Horses like to jump and race, while dogs practice agility and other sports. Even cats have been known to show an athletic streak! But what about bunnies? We have all seen some pretty impressive bunny hops, but nothing is quite like the sport known as "Kaninhop." It's a bit like horse show-jumping, but for rabbits.
Picture the obstacles you would see at a horse show--and then make them mini. Kaninhop has been around since the 1980s, and its first national championship was in 1987. The Swedish developed the unique animal sport and most competitions are held in Europe. Yes, there are competitions! These adorable little fur balls get to take home ribbons for putting in a great day of jumping.
Recently, one Kaninhopper showed the TikTok universe exactly what her little bunnies can do. Danish native Tanja Bergh-Pedersen and her husband, Nicky, breed and train rabbits for competitions. According to their website, Tanja got her first rabbit, Ninu, when she was 5 years old. Her love of bunnies has only grown since! In addition to competing, Tanja is a show judge, and Nicky is the Storstroms Rabbit Breeder Association chairman. On her TikTok page, @unikinkaniner, Tanja works with one of her bunnies, making jumping over obstacles look easy.
The video montage is a mashup of clips from three different rabbits, but all of them are expert jumpers. All three bunnies sail over the sets of obstacles like they aren't even there. While bunnies have a natural jumping instinct, they need training to compete in Kaninhop competitions, especially if they want to win. Tanja has an entire wall of ribbons she showcases in a follow-up video.
Her bunnies are certainly impressive! Many viewers are interested in how the process works, especially since the rabbits are wearing harnesses in the first video and are on a lead. When they compete, however, they do so without the harness and leash. Tanja explains how training works in the comment section of another video.
"My rabbits have been bred for it for many generations over the last 20 years, so it lies to their nature in a different way. Remember the jump must be able to fall down so she (the rabbit) does not get hurt and hit herself and as time goes on and it becomes easier and more natural for her, then you can increase the height," she explained. "When she get the point and walks forward, then you can start showing her a little jump where she needs to go over maybe 5 cm."
Tanja likens it to training a puppy to walk by your side. However, she points out that with rabbits, you do not walk alongside them; they walk in front of you. She suggests starting your rabbit out on a harness first so there is a little more control, and you can have them walk between poles until they get the hang of it. I can barely get one of my lionheads to use his litter box, so I don't think Kaninhop is in his future. Still, the rabbits of UniKin are an inspiring bunch!
Do you think your rabbit has jumping potential? Show us on our Wide Open Pets Instagram!
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