~My Little Sweetie Rabbitry~

~ Color Genetics ~

Can you tell what color these kits are?

Color genetics has been one of the most fun parts about raising rabbits for me.  I love to study the way the different gene combinations affect the way color is displayed in the rabbits fur.  It's truly amazing and so much fun to play with.  After you learn the basics, you can put together sample rabbits' colors and then see what they could create in colors if they were bred.  This is a fabulous tool when you want to keep certain color genes in your rabbitry or if you want to get certain kinds out.

Part One

There are five basic sets of genes.  I say sets because each type gets one from the buck and one from the doe making a set of two alleles in for each gene. 

Dominant genes: A- Agouti (banded) B- Base Black C- Saturation of Color (full color) D-Dilution (full) E- Extension (complete)
what does this mean: an agouti rabbit has bands of color and bands of the base color on each hair shaft.... The base color is black and creates black bands on the fur mixed with color... The natural coloring of brown is in full color on its bands... The black is black and is not diluted to a lighter color... The color extends all the way to the end of the fur...
What does this rabbit look like? Chestnut color and a white belly and light eye circles Black bands Chestnut is nice and deep in color black is black, brown is brown the bands start at the base and go all the way to the end of each hair shaft.
What color is that? CHESTNUT AGOUTI
Recessive genes: a- self (unbanded) b- chocolate c- no saturation of any color d- diluted color e- non-extension
What does this mean? No bands of color, solid color possible undercoat of a different color Black is now Chocolate The rabbit is entirely white with no saturation of color at all black to blue, and chocolate to lilac the true color of the fur does not extend to the end, instead another color finishes
What would this rabbit look like?     Red eyed White rabbit    
Why is it just white?     without saturation of any color, none of the genetically coded color can be seen....but it's still there :)    
What if we take away the c gene? self- a single colored rabbit... would be chocolate, but.... (not included) chocolate is diluted to lilac :) non-extension of the lilac color turns this rabbit into a tort...a lilac tort
Let's put them together... Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee
  Again, we have a chestnut agouti, all the gene sets have dominant genes which get to express them selves.  The recessive genes are hidden behind the dominant genes and only express themselves if this rabbit breeds with another rabbit and their kits get two recessive alleles for one gene set....like this...
  Aa Bb Cc dd Ee
So how does this look? agouti banding black full color OH, not black,  blue! color extends to the end
What color rabbit is an agouti with blue instead of black and fawn instead of chestnut?


How did this happen? When the doe and the buck's genes were matched for this kit, both the doe and the buck gave the kit the d allele making dd for that gene set.  This caused dilution of color, black to blue and chestnut to fawn.
Let's try another... Aa bb Cc Dd Ee
  agouti banding chocolate full color no dilution extended
What color rabbit has banding of chestnut and chocolate?


One more... aa Bb Cc dd Ee
  solid color Black full color black turned to blue extended
What color rabbit is one solid color, and blue?



Part Two

OK,  now that you understand the very basics of rabbit color genetics, agouti and self colored rabbits. let's talk about some of the more exciting color genes that can really change the look of your bunny's coat.

Probably the most interesting colors are results of the C gene group.  There are actually 5 different alleles in the saturation genes and they all create a different effect on your bunny's coloring.

Lets look at C C- full color cchd- chinchilla dark cchl- chinchilla light ch- himi c- no color
so what do they do? as we know is full color means the color looks the way it was meant to look this allele will remove any yellow making brown bands white giving you a black and white banded bunny the yellow is removed as well, but from the body mainly leaving the head and feet and tail darker than the rest- this is called sable himilayan colored rabbits are pure white with dark color on their ears nose and feet you already know c makes it impossible to see color at all and is creater of REWs.
  to be continued    

Gold Tipped Opal Agouti Steel

Opal Steel or Blue Agouti Steel is an agouti ringed color with the Es gene.  The gene set is A-B-C-dd-Es- .  The steel gene makes the belly, undertail, and eye circles the same as the base color, in this case blue or opal.  The rings are: Slate blue, golden fawn, blue, and gold tipping.  The picture above is Trinity's fur at 3 months old.



Rabbit Related Links

Our English Lops Rabbit Color Genetics
Litters In Memory Of
Available Rabbits Rabbitry Blog
Upcoming Shows Rabbit Care Guide and Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Us Back to My Little Sweetie