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Name can be deceiving when it comes to Giants

DUNCAN  In the world of rabbits, they cast an imposing shadow, but in Tonya Wright-Taylor's view, their name doesn't necessarily match their docile nature.

"Flemish Giants are the biggest of all rabbits, but their size doesn't reflect how enjoyable they can be," Wright-Taylor said Saturday during the second day of the Stephens County Rabbit Breeders Association Triple Show.

"I like to call them 'Gentle Giants,' because they are super friendly and are very good pets."

Owner of Tonya's Bunnies in Breckenridge, Texas, Wright-Taylor won a couple awards showing Flemish Giants in Saturday's competition at Stephens County Fair & Expo Center. She was 3 years old when her mother began breeding, showing and selling the huge rabbits, and Wright-Taylor has been hooked on the breed ever since.

"My mom raised both Flemish Giants and giant chinchillas, but I was drawn to the Flemish rabbits. I've been raising and showing them for 40 years, and I've been able to help a lot of people get started raising them," she said.

"Raising them is more than a hobby for me, because the shows are pretty competitive and I like the competition. But mainly, I want to get more people into raising these gentle giants, who can be very good pets."

Flemish Giants first appeared in Flanders in the 16th century and are believed to have descended from other meat and fur rabbit breeds. Often three to five times larger than an average rabbit breed, the Flemish has a friendly nature that contradicts its imposing size.

"Flemish are super friendly, and they get along with other animals very well," Wright-Taylor said. "You can raise them with a dog or a cat and (the rabbits) will take on the characteristics of the dog or cat. The rabbit and a dog or cat will form a very copacetic relationship.

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