The odds were always going to favor the Swedes; after all, the sport originated in the small southern town of Varalov in the 1970s, and Swedes have been breeding show-jumping rabbits since the 1980s. Today, close to 1,000 active bunny jumpers can find at least one competition somewhere in the country most weekends, and there are two national championships a year. The U.K., on the other hand, hosts just a handful of competitions a year and is home to only about 10 rabbit jumpers.
In Sweden, where the fluffy competitors train for up to two hours a day, there is an established network of breeders who are always looking for talent. “Our bunnies are so used to competing, so they know what to do,” Ms. Hedlund says.
Choosing the right breed of rabbit is also important. Sweden’s 200 or so breeders are experimenting widely, and charge more—up to 1,500 kronor ($225)—for a rabbit with prizewinning parentage.
“You want mini lop for the cool and positive attitude and hare for the bigger size and long back legs,” Ms. Hedlund says. “But you don’t want too much temperament; you’d want a mix of a cool and a competitive attitude.”
Here is more, and it goes without saying, interesting throughout! And the sport is supposed to be good for the animals. For the pointer I thank Richard Herron.
p.s. Not all is well in Kaninland:
Despite their dominance of the sport, Swedish bunnies are bested by their Danish neighbors when it comes to world records. In 1999, a Danish rabbit called Yaboo set the world long-jump record when he flew over a three-meter, or nearly 10-feet, hurdle, while his compatriot Tösen bounced 99.5 centimeter, or about 40 inches, to nab the high-jump record in 1997.
Addendum: Photos and video here.