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|
|Chinchilla||Black Silver Marten||Self Chinchilla|
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.