Jersey Wooly Rabbit

  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
  • YEAR RECOGNIZED: 1988
  • USES: Pet, show
  • WEIGHT: 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) max., senior bucks and does
  • BODY TYPE: Compact
  • FUR TYPE: Wool; slightly coarse with abundant guard hairs

colors:

Agouti Group — chestnut, chinchilla, opal, squirrel

Pointed — white body with black or blue markings on nose, ears, feet, and tail

Broken — any recognized breed variety in conjunction with white

Self — black, blue, blue-eyed white, chocolate, lilac, ruby-eyed white

Shaded — blue tortoiseshell, sable point, seal, Siamese sable, smoke pearl, tortoiseshell

Tan Pattern — black otter, blue otter, sable marten, silver marten, smoke pearl marten

LIKE THE CALIFORNIAN AND THE FLORIDA WHITE, the Jersey Wooly invokes the name of an American state, or at least part of it. The breed originated with Bonnie Seeley of High Bridge, New Jersey, who wanted a small wooled breed with an easy-care coat for the pet trade. Angoras, of course, are wooly, but Angora coats are anything but easy to maintain, and even the English Angora was almost twice the size of what Ms. Seeley had envisioned.

Seeley began a breeding program in the 1970s, eventually using Netherland Dwarfs, Angoras, Chinchillas, and an unusually small Silver Marten. She had considerable difficulty downsizing the wooly rabbits sufficiently, but perseverance eventually resulted in a new breed of dwarf size, wooly coat, and friendly disposition. The Jersey Wooly was recognized by the ARBA in 1988.

The Jersey Wooly has a coat composed of dominant guard hairs over a layer of crimped underwool. That combination makes a coat of somewhat coarse texture with a healthy luster, a recipe for easy grooming. The wool forms side trimmings of longer fur on the animal’s head, which is capped with shorter wool forward from the ears.