc or image editing program. I used to handwrite them and after my first few litters were sold. Yep, it was time to make things a little easier on myself.

When you are filling a rabbit pedigree out the Sire’s pedigree information goes on the upper half of the pedigree and the Dam’s (mother) information goes on the lower half of the pedigree. Make sure to watch the video below to see it done.

What Does It Mean To Have A Registered Rabbit

If a rabbit has a pedigree that does not mean they are registered. When a rabbit is registered the rabbit’s family tree (pedigree) is logged with the ARBA and after a few weeks and all the info is checked the owner is mailed a certificate of registration with the pedigree printed on the back.

How To Register A Rabbit With The ARBA

You have to take your rabbits to an official ARBA licensed registrar and they will look over the pedigree and copy that information as well as tattoo your rabbit’s official registration number in the rabbit’s RIGHT ear.

There is a fee of about $6 to have the process done but you also have to be a current member of the ARBA to register your animals. If you let your membership lapse the animal does NOT lose the registration.

Why Register A Rabbit

The main reason to register a rabbit would be to apply for the rabbit’s grand champion certificate. But unless the rabbit has won the qualifying placements in the rabbits showing career there is no real advantage to taking this step.

Other than it looks good on paper there is no real point. Just because a rabbit is registered does not mean it has a very good type or will produce nice babies. All it means is there are not genetic disqualifications that would take the rabbit out of a show.

Papers, on the whole, will bring more legitimacy to your herd. But a pedigree will bring the most value.

Create a binder with the printed copies of your rabbit pedigrees and provide buyers with a printed copy of the original pedigree they bought AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE. 

Unless you trust them do not leave without one. You have to assume they won’t send it. I feel like I am making a pedigree for someone who ended up with a rabbit from my stock and the person who sold it to them didn’t give the pedigree or severely falsified it and they contact me to clean it up.

In short are pedigrees with it? Yes, I think so. But that is up to you.

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