A Szekler man has created new animal breeds. He has been interested in genetics from a young age and now is working on creating animals that people have never heard of.
Zsigmond Rákossy was only 10 years old when his family moved to the countryside. They started to keep animals at the house. He became interested in genetics during his studies and soon after he conceived the idea of creating a new animal breed.
“I am convinced that breeding is like art: you invent and create something, not just on canvas, but in real life. Everything is in constant dynamics if one knows how to play with genes.”- he told maszol.ro.
He went on to study veterinary medicine. He wrote his thesis about genetics and in 2011 he already made his first creation, a black rabbit. At his house, the rabbit, the dog, the sheep, and the poultry are all considered Szekler. At first, nobody took his plan seriously. Today, he has many animals and is currently working on new breeds.
Rákossy created his Szekler rabbits by mixing breeds either with chinchillas or other rabbits. However, rabbits from the Szekler region provided the base for all his creations.
Szekler rabbits are in fact black sallanders, blue sallanders, and Havana sallanders. They have black, blue-grey, or beige colors. A fourth color that Rákossy has been currently working on is the purple sallander. The new breed will prove to be successful if the colors are passed down to the next generation of rabbits.
Rákossy was working on his project for 3 or 4 years. He did not receive support from anyone. Moreover, people thought that his ideas were crazy. In 2016, he finally received some credits for his efforts at an exhibition in Bucharest. Now, he is preparing for another exhibition in Luxembourg which will be held in 2022. The breed standards of Szekler rabbits have been published in the Romanian and Hungarian standard books.
The rabbits are kept in their natural habitat as much as it is possible. Rákossy said that it interferes with the natural selection if the animals are way too protected. It can lead to quality decrease. He has currently 80 rabbits, but in the past he even had 150-200. There are new litters 2 or 3 times a year. A rabbit can give birth to offsprings 5 times a year, but Rákossy does not let that happen in order to ensure that only the healthiest rabbits are born. An ideal rabbit weighs 5 or 6.5 kilograms. Unfortunately, these animals are not pets but they are bred for consumption. Nowadays, 50 official breeders have Szekler rabbits, a breed whose creation took up 6 years.
Rákossy also created Szekler, bald-necked, viador-type poultry. However, this breed is not for consumption. This breed is a “rustic-style ornamental animal” which comes in yellow and blue colors. The development of a Szekler dog breed is also in process but it takes a longer time. The goal is to have a dog breed that fits he local needs so people do not have buy imported dogs. He also entertained the idea of creating a Szekler pigeon, but as he said, “a man has to know his limits”.