Rabbit Coat Colour Genetics

Written by Sarah Giers

Genetics are what make a rabbit, or any living organism, lookrepparttar way it does. It makes a rabbit be a certain size, be a certain colour, have a certain type of coat or ears, and more. This introduction, however, is just forrepparttar 116287 genetics concerningrepparttar 116288 coat colours of rabbits. Chromosomes and Genes

Chromosomes are strands of DNA that act as a map. They map out exactly howrepparttar 116289 rabbit will look. In each cell, inot includingrepparttar 116290 sex cells and red blood cells, a rabbit has 22 chromosomes. Each one of these pairs controls a different thing aboutrepparttar 116291 rabbit. For example, one might controlrepparttar 116292 rabbits gender, some control colour, others control fur. Each chromosome pair has two genes in it. These genes may berepparttar 116293 same, or they might be different, but there are always two (unless there is a genetic mutation, but we will not discuss that here). For example, a rabbit might have two genes for blue eyes. Conversely, a rabbit might have one gene for red eyes, and one gene for brown eyes.

If a rabbit has two ofrepparttar 116294 same type of genes in a certain chromosome pair, it is referred to as being homozygous for that particular gene. If it has two different genes in a certain chromosome pair, it is referred to as being heterozygous.

If a rabbit is heterozygous, one ofrepparttar 116295 genes is usually stronger thanrepparttar 116296 other. That means thatrepparttar 116297 stronger gene will berepparttar 116298 one to causerepparttar 116299 effect nrepparttar 116300 rabbit, andrepparttar 116301 weaker one will just hide, though it can still be passed on torepparttar 116302 rabbit's offspring. Stonger genes are referred to as being dominant, and weaker genes are called recessive. For example, if a rabbit had one gene for red eyes and one gene for brown eyes,repparttar 116303 rabbit would have brown eyes becauserepparttar 116304 gene for brown eyes is dominant torepparttar 116305 gene for red eyes. For a rabbit to have red eyes, it would have to be homozygous for red eyes, sincerepparttar 116306 gene for red eyes isrepparttar 116307 most recessive.

Sometimes certain genes are not really stronger or weaker than another. These genes are referred to as being incompletely dominant to each other. This means if two different genes that were incompletely dominant to each other were inrepparttar 116308 same rabbit,repparttar 116309 rabbit would have traits from both genes. In flowers, and example of an incompletely dominant gene can be found when you breed a white flower and a red flower and you get a pink flower.

Colour Genes

Each variety of rabbits requires many genes in order to lookrepparttar 116310 way they look. Certain genes are related, and they are all found onrepparttar 116311 same are ofrepparttar 116312 DNA strand. These groups of genes are called loci, or locus if it is just one.

You may have seen some genetics stuff written with a bunch of ABC's and other letters. Well, those are how various loci and genes are written. Genes have their own alphabet. Whenrepparttar 116313 "letters" ofrepparttar 116314 genetics alphabet are all put together, it is referred to asrepparttar 116315 rabbit's genotype. This is basically a list of allrepparttar 116316 colour genes that rabbit has, or at leastrepparttar 116317 ones that are important to understanding that particular variety.


The first "letter" inrepparttar 116318 genetics alphabet is "A." This determinesrepparttar 116319 basic pattern ofrepparttar 116320 rabbit. The genes are as follows:

A: Agouti Pattern - These rabbits have tan, white, or fawn markings onrepparttar 116321 belly, underside ofrepparttar 116322 tail, inside ofrepparttar 116323 feet and legs, insiderepparttar 116324 ears and nostrils, aroundrepparttar 116325 eyes, and inrepparttar 116326 shape of a triangle atrepparttar 116327 nape ofrepparttar 116328 neck. Onrepparttar 116329 body,repparttar 116330 fur has rings of different colours when you blow intorepparttar 116331 coat.

a(t): Tan Pattern - Like agouti pattern, these rabbits have tan, white, or fawn markings onrepparttar 116332 belly, underside ofrepparttar 116333 tail, inside ofrepparttar 116334 feet and legs, insiderepparttar 116335 ears and nostrils, aroundrepparttar 116336 eyes, and inrepparttar 116337 shape of a triangle atrepparttar 116338 nape ofrepparttar 116339 neck. However,repparttar 116340 body does not haverepparttar 116341 different colour rings when you blow intorepparttar 116342 coat.

a: Self Pattern - Each hair is a solid colour, and there are no tan, white, or fawn markings.


"B" isrepparttar 116343 next "letter". This "letter" tellsrepparttar 116344 rabbit how intenserepparttar 116345 colour ofrepparttar 116346 fur is. The genes are as follows:

B: Black - The rabbit is black based, meaningrepparttar 116347 base colour is black or blue.

Showing Rabbits

Written by Sarah Giers

So, you have either decided to raise rabbits or are considering it? That's wonderful! Rabbits are special creatures that will steal your heart in an instant, and nothing is more satisfying than seeing your hard work as a breeder who is trying to improverepparttar breed pay off when a home bred bunny wins a prize at a show. However, getting to that step requires some effort.


