11/08/1982 at 01:00 AM EST
Rabbit breeders like to joke that 500 bunnies enter their shows—and 5,000 win prizes. But there was no hanky-panky among the 925 pedigreed rabbits and 64 cavies (guinea pigs) that gathered recently in York, Pa. Kept in separate cages, they were on their best behavior for the Eastern Rabbit and Cavy Fanciers Association Convention—one of the largest of the more than 1,500 regional shows held each year in the U.S. The Oscars of rabbitdom—the American Rabbit Breeders Association show—will be held in Seattle this month.
There are 42 registered bunny breeds in the U.S., ranging from the commonplace New Zealand rabbit to more exotic kinds like White Nether-land Dwarfs, Flemish Giants and Chinchilla Satins. Contestants are judged on qualities ranging from eye and toenail color to litheness of leg, and a prizewinning best-of-breed can sell for as much as $1,500. "There's a close-knit feeling," says Indiana breeder Bob Byrne of his fellow bunny fanciers. "We compete at these shows, but it's not a rabbit-eat-rabbit kind of thing."