A-Gene Color Families Chart

 Rabbit colors can be grouped many ways.  Although “color families” is not an official term that I know of, on this page I’d like to use it to group together rabbit colors that vary only in the A/at/a gene. 

By way of example, let’s look at the most prevalent Holland Lop color, the black tortoiseshell.  It’s genotype (with “-” for unknown genes) is aa B- C- D- ee.  If we change only the a gene to “A,” we get A- B- C- D- ee which is an orange rabbit.  If we change the gene again, this time to “at,” we get at B- C- D- ee, which is an orange otter (sometimes called tort otter – and now you see why).  So let’s put black tortoiseshell, orange and orange otter together in a family. 

The table below lists some other useful color families for the Holland Lop.




Orange Orange or Tort Otter Black Tortoiseshell
Fawn Fawn Otter Blue Tortoiseshell
Chestnut Agouti Black Otter Black
Opal Blue Otter Blue
Chinchilla Black Silver Marten Self Chinchilla
Lynx Lilac Otter Lilac

The goal for understanding any of the color genes is the same:  to know what you’ve got and be able to produce the colors you want.  Although there are few points for color in the Holland Lop standard,* the rabbit must be a showable color.  But aside from that, color is just plain fun.  I hope that this information on the agouti gene has been helpful.  As always, if you have a question about the agouti gene, please do not hesitate to contact me.   I’d love to answer your question or research the answer and learn along with you.

*4 points cover “Color & Markings,” with the statement “all colors should conform to one of the recognized Holland Lop color descriptions,” according to the Standard of Perfection.

Check out the next article: The B-series genes, or black / chocolate!