Just What’s in a Name Anyway?
NOTE: This is part of an article written several years ago and is also an excerpt from a chapter in Debi’s book.
The naming of rabbits has come up in several conversations lately as well as being a hot “topic” recently on some of the e-mail lists. I thought maybe I’d share what’s been discussed. By “naming” I mean whose name or rabbitry gets listed on the pedigree. I’ve heard a great deal about people attempting to “take credit” for other’s breeding. I truly think that in most cases it is not intentional but more a case of not knowing.
Hopefully when you buy a new rabbit, it has a pedigree. The ability to present a pedigree shows that the breeder wanted to track what was happening in his/her rabbitry and kept records. It also helps the prospective owner know if there are similar bloodlines to animal(s) s/he already owns as well as the varieties (colors) and weights in the background. With the Polish breed (for example), one would probably want to shy away from a pedigree listing several 4½ to 5 pound rabbits as the Standard lists a maximum show weight for a Sr. Doe is 3½ pounds (unless you had rabbits that were not making minimum weight and you needed the size). Most varieties are not “mix and match” so it’s also a good thing to be able to see what varieties are “behind” the rabbit you are looking at.
Now, as for names, when you purchase that rabbit, chances are it has a rabbitry name listed and then a “given” name or a tattoo number — for example Maverick’s Blue Moon or Maverick’s M9. At our house, “Maverick” is the rabbitry name. Some folks use their first or last names rather than a rabbitry name – Chad’s Blue Moon or Goldben’s Blue Moon or initials – CG’s Blue Moon or a combination of any of the above. Generally, breeders want animals that they have bred to carry their name or rabbitry name. It gives them credit and also helps to identify the bloodlines in future generations.
We have gotten a few pedigrees with only a tattoo number listed. Even if there is nothing filled in for “name”, it’s only considerate to give the original breeder credit. Out of respect for the original breeder, list their name or rabbitry name before the “given” name you provide to the rabbit.
If the rabbit you purchase has a “given” name, PLEASE don’t change it. This is especially true if it the previous owner(s) used it for breeding. If you don’t like the “given” name, simply call the rabbit by some other name but don’t change it on the pedigree. If you register one of these “older” animals that has been used for breeding, contact the former owner and let them know what the registration number is (this is, again, an act of courtesy and respect).
Of course, any babies born in your barn will bear your rabbitry name. Or will they? What about loaning a buck or doe to someone, who gets credit then? Or what if you get a baby in return for “studding” out a buck? The general “rule” (as agreed on a variety of e-mail lists) is that the “owner” of the doe at the time of kindling is listed on the pedigree (if she’s “on loan” it’s still the “owner” not the person who has “temporary custody”). Of course, these circumstances can certainly be discussed between the parties involved and agreement made as to how the pedigrees will read.