Photographer Andres Serrano has captured the wild and woolly wonder of Angora rabbits for a New York Times article that took a look into the world of show bunnies during the National Angora Show (“the Westminster for Angoras”) in Palmyra, New York.
At rabbit shows, Angoras compete within their four recognized breeds — English, French, satin and giant — and are further classed by color, age and sex. A judge scrupulously inspects each rabbit, stroking and kneading it, flipping it over on the judging table, comparing its characteristics to the ideal described by the American Rabbit Breeders Association’s “Standard of Perfection.” These include length, size and body type (ideally, for an English Angora, “between a cantaloupe and a basketball,” according to Eng-Link, and “nicely fleshed” — that is, not too bony); proportionality of the head and ears; density of the ear cartilage; alignment of the teeth; color of the toenails. Most important, judges examine the quality of the animal’s wool, which should be lustrous and even and “have a good hand,” as fanciers put it — plusher than plush, but also “alive,” and springy. Only in the world of competitive Angora breeding is “cottony” a disparagement; if your bunny feels merely as soft as cotton, you’re a failure.
photos by Andres Serrano