MY STORY OF THE CHOCOLATE DWARF HOTOT
By Nell Warren
At the 1995 Texas Rabbit Breeders Assoc. Show, Tex Thomas was judging the Dwarf Hotots & one of my entries was disqualified because the eye bands were chocolate in color & a ruby cast in the eye. He made the comment that it was very good type with a very good head & ears. This was the first time that we had recognized this color. I took this rabbit home & sold it for snake food because I didnít think that I needed that in my herd. This color started showing up again in my breeding so I thought that God was telling me that I should try working on this. This showed up in a couple of my lines so I decided to breed back chocolate to chocolate out of the different lines. This resulted with a nice litter of chocolates.
I had been working with this for a couple of years before I learned that Bill Whaley was also working on the chocolates. He encouraged me to go ahead & apply for the next in line Certificate of Development of the Chocolate Variety of the Dwarf Hotot after he had failed one time. According to the rules in the standard, I had to continue breeding for two more years before I could present them after I was awarded the Certificate of Development, which I was unable to get until Bill declined to the board of Standards of ARBA for his Certificate of Development of the Chocolate Variety. In May of 2000, I received my Variety Development Certificate for the Chocolate Dwarf Hotot. I had to wait only 1 more year because I had applied for the next in line certificate of development a year earlier. By this time the amount of chocolate breeders that I have, increased with very good type & good heads.
Some breeders were telling me they were finding some chocolates in their nest boxes as well. There were many other Dwarf Hotot breeders interested in these chocolate eye bands, since I had displayed them at our Dwarf Hotot National Shows and some breeders were coming to my home to see them. They wanted to try their hand at breeding them, also. They experienced the same thing as I did when some black eye bands would crop up in some of the litters. Someone told me that black is the dominant color so donít worry about it. When the black from chocolates were bred to each other, they produced good dark chocolates. When the eye band is light on a young kit, the color will darken, as they get older but not so dark that it looks black. If the eye band is a dark chocolate on a young kit, it will look black, as the kit gets older. This is one of the reasons that the decision to show them together was made after the chocolates are allowed to show. It is also harder to see the difference with some of the lighting at some shows.
In January of 2001, Tex Thomas informed me that since I had my Certificate of Development for the Chocolate Dwarf Hotot, which was in force under the past Standard of Perfection, that Standard would control my presentations. This meant that I would not need to submit affidavit letters from 5 different households prior to making the presentation. On June 6, 2002, I sent my letter of intent to present at the ARBA Convention in Peoria, IL, which was before the 90-day requirement. We paid the entry fee for 8 Chocolate Dwarf Hotots (2 pairs with their offsprings of a Jr. doe & Jr. buck each). I was advised to do this for a backup. We got to the ARBA Convention with both groups numbered 1st & 2nd choice. The Sr. buck in my #1 choice group, decided not to eat after we got there. I was so concerned about getting him back to eating that I didnít notice the few dark hairs in the tip of the tail, which should have been caught at home. The doe in the 2nd choice group seemed to have a slight dewlap so the ADHRC standards committee could not pass on either group. That gave me one failure, which was entirely my fault. While we were there, Bob got a message that his brother-in-law passed away suddenly with a heart attack. Because we did not pass the chocolates with the Club, we were allowed to leave early with an early release from the show by the officials, so we could attend the funeral. God plans things in very mysterious ways.
Bob & I started working through the chocolate bucks with a hard culling program. We cut down to four working bucks & even culled some of the does that didnít seem to be the type that we needed in the program.
Timing is very important to the planning of a presentation. We counted back from the ARBA show on the calendar to determine the right time to breed for the Jrs to be born & yet still be young enough to be Jrs. I bred some other does at the same time so that the chocolate kits could be fostered out to the other does & rebred the chocolate does. This gave more chance to have a better choice of the off springs of the first & second batch of kits. I did this, and my selections in 2003 were from the second age group of kits. We had two friends that are registrars, to help us look over these young kits as they grew. These friends are Mike Franke & Laurie Anne Hudgeons. Thank you two very much. They have been a great help to me with much encouragement. They also looked over my final selection of the four chocolates to take to ARBA with a fine toothcomb, looking for any D Qs, & found none.
On July 22, 2003, I sent my letter of intent to present the Dwarf Hotot Chocolates at the ARBA convention in Wichita, Kansas that was held Nov. 2-6, 2003. A few days latter we received our Domestic Rabbit magazine & noticed the fact, since I failed on my first presentation, the grandfather clause of not needing the 5 letters from 5 different breeders with chocolates no longer applied. So I had to contact some of the breeders I knew that had chocolates to have them send me a letter stating this fact. These letters had to be sent to Tex Thomas as chairman of the ARBA Standards Committee before the 90-day dead line. This is another thing that Laurie Anne helped me with on her email since I donít have email.
