New Zealand Red Rabbits and where did they come from.

The first New Zealands we have

record of in this country were im- ported by John Henry Snyder of San

Francisco in 1906. When he returned from New Zealand he brought four does and a buck with him. Later we

learned of a Mr. Henry of Los Angeles who also imported a large number. When we first introduced this rabbit to the fancy we were met with the usual opposition that always greets anything new; in the April, 1915, number of “Domestic Pets,” a Mr. M. H. Branning, who had taken up the breeding of the New Zealands, wrote an

article about them and incidentally mentioned that the first specimens were imported intO’ California in 1906. This article drew forth considerable comment from those who were ac- quainted with the Sport Belgian and

Golden Fawn, which are of a buff

color. They were wont to believe that they were all one and the same

rabbit. Some of these parties wrO’te Mr. Branning, stating fl^atly that he was mistaken. Mr. Branning then sat down and wrote to Mr. Jas. Duncan,

Acting Director of the Department of Agriculture of the Dominion of New

Zealand and the following is the reply he received:

In His Majesty’s Service. Dominion of New Zealand, Depart- ment of Agriculture, Industries, and Commerce. Advice on Field Crops —Inspection of Rabbits. Wellington, Jime 17, 1915. Mr. M. H. Branning, Los Angeles, Cal. The New Zealand Red Rabbit

I am in receipt of your letter of the

7th ultimo with reference to the above. The description you give of the rabbit coincides with the rabbit known

in the southern part of this Dominion

as the Otago rabbit. It is largely ex-10 THE NEW ZEALAND RED RABBIT

ported in a frozen state to Great Britain. Last year there were 105,752 crates of rabbits shipped away from

here. In addition to this there are two tinning factories tliat make up the

flesh of the rabbit. This Rabbit was originally imported

into this country in the early days from Scotland and was known as the Scotch Rabbit. (He then goes on to tell how they breed and so forth and signs himself)

Jas. Duncan, Acting Director. This letter is in my possession and

can be seen by any one at any time. The first or original New Zealands were of a much lighter color than are

the ones that we have today, in fact there are almost four shades between

the ones of four years ago and the ones of today. They also weighed

about seven pounds, but were ex- tremely hardy and healthy. As you will note, Mr. Duncan states that the original specimens were im- ported from Scotland to New Zealand. Now just what cross the Scotlanders made to produce this rabbit we could not say, but it is very evident that the cross was well established, for the pure bred New Zealands never throw

“Sports” as do our other crossed or made rabbits. (Note.—A “sport” is an animal of different color than its parents).

From The Library of Congress


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