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A Summary of Rabbit Color Code Genetics

Information By - Dr. Katrin Becker
An Illustrated Guide to Rabbit Coat Colour Genetics
Visit Dr. Katrin Becker's Web Site, Click Here.

Color Code Summary:

Fundamental Pigments: Black & Yellow (red)

All genes come in pairs. If both genes of a pair are the same,
it is said to be homozygous for that trait.

Genotype refers to the gene itself, while phenotype refers to
what we can see. Sometimes a phenotype will imply a certain
combination of genes but the actual genotype is different.
The best way to discover an animal's genotype is through test
breeding with an animal whose genotype is known.



What gives the Rex its remarkable coat?

Rex rabbits have the same double coat as other rabbits, it's just that their guard hairs are the same length as the undercoat (usually the outer coat is longer). This has several effects:

The outercoat does not hold the undercoat down and the entire pelt appears to stand on end. In fact, a coat that lies flat is a fault in a Rex.
The coat has an amazingly plush feel - these really are velveteen rabbits.
The guard hairs carry the same amount of colour as a regular length hair but they are considerably shorter. This means that the colour of the hair appears more intense. Contrast that with long-coated rabbits like the angora when the same amount of colour is spread out over a MUCH longer hair; these rabbits always appear to have pale colours.

Gene Labels:

There are 5 main groups of color genes, each controlling a different aspect of the color and markings. The genes within each group are listed in decreasing order of dominance. A Capital letter denotes a dominant gene.

PATTERNS [A / at / a ]

Agouti is the basic "wild" color. Hairs on different parts of the body are colored differently, but will have three-five different colored bands on each hair. This pattern looks different on a Rex because of the shorter hairs. The bands are smaller and the colors appear more intense.

A = Agouti ["wild" color; multi-banded hair shaft]

at = Tan [giving tan or "otter" markings]
a = Self [solid color]

COLOR:

B = Black
b = Chocolate

SHADING:

[Controls the amount of pigment in the hair; relative
amounts shown as units of black 'B' and yellow( or red) 'Y' color.
Imagine that the total amount of pigment in hair is the same for
all hairs. As a result, shorter hairs appear darker (and also why
long-haired varieties look faded). This explains the shading pattern found in seals, sables, torts, and the pointed colors.]

C = Normal [BBBBYYY]

cchd = Dark Chinchilla [BBBBY--]
cchl = Light Chinchilla [ shaded : seal & sable] [BB-----]
ch = Himalayan [BB-----]
c = White [Albino : absence of color] [-------]

DILUTION:

[Controls the "intensity" of the color:
a diluted black is a blue, and a diluted brown is a lilac]
D = Full Strength

EXTENSION:

[Controls the presence, and extent of black on tips
of hair and in under color]
Ed = Dominant
Es = Steel
[ not accepted in REX; causes the black on the hair to be extended, often covering the middle band with dark. For a picture of a steel castor, see "Dazzle"]
E = Normal
ej = Japanese
[ not accepted in REX [excpet for tri-color]; responsible for harlequin patterns]
e = Non-Extension [necessary for Red]

WHITE MARKINGS:

(called "broken")
En = Broken Pattern

en = Self [Normal]
{there are others but they are not significant in Rex}

White markings fall into 3 categories:
enen = solid colored; no white
Enen = Broken, usually 10-90% color
EnEn = "Charlie", usually 10% color, typically around the eyes,
ears, and down the center back

 

 
     


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