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Bone, A Building Block

Scott Rodriguez, ARBA Judge

Written By:


HLRSC Guidebook -7th Edition

When it comes to producing and selecting award winning Holland Lops it is important to always refer to the Standard of Perfection as our guide. When the Standard of Perfection assigns a specific number of points to a breed characteristic, the intent is to draw attention to this feature as a significant identifier of breed type. Bone is one of these breed characteristics. Our Holland Lop Standard assigns 10 points to Bone, Feet, and Legs. Therefore, Bone is a significant breed characteristic that we should all strive to incorporate into our breeding program in order to breed Hollands with good type.

Bone is the foundational building block necessary to produce good breed type. Striving for good bone will contribute to a Holland with all of the correct parts. Good bone will help us produce massive and thick set bodies; massive heads; thick, wide ears; and short, thick feet and legs. Bone can be examined by the shortness and width in the hind legs as well as judging the length, diameter and thickness in the front limbs. Let’s start first with an examination of how the Holland Standard describes bone and then investigate how bone influences other important aspects of breed type.

Bone, Feet & Legs
In the Glossary Section of the ARBA Standard, bone is defined as the term used to describe the skeletal structure of a rabbit. The Holland Standard assigns 10 points to Bone. “The legs are to be short, thick, straight, and heavily boned.” (Emphasis added). To further emphasize the importance of good bone, the standard instructs us to fault severely for long or fine bone and weak ankles. Bone is the foundation of structure. When we use the word bone in the Standard, we mean a thick and dense bone. Think of the thick heavy front legs of a Flemish Giant. If a Holland is built with thick and dense bone as the foundation, the result is a Holland with mass, wide head, thick ears, and short feet and legs.

A Holland that is refined in bone means that the diameter of the bone is thin, yielding a rabbit with a narrow and long body; narrow head; thin folded ears; and long, weak feet and legs.

In short, heavy bone is what attracted us to this breed in the first place – in laymen’s terms we all love the chubby, stocky, short, “cute” Holland look. Hollands with narrow heads, pinched muzzles and spindly front
limbs are not what we are drawn to.

The Standard describes the ideal Holland as having a short, massive and thickset body. Additionally, we want a wide chest. It is easy to visualize how heavy bone contributes to this body structure. Dense bone will contribute to short and thickset bodies with wide chests. Bone that is long and weak in diameter will yield a skeletal structure that is opposite of what we strive for. Long and weak bone is usually found on Hollands with long and refined body styles and narrow chests.

The Standard describes a head that is to be massive in appearance with a short and well-filled muzzle. Again, a skeletal structure built upon strong bone with mass in diameter will contribute to a massive and short head. Long refined bone as the skeletal structure will yield the opposite – long, narrow heads, which is a significant breed fault.

The Standard describes the ideal ears as being thick and wide. Again, if strong bone is the foundation, then the ears will be thick. Think of the substance of a leather belt. Refined bone and body structure usually means thin substance to the ear with folds and creases.

Think of heavy bone as the building block to achieving ideal type in your breeding program. Build your skeletal “foundation” with heavy bone that is thick in diameter and you will see how this structure will yield massive thick set bodies with wide chests; short round heads; thick well furred ears; and short thick legs.

Good luck and may your nest boxes be filled with winners!

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