Blanc de Hotot Rabbit – information and facts about the Blanc de Hotot Rabbit Breed. Learn more about Blanc de Hotot Rabbits in this article. Breed photos are included.
We love pandas for their black body, white head and black eye circles feature. What about white rabbits with black eye circles? Will we find them equally cute as pandas?
Interestingly, people all over the globe love this rabbit breed. It’s nothing else but the Blanc de Hotot Rabbits. Despite its declining number, Blanc de Hotots remain to be appreciated for their unique look that makes them easily identifiable.
Now, if you’re wondering why they are called by the unique name ‘Blanc de Hotot’, it actually means ‘White of Hotot’ and it refers to the region where the breed was developed. I’ll discuss more about that in the historical origin of the breed below.
Also, “Hotot” is correctly pronounced “oh-toe”but in America you will hear it more often said “hoe-toe.”
Blanc de Hotot Rabbit Facts
The Blanc de Hotot rabbit breed is a 6 class, commercial type rabbit that produces meat. This rabbit breed usually produces 9-11 litters. Therefore, it’s important for them to have good mothering instincts with good milk production for the baby bunnies.
Eugenie Ernahrd, chatelaine du Calvados, developed it in Hotot-en-Auge, in Normandy near the port of LeHavre in northern France. She kept a large rabbitry made up of Flemish Giants and Giant Papillion Francais (Checkered Giants), and from this she came up with a new breed.
Interestingly, Bernhard’s goal for breeding just worked under the weather after some time – the meat and fur, with a white coat and black eyes. In the year 1902, she crossed the Papillion with White Vienna and White Flemish Giants. However, the progress towards her goal is very slow. As a result, she saved only the lightly marked animals that were the product of more than 500 crosses. And as the reward for her time and effort to wait for her goal to finally happen, in the year 1912, she was able to successfully breed the rabbit that we have today.
The black bands around their eyes already became their signature feature. The first time it was introduced to the rabbit community is as a Giant Blanc de Hotot in the 1920 Exposition Internationaled’Aviculture in Paris. Briskly 2 years after that, in October 13, 1922, the Blanc de Hotot was recognized as a breed by the French rabbit governing body. It was the first international recognition on the existence of the rabbit breed.
In the French standardization of the Blanc de Hotot’s classification, there is no mention of eye bands. Instead, they referred to the black area as ‘black eyelashes and lower eyelids that were more or less colored gray’. Right on the year of French acknowledgment, the Blanc de Hotot was brought to America around 1921-1922, but they soon died out. 5 years later, in 1927, Switzerland imported the breed and the Swiss love the eye markings. When the World War II broke, the Blanc de Hotot almost vanished in the countries France, Holland (now Netherlands) and Germany.
In 1978, Bob Whitman, a resident of Texas, imported 9 Blanc de Hotots. Consequently, ARBA recognized the rabbit breed on March 5, 1979. Bob Whitman is elemental in the development and mainstreaming of Blanc de Hotot in America. Breeders responded to the fact that Blanc de Hotots have a very small gene pool as well as the body type of the breed that they claim needs improvement. Because of this, rabbit breeders started to cross the Blanc de Hotots with White New Zealands, Blue-Eyed White Beverens, as well as the Satins. In 2004, additional Blanc de Hotots were imported into this country from UK, Germany and Holland. It is to be noted that these are the very same countries that almost lost their Blanc de Hotot breeds at the height of the World War II.
It’s also important to note that Blanc de Hotot is recognized by ARBA by the name that it is today. But in the 1986 Standard of Perfection, the breed is just printed as “Hotot”, for some unknown reasons. This is probably because most breeders forget the part “Blan de”. They would often just call the breed Standard or Large Hotots. Indeed, it was him who championed the name change of the breed back to its original name in 2006.
In order for the breed to survive, they need to be commercially appealing. The rabbit enthusiasts themselves are looking for ways to ensure the provision of a gene pool that is needed to be healthy and productive. This is massively due to the fact that Blanc de Hotot is considered as ‘globally endangered’.
The Blanc de Hotot breed is a large, six-class rabbit with bucks weighing 8 to 10 pounds and does 9 to 11 pounds, respectively.
Blanc deHotots are large white rabbits that are well known for having thin black bands around each of their eyes. Their remarkable black eye bands should not be over an eight to quarter of an inch wide. These bands give the rabbits the ‘appearance of fine spectacles around the eye’.
They have lustrous, rollback fur and a lot of guard hairs that give their fur an unusual frosty white sheen. Their body type is compact, thickset and rounded. In an effort to improve the body type of Blanc de Hotot, it was crossed with other breeds. However, the frostiness of the fur could hardly be found. Sometimes, the does have dewlaps. But if the dewlaps occur in bucks, they are being penalized for it in shows. The breed has a wide chest, short neck and well-muscled fore- and hind-quarters.
If you are familiar with the Dwarf Hotot, the Blanc de Hotot breed is the commercial-type version of it. And despite not being too common, Blanc de Hotot came earlier than the Dwarf Hotot. In comparison, Dwarf Hotots weigh only about 3 pounds, and also don’t have the frosty sheen of the fur. Both of the breeds show mismarked ‘sports’ in their litters. The difference though is that sports of the Dwarf Hotots are usually sold as pets, but the sports for the Blanc de Hotots are useful for meat as well.
They are an active, hardy breed and are easily raised in wire cages. They can be good mothers and can have good-sized litters.
Show quality Blanc de Hotots are white all over, with the exemption of the very dark brown eyes and narrow black ‘eyeglasses’, black eyelids and black eyelashes.
Today, Blanc de Hotots are considered ‘threatened’ by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy due to its small population both in United States as well as in abroad. Hopefully, rabbit breeders will find a way to ensure a healthy population for Blanc de Hotots, in order to prevent their nearing global extinction.