At the 2003 ARBA Convention, 5 or 6 other breeders told me that they had been having chocolates to show up in their nest boxes also & that they sure hoped they would get passed because of the good type they seemed to have. When the ADHRC Standards Committee looked over the four chocolates, there was some concern about the Sr. doeís type but her off springs were improved over her so they passed them. Just before time to present the four chocolates to the ARBA Standards Committee, Bob, Laurie Anne & I was taking them out of their cage to do the last minute grooming. I had the Jr. buck in my arms & all of a sudden Laurie Anne noticed blood all over my show coat. We thought at first it was coming from his nose but after I wiped the blood off his nose we saw it coming from one of his toes. I grabbed the toe to stop the bleeding & another friend got some blood-stop to put on it. Then I tried to clean him up as good as possible & put him in his carrier. I made comment that it was in Godís hands now as to whether or not they get passed. I went to the bathroom to clean the blood off my show coat & prayed that God would grant that they pass. I would like to thank God & the many friends that stood by me during this time. I could feel the support that they gave me. It felt good when the eight judges all raised their hands of acceptance in this passing of my Chocolate Dwarf Hotots. Then Tex Thomas called me in to the table to tell me the good news of the decision of the judges with reservations about the Sr. doe & I thanked God & all of the judges for their decision. With a big smile I gave a thumbs up sign & the clapping of all the hands was much appreciated.
I now have 4 brood bucks & 15 brood does with some young bucks & does to either replace or add to my breeding program if they are not culled for one reason or another.
On the 1st of February 2004, John Mingus called to tell me that 81% of the members of the American Dwarf Hotot, voted to accept the Chocolates as a variety of our Dwarf Hotots. I am very grateful to each member that voted yes. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Now we have to work on getting 6 chocolates passed in Rode Island in November 2004, then 6 chocolates passed in Indiana in 2005.We need to have 3 passes within a 5 year period.
Before Bob & I got to Rode Island, he was told he would need oxygen at night for his emphysema. We later found out he should have had oxygen all day as well. He was a sick man while we were there. This was a very stressful time for both of us. He was put into the hospital when we got home for pneumonia.
Thank the Lord; we got the chocolates passed in Rode Island. Now on to the races in Indiana in October 2005 for the third and final pass for them to be accepted as a variety of our Dwarf Hotot.
In Indiana the Standard Committee Judges saw a blue cast in the right eye of my little Jr. Doe that I did not see. I thought they were looking at the eye bands and thinking they were too dark even though there was chocolate in the corners of the eye bands when they were looking so close at her eyes. I was very disappointed in the failure but I have one more year to try to get them passed. The Committee also would like to see better type in these. I am sorry that those of you that have chocolates will need to wait another year to let them win at the shows. They can be shown to get comments on them but canít win a BOB or BOS of the breed yet. They cannot be registered yet either. Letís pray that God will help us get them passed in Ft Worth, TX next year. Due to family illness, I had announced at the general meeting in Indianapolis that Bob & I were going out of the rabbit business. We have sold all our blacks but because of the encouragement & pleading from many of the members to try the last time with the Chocolates, I have decided to go that last mile with the Chocolates. With the Lordís help, we will try to improve our type and look over the presentation rabbits much closer at the Texas ARBA Convention. I pray that they will pass then.
Bob & I sold our home place that we had lived at for over 49 years November 2005. The buyers gave us until June 1st to get moved. This was our 50th wedding anniversary. We had to build a new home & another barn on some land that we had bought years before. In this move, it was hard to watch the rabbits as close as I normally would. One of the Jr. bucks got some fur mites which I didnít notice until he had bit many parts of his guard hairs on his body off. I put 10% Sevin dust on him & rubbed it in to get rid of the mites. I started grooming & petting him each day to try to smooth out this fur. I prayed that the Lord would help me with this matter & He gave me the feeling that this would be all right.
In the new barn where we housed the rabbits, had a different lighting & when I was looking at the eyes of the rabbits, it looked like every one of them had a blue cast in their eyes. I took them out into the sun but by then, I must have been paranoid about them because they still seemed to still have it. I was so discouraged. I called Laurie Anne Hudgeons to come and look them over for me. She has been a lifesaver for me. Thank you Laurie Anne for taking time out of your busy life to help through all this. She came to look them all over & found no blue in any of their eyes. At the same time weighed them because my scales got broke in the move. She assured me that she could not find any DQís on any of them that she could see.
At the Ft. Worth show barn, Bob & I took 10 chocolates to present them to the ARBA Standards Committee. I asked Jennifer Milburn to look them all over to make sure of the six rabbits that would be presented had nothing wrong with them. She noticed a tiny spot on the tip of the right ear on one of the Jr. bucks, so I had to go with the one that had the rough fur. One of the Sr. bucks had too narrow of eye bands in her opinion, so I went with the older buck. This older buck had weepy eyes from allergies we guessed. I got this cleared up by using Clear Eyes & baby wipes to clean the fur around the eyes. Thank you Jennifer for all your help through the years.
When the chocolates were in the show cages for the standard committee to look at them, the judges kept coming back to look at the Sr. buck because they found a very small pimple on the sheath of his penis which they determined was not an abscess which could be a disqualification. This was a very nerve racking time because I could see all of my work going down the drain. I prayed for the Lord to give me strength to accept whatever the decision was. I had already told everyone that it was in Godís hands for what ever happens. The chairman of the committee, Tex Thomas, called me to the table to give me the results of their decision. I was delighted when he told me the chocolates passed. Thank all of you on the standards committee for all the hard work that you do & helping me accomplish this goal. The yells & clapping of hands when I raised my thumbs up, was a very pleasing sound. Thank all of you for standing behind me in this endeavor. Thank God for seeing me through this very trying time.
May the Dwarf Hotot Club be improved with this new variety & now all of you that have these beautiful rabbits in your barn can treat them like the black eye bands as soon as the announcement is made in the next Domestic Rabbit. They will be judged together. It will be much easier to get legs & easier for the judges eyes in dimly lighted show rooms.