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What Do You Think?

Dutch Type

by Kevin Hooper

Since I began raising Dutch in 1975, Dutch have changed quite a lot. It was unheard of to win a Best In Show with a Dutch back then. Why was that so? Were they not well marked Dutch, or do the judges now like our Dutch? I believe it is because we have improved our type!
What has improved? The largest improvement I have seen is in the hindquarter structure. Is is much more common to now see Dutch with full lower hindquarters than it was even in 1990. I think most of us can see that. Look at our old ADRC logo and patch. What does that Dutch look like? First, notice the head shape. That head is very important to having good Dutch type. Next look at the shape of the top line on the body. Notice that our Dutch did not have shoulders that are as deep as many of the drawings in ads in the DR, or many of those that win the big shows. Can we take this too far, however?
old logo
In an article I wrote several years ago, I stated that the Florida White was developed from the Dutch. I then posed the question, since Florida Whites have nice full hindquarters, why can't we have that in Dutch? I still believe this is true. But, are we striving for the same body as that of a Florida White? My answer would be no. We do want a top line that has a gradual raise from the base of the neck, over the shoulders, continuing up over the hips, and downward to the base of the tail. We do not want the rise to begin after the shoulders as in our Dutch Logo. We want full hindquarters to the base of the table. But, our Dutch body should be more refined than that of a Florida White. It should be a bit trimmer through the shoulders, sides, and hips. Notice I said more trim. That is a better description than more narrow.
When I began showing in the early eighties, it was common to hear a judge say a Dutch was "too commercial in type". That is what I am afraid we will evolve into if we are not careful. The rabbit industry has gone away from the term "fancy" in describing some of the breeds. That used to be how the rabbits were divided when selecting Best In Show, Fancy and Commercial. Now that BIS selections are based on either "Groups" or Best 4 and Best 6 Class, you no longer hear that term. That is what we must strive to keep in our Dutch however, the Fanciness.
Picture an Ideal Florida White, with Dutch markings. To me, that animal is "too commercial in type". I would also say these animals are too heavy in the shoulder for what we desire in our Dutch. To illustrate what I think the perfect Dutch body should look like, picture looking at your Dutch from behind. The sides going up and over the top should look like an inverted "U" on our Dutch, while the Florida White would look an inverted "U" that has had it's sides pulled out a bit at the bottom. (Note that my "U" would ideally be a little shorter, otherwise both breeds would look narrow.)
One other note on Dutch type. The statement "good type", means more than just body shape. Type refers more to breed characteristics than it does to body shape. You can have good Dutch type with only a fair body. characteristics that the breed should have such as head shape, thickness of ear and hide (skin), that cobby look, etc., all make up our Dutch type.

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