The Blanc de Hotot (pronounced Oh-Toe) is a singularly beautiful rabbit, with frosty white fur and black eyes, rimmed with black “spectacles” which give it a characteristic scholarly look. Developed in the Hotot-en-Auge region of France, it is also unique in being one of very few breeds developed entirely by a woman, rabbit breeding at the time being seen largely as the province of men.
Madame Eugenie Bernhard, chatelaine du Calvados, set about to create a large, totally white rabbit with black eyes. Historical records indicate she began her program in 1902, using Geant Papillion Francais and Flemish Giant rabbits, but these initial crosses were unsatisfactory. When she began concentrating on the Papillion using only lightly marked animals, she began to see some progress. The Blanc de Hotot we have today is the result of tremendous effort and dedication, and records show it took over 500 matings to produce the desired results.
The standard for the breed was officially recognized in 1922. During WWII, the breed nearly became extinct in France. Fortunately a few rabbits had been imported to Switzerland, and thrived there. Madame Bernhard had worked very hard to eliminate the colored eyebands on the Hotot, and while she was very nearly successful, the Swiss found the eyebands charming and kept the quality, which gives us the Hotot of today.
The Blanc de Hotot is a dual purpose breed, used for meat and fur. Adult bucks weigh, on average 8-10 lbs and adult does average 9-11lbs. Adult weight is reached at approximately 6 months.
I don't know who owns this lovely rabbit, but I'd love to give photo credit!
Marlene's litter, Dec 2007. Weaned 9, 3 bucks and 6 does, most of which are show quality
Ernie (who now lives at the Segwick County Zoo) trying out the first "Rabbit Tractor"