To help understand the Cashmere, the breed details are divided into the following categories:
The Cashmere Standard and Cashmere Minature are both recognised by the BRC (British Rabbit Council) but is not included as a breed by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association).
The ARBA classifies the cashmere under the dwarf lop umbrella and does not, as yet, recognise it as a different breed.
The BRC also recognises the dwarf version of the cashmere, and calls it, very aptly the Miniature Cashmere Lop
Miniature Cashmere Lop
Type and Condition... 30
Head, Ears and Crown... 30
The Cashmere was first discovered in a nest of Dwarf Lops in 1980 by Miss Turner of Wales (according to Exhibition & Pet Rabbits by Meg Brown).
Miss Turner noticed something different about some of the kits in her nest of dwarf lops in Wales over 30 years ago. Some of the babies displayed a longer, thicker and more luxurious coat. Just six years later this adorable little animal had won the hearts of many fanciers and by the mid 1990s the Cashmere had started to appear in serious showing circles and quickly won a dedicated band of followers who worked hard to develop the breed and get it standardised – meeting with some resistance from the BRC along the way.
The National Cashmere Lop Club was founded and eventually the Cashmere was recognised in all colours and is now a popular and serious contender at shows across the globe. Because it’s such a new breed, it’s still possible to find records of what the Cashmere looked like when it first appeared, and those fanciers who worked on creating the ‘breed’ will tell of the satisfaction they feel having seen the type develop and grow more beautiful.
The Mini Cashmere Lop
The minature cashmere appeared ten years later as it took some years to get right, but a small merry band of followers worked hard to get the breed standardised. The breed was finally standardised in all colours, and today is a serious contender on any show table, alongside it’s Standard counterpart.
The cashmere comes in standard and minature with a huge array of accepted colours in the various colour groups including:
Other Colour Varieties include:
Butterfly, Chocolate Tort, Fawn, Orange and Steel.
The Cashmere Lop is classed as a medium sized rabbit, (ring size D).
The Miniature Cashmere is classed as a small breed of rabbit, (ring size C).
The maximum weight for the Cashmere Lop is 2.38kg (5.1/4lb) with the ideal weight being 2.15kg (4.1/2lb). The minimum adult weight is 1.92kg (4.1/4lb).
The Miniature Cashmere has a maximum weight of 1.60kg (3.1/2lb).
The standard cashmere rabbit has a bold, thickset, firm and compact shape. The body should be short, broad and well muscled with little visible neck. The well muscled rump is short and well rounded. The chest is broad and deep.
The front legs are thick short and straight. The hind legs are short, strong and powerful and carried parallel to the body. The tail is strong straight and well furred.
As they are connected I'll describe the head and crown with the ears; The head should be strong, bold, and broad, with well developed cheeks set well into the shoulders.
The ears are broad, thick, well furred and rounded at the ends. They are carried close to the cheeks giving a horseshoe like shape when viewed from the front. The inside of the ears should not be visible from any angle when carried correctly.
The crown, which is the basal ridge of each ear, should be prominent across the top of the skull.
The eyes should be bold and bright.
The accepted colors of the Cashmere and Mini Cashmere Lop are as follows:
The coat of the Cashmere lop is his crowning glory; it should have a good density without seeming too wooly.
The topcoat of the Lop should be heavier than the undercoat, as well as noticeably longer.
When the coat is in full length and good condition, it should be roughly 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length and should hang naturally.
While a few stray white hairs are merely a fault in solid colored rabbits, any kind of waviness in the coat is a disqualification from the show table.
The BRC breed standard requirements are:
It has been observed that, for some reason, the longer haired, smaller breeds of rabbit are enjoying a much longer lifespan than other shorter haired, larger rabbits.
The average age range of a cashmere lop and mini cashmere lop is between 8 to 12 years.
If housed indoors, fed the proper diet, careful handling and general care, your cashmere companions will probably reach their teenage years!
Keeping the Cashmere as a Pet
Cashmere and Mini Cashmere Lops make excellent pets for older children and adults alike.
They are bright and engaging, often capable of learning their own names and quick to greet people that they recognize.
Most enjoy being held and stroked, making them a great little companion pet.
Also nice, is that they don't require as much space as some of the larger breeds.
Cashmeres make excellent indoor or outdoor pets, provided they are placed in a safe and secure environment.
The cashmere and miniature cashmere lop were bred purely for their unique looks.
They have now found their rightful place at the show table and breeders all agree that with their playful, friendly and intelligent natures, they make ideal pets and companion rabbits.
Finally, a reason to breed rabbits for the right purpose!
The cashmere and the miniature cashmere lop are not endangered or rare, and despite the fact that they are a relatively new breed, their popularity is increasing exponentially, with new registered breeders popping up all over the place.
They are a regular, and very popular feature on the show table and quite often win the top prizes.
Before choosing to raise this particular breed of rabbit, it's important to know that they can be quite a bit of work, particularly when they are younger. Up until the rabbit reaches about 5 months of age, their coats have a strong tendency to knot and become matted unless you groom them regularly. This will require a wire comb that is suitable for long-haired dogs and cats and your own fingers.
One of the most important aspects about grooming the Cashmere Lop rabbit is to realize that you don't want to comb all the density out of their undercoat. Combs should only be used to help gently break apart mats and tangles - you shouldn't use it to thin out the coat. The density of your rabbit's coat, combined with the longer silky guard hairs are what give the Cashmere his unique "poured on from above" appearance. Because of the difficulties with fur quality in young Cashmeres, many breeders don't start exhibiting them until their adult coats come in.
Caring for the adult Cashmere should only require a weekly grooming and keeping his nails properly trimmed. Plucking out any dead hair or tangles will help keep your Cashmere Lop beautiful and comfortable.
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
Cashmere Rabbit Breeders - locate Cashmere breeders using the online rabbit breeders directory, search or submit your own rabbitry.
The National Cashmere Lop Club - responsible for the preservation and promotion of the Cashmere and Miniature Cashmere in the United Kingdom.
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