Before you get started, you obviously have to decide what breed of rabbit you wish to raise or show. Each breed of rabbit is a wonderful breed, and each has its good and bad points. Before choosing a breed, make a list of what you can realistically have and what you need. If you don't have much space, it might be best to get a smaller breed. If you want to use your rabbits for dual purpose showing and meat or fur, get a commercial breed such as New Zealand, Satin, Rex, or Californian. Ask yourselfrepparttar 116286 following questions:

1. How much space do I have to keep rabbits? 2. Do I just want to show, or do I want to use rabbits for meat and/or fur as well? 3. How will I get rid of my culls (the rabbits that you can't keep)? Will I sell them, give them away, use them for meat/fur? 4. How much of a challenge do I want? [Some breeds, such as marked breeds, are far more challenging than others]. 5. Do I want a lot of competition or do I want a rarer breed? 6. Do I want a laid back breed or a more energetic breed? 7. Do I want a breed that produces a small amount of babies per litter or a large amount? 8. Do I have time to spend on a lot of grooming or extra care? 9. What do I like? 10. Anything else you can think of.

One you've answered those questions, start researching breeds. Go to a local show [show dates and locations can be found by going to www.arba.net], and ask breeders about their breed. Watchrepparttar 116287 judging of breeds that you are interested in. Make sure to ask a lot of questions fromrepparttar 116288 breeders.


Once you've picked a breed, getrepparttar 116289 equipment you will need for it. Getrepparttar 116290 right size cage, food dish, and water dish or bottle. If it is a wooled (long-haired) breed, you will need a brush. You will need nail clippers as well. Talk to breeders of your breed and ask what, if any, special equipment or care your breed needs.


Once you've decided which breed to raise,repparttar 116291 fun really starts. Now you get to find a bunny or two! Go to breeders of your chosen breed and ask them to show you what to look for in a good show rabbit of that breed. Purchaserepparttar 116292 American Rabbit Breeders Association (here on out referred to asrepparttar 116293 "ARBA") Standard of Perfection which can be found at most shows, then study your breed's standard. Also look at general faults and disqualifications from competition. I can't emphasis enough how important knowledge of your chosen breed is.

Once you have a good understanding of your chosen breed, look for a reputable breeder. Said breeder will be glad to answer all your questions, will not have a problem with you getting a judge or registrar (or even another breeder ofrepparttar 116294 same breed) to evaluaterepparttar 116295 rabbit you wish to purchase, and will have healthy pedigreed rabbits. Make sure to getrepparttar 116296 best rabbits that you can afford. If you just want one or two rabbits to show, and don't wish to breed, it is a good idea to purchase a rabbit that is 4 to 7 months old, with a win or two to its name. If you wish to breed, purchasing a compatible pair or trio is usuallyrepparttar 116297 best way to go. I usually recommend getting a show quality buck (4 to 7 months) and proven producing breeding doe (7 months to 1 year) if you're getting a pair. For a trio, I recommend purchasing a show quality buck (4 to 7 months), a show quality doe (4 to 7 months), and a proven producing breeding quality doe (7 months to 1 year). That way you will have at least one rabbit to show until you have produced your own show bunnies.

Depending onrepparttar 116298 breed you have chosen,repparttar 116299 price for show and breeding quality rabbits can be anywhere from $10 to $200. Usually a decent quality show rabbit that is good enough to win a few classes and maybe even a variety (colour) win will cost between $20 and $50.

If you can, get some ofrepparttar 116300 food thatrepparttar 116301 rabbit is used to fromrepparttar 116302 breeder. That way you can transition it torepparttar 116303 new food. Make sure that you getrepparttar 116304 pedigree for each rabbit when you purchaserepparttar 116305 rabbit. Many people have purchased a rabbit withrepparttar 116306 promise thatrepparttar 116307 pedigree will be sent and never gotrepparttar 116308 pedigree. Note: Rabbits do not have to be pedigreed to be shown, but they do have to be pedigreed to be registered or to become a grand champion. Rabbits do not have to be registered to be shown or to produce show quality offspring.


When you get home, putrepparttar 116309 rabbit in its cage with some food and water, then leave it alone forrepparttar 116310 first day. The second day you can handle it some,repparttar 116311 third more, and gradually work up to more and more time handling it until your rabbit is used to you and trusts you.

Rabbits need fresh, clean water allrepparttar 116312 time. The cage and dishes should be cleaned frequently. The amount of food given to your rabbits will depend on its breed, age, and size. Be sure to askrepparttar 116313 original breeder about feeding.

Grooming is usually pretty easy. The nails should be kept trimmed, and occasional brushing may be required for short haired breeds (except Rex and Mini Rex, which can be groomed with a horse slick pumice block). Wooled breeds will need more frequent brushing. Loose hair on a short-haired rabbit (Rex and Mini Rex included) can be removed by dampening your hands with water until they are just sticky then running them throughrepparttar 116314 coat to pick up loose hair and kill static. Loose hair can also be removed using a horse slick pumice block.

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