One of the biggest highlights in the Swiss rabbit breeders’ calendar is the Male Rabbit Show, held every three years. This event, in which, incidentally, the Easter bunny was not participating, sees the eagerly-awaited competition to find the most handsome male rabbit in the country, a kind of “Mr Switzerland” among our floppy- and long-eared friends.
The 23rd Male Rabbit Show, held in Sempach, near the central Swiss city of Lucerne, was attended by 3,000 rabbit breeders, showing more than 4,200 rabbits. The bunnies were divided into 42 breeds in 140 variations – so white, grey, brown and black, straight or lopped ears, and size-wise, ranging from the 1.3 kilogram-Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit right up to the 7kg Flemish Giant.
Also held at the same time was the 4th Rabbit Hopping European Championships, featuring Europe’s best hoppers, in a form of rabbit showjumping.
Rabbits belong to the hare family. All house and show rabbits are descended from the wild rabbit. But whereas rabbits are born blind and hairless, and are altricial – in need of care from birth – hares are born with fur and their eyes open, and are more independent. In addition, hares are loners, but rabbits prefer groups.
(Images: Peter Klaunzer, Keystone, text: Gaby Ochsenbein, swissinfo.ch)