Animal fancy isn't a slang term or a weird fetish of some kind - it is an age-old hobby that has reached enormous proportions due to the introduction of professional competitions and more. Animal fancy is, basically, a name used to describe the process of promoting the breeding of pets or domesticated animals through the process of appreciation or promotion. Around the world, there are different kinds of competitions that have started to aid people who spend their days working on this hobby, so much so that there is almost a professional scene out there, of people who are involved in this hobby.
There are many people who like to keep or maintain these animals in their own homes or on their farms. They breed these animals and even sell them to collectors, but their primary goal is to refine the genealogy of these animals by pairing animals with strong genes. This leads to a long and careful process of selective breeding that leads to better and more defined features in those animals, which are later judged in competitions.
How it Began
To tell you the truth, there is no record of when the whole idea of animal fancy came into existence. There are, however, many records of when some of the oldest formal institutions, dealing with the concept of animal shows and animal fancy, have come into existence. The largest cat fancy organization in the United Kingdom, known as a the Governing Council of Cat Fancy, began in 1910 and has about 146 affiliated cat clubs that are a part of it today, issuing about 30,000 pedigrees every year.
The Cat Fanciers Association in the United States has been around since 1906 and organizations like the American Poultry Associations have been around for donkeys' years, working their magic in protecting and preserving breeds and breeding lines in order to continue their existence in our society for years to come. These are just a couple of examples from a hobby that has spread out into many animal species including rats, guinea pigs, birds, dogs, pigs, horses and more.
Getting into Animal Fancy
The first and most important thing to know before you hop into the animal fancy mode is that this is not easy! It is a very serious hobby where you are dealing with the lives of animals and you need to be on top of things all the time! Whether you are thinking about going professional with it or not, you need to ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to take care of the animal species you are looking at. Once you have that information at your finger-tips, you need to start going about setting up your home or farm for the job.
Depending on the kind of animal you are planning to breed, your setup requirements will be quite different and unique. For dogs, you would need something like a kennel to house each dog, giving them enough space to move around and have enough freedom. They would need regular exercise and a high quality of food that cannot be something out of a packet. On top of that, you would need to give them regular baths and, more importantly, brush their coat with regularity and keep them clean and free of infections.
This is just for dogs - for other animals, the requirements would change drastically. However, irrespective of the kind of animal you plan to breed, the hobby of animal fancy is all about showing them off and from cows to goats to turkeys, you will need to prepare yourself for different kinds of competitions.
The Fun Part
Taking care of animals requires dedication and effort but once you are in the zone, the next thing is to take them out to a competition and show them off. Grooming your animals and making sure that their coats or feathers are in order, is just one of the ways of preparing them for the competition. The preparation will depend on the kind of competition you are entering as well. Competitions where you are just showing off your animals may not require too much training except, maybe, the basic tricks that one might expect to see.
However, if your animal knows a few things extra, then you can look into some of the other competitions that include talent shows or obstacle courses. Animal fancy is very different from something like greyhound racing or horse racing in that the animals aren't tested for their physical strength, even though that may be a judging criteria. The more important criterion for judgement is always based around the appearance of the animal and the quality of the breed.
By taking care of your animal and by getting them registered with an animal fancy organization, not only do you get notifications for events like these, you also get your animal recorded and registered in their books. That allows people to track the history of your animals and follow the path of the gene pool down the ages. That is the primary reason why these animals are worth a lot more for people who wish to own them and make them a part of their lives.
Animal fancy is a hobby that requires a lot of hard work and is an extremely serious way to spend time with animals. However, if you are looking for a rewarding way of spending your time with creatures that you adore, then animal fancy is just the hobby you need in your life.