There certainly weren’t ever any bad hare days for Franchesca the rabbit. That’s because the white fluffy English Angora holds the record title for the longest fur on a rabbit.
The cottontail, which belonged to Betty Chu of Morgan Hill, California, had fur measuring 36.5 cm (14.37 in) on 17 August 2014.
Although she is no longer with us, Betty says, Franchesca left quite an impact during her time on Earth.
“Franchesca was born in my home at Morgan Hill, California,” said Betty. She lived with me all her life.”
Together, Franchesca and Betty made a scheduled appearance on NBC, appeared on The Steve Harvey Show, and travelled to Forth Worth, Texas, to compete in a rabbit convention, as well as many rabbit shows.
The seven-pound rabbit even won the English Angora Best of Breed award 41 times and advanced to the Best in Show on 20 different occasions.
But what made Franchesca’s fur different from other rabbits?
“Her wool was easy to care for; beautiful, soft, and gorgeous,” said Betty, adding, “When I eventually gave her a haircut, her wool was hand-spun and hand-knitted into a beautiful scarf.”
Franchesca was specifically bred not to molt, which is why she could hold on to her wool for a long time, allowing it to reach its tremendous length.
Betty says aside from good genetics via careful selective breeding playing into Franchesca’s gorgeous coat, meticulous grooming and good nutrition was also a vital part.
Franchesca was fed a mix of rabbit pellets, bread, fruits, and vegetables. She also had a healthy routine, including being fed at 9 a.m., being groomed, cleaned, exercised, and fed again at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., right before bedtime.
Betty says she did not breed Franchesca with the intent of setting a world record but as a show rabbit instead.
“I received an email from the Guinness World Records headquarters in the UK inviting me to apply for the record with a minimum length requirement of nine inches on a rabbit,” said Betty.
The reason why it was nine inches, I was told, was because that was the record for the longest fur on a cat at the time.
Betty then invited her veterinarian, Dr. Pete Keesling, and two top rabbit breeders, Kathi Groves and Jeannie McDevitt, as witnesses to measure the length of Franchesca’s wool.
“Dr. Keesling measured 10 different pieces of her wool and each measurement was videotaped and photographed,” she said. The average of these 10 measurements came to 36.5 cm or 14.37 inches. Betty was elated when Franchesca was recognized for the record title.
“When the time came, Guinness World Records published the 2016 book and put it on the website as the lead record of that year,” she said. “I informed my friends via my club blog and other means.”
By the time the record was revealed, Franchesca was already a busy mom, raising her young.
Today, Betty remembers her dear Franchesca by her descendants, whom she is currently raising. She also fondly remembers cuddling, grooming, and winning many shows with Franchesca.
“She was a sweet pet that was loved by me and my family,” said Betty.