Breeder produces world's fluffiest bunnies

Breeder produces world's fluffiest bunnies
Breeder produces world's fluffiest bunnies

BUNNY breeder Betty Chu is the proud owner of the world's furriest rabbits - whose hair can measure almost 15 INCHES long.

The 70-year-old has dedicated the last 34 years to producing prize-winning English angora rabbits.

She lives with 50 of them at her home in San Jose, California, and is so dedicated she hasn't holidayed with her husband since 1992.

Betty said: "I was introduced to the rabbits through a friend and as soon as I saw them I fell in love and knew I had to have them."

Betty, who is part of the Northern California Angora Guild, competes at up to 50 shows a year.

She is the undisputed queen of the angora category, with countless best-in-show awards to her name.

But she really hit headlines when her top rabbit Franchesca (ok) entered the Guinness Book of World Records last year as the rabbit with the longest hair in the world - measuring 14.37in.

"I'm honoured to be in the Guinness Book of World Records but my most important goal is simply to breed the best English angora rabbits in the world. 

"For me it is even more important to keep my rabbits in top shape so they are competitive on the rabbit show circuit," said Betty, former professor emeritus of economics at San Jose State University.

She added: "Angora rabbits can grow their fur very long but it takes a lot of work to get there.

"You need to have the right genetics; not all angora rabbits have the ability to grow and maintain a long coat.

"Next you need to take very good care. The owner needs to be very vigilant in keeping the rabbit well-maintained and in good condition.

"I use a blower to blow out the fur and then use a brush to groom them. If you are serious about being in the shows then it is preferable to do this everyday. 

"I normally show 8-12 rabbits at any given time, meaning I have to groom 8-12 rabbits every single day.

"A high-quality rabbit will grow about an inch a month."

Recently Franchesca (ok) has had her fur trimmed down in order to produce the next generation of prize-winning bunnies.

"In order for Franchesca (ok) to become a mother she has to be able meet a boyfriend," Betty said. 

"Unfortunately the boyfriend does not have the right equipment to find her hidden treasure when she has her long coat - so she has to go naked in order to be sexy."

The keen knitter uses the fur to make scarves, mittens and sweaters to sell at shows.

And despite the hours of love and affection she showers on her fuzzy pets, she maintains her husband Albert, a former PHD level computer scientist, doesn't get jealous.

She says he even enjoys helping out by building hutches, fences and feeding them when she is away.

However, it has taken its toll on their holiday plans.

She added: "The last time we went out of town on vacation and it was just the two of us was 1992 - because one of us has to stay home to look after the rabbits.

"I will never take a break from them. They come with me wherever I go."

Angora rabbits were originally bred for their long soft fur. There are four breeds recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders' Association: English, French, Giant and Satin.

The English variety are capable of growing the longest fur, with the average rabbit living between seven and 12 years.