Care and Management of Rabbits/Chapter 23
A pedigree is merely a systematic record of the ancestry of a given specimen. As originally planned the pedigree system was of great benefit and value in arriving at the breeding value of the individual. Some form of pedigreeing is practised by all live stock breeders, most of whom have a stud book or breed book in which such records are kept.
The official charged with the keeping of these records is generally the secretary of the breed association. In the case of rabbits, several of the different breeds have their own records, but the National Breeders and Fanciers Association, which is made up of all classes of breeders, maintains the breed books which are generally recognized as authoritative.
Pedigree blanks may be purchased of any supply dealer. They are a simple affair, merely containing a space for the name of the animal, the date of its birth, to whom sold, by whom, and the names of its sire and dam, grandsires and grandams. At least three generations are necessary before the animal can be registered and where it is possible to obtain more of a pedigree, so much the better.
The value of the pedigree is still greater if it contains some sort of a record of the performance of each individual such as show records or breeding records, but it is hard for one to obtain such a minute record from the average breeder. In other branches of live stock breeding you will find more careful records kept along this line.
In keeping an intelligent pedigree record it is necessary to give each rabbit in your breeding hutches a name or a number and to keep a record of the performance of each individual. There is such a demand for pedigrees at the present time that many breeders are merely "feeding the public" with pedigrees with high sounding names and passing off inferior stock. But where the rules of the National Association are followed and the pedigree has something besides a name behind it, it is the most valuable aid known in making progress in the matter of intelligent breeding.
All rabbits should be marked in order to prevent confusion or mistake. There are a number of rabbit markers on the market, ranging from ear tags to stencil tattooing outfits. It is needless to say that a number stenciled in the rabbit's ear with indelible ink is better than anything else. It is there to stay and there is no opportunity of fraud.
Many breeders have their own pedigree blanks printed, and if you buy from a recognized breeder you will get these blanks containing the pedigree of your animals. A pedigree, after all, is worth only the record of the blood in your stock, and if that blood is the best in fame and performance then the value of your pedigrees will be increased manyfold.
But keep a record, else you work around in a circle or in the dark. Intelligent records are the best aid of the careful breeder.