Rabbit coat genetics

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Related FAQ: Breeds FAQ


Prior to domestication, rabbits were all of the agouti or wild-type color pattern, characterized by alternating bands of black and red color on the hair shaft.

Major coat color genes

Most of the genes that affect coat colors on rabbits are located on four pairs of chromosomes. These genes have been categorized into a system referred to as the coat color series and are labeled A to E (agouti, brown, color, dilution, and extension).[1]

A series: Agouti

Genes Colors
A Agouti
at Tan
a Non-agouti

B series: Brown

Genes Colors
B Agouti
b Brown or chocolate

C series: Color

Genes Colors
C Agouti
cchd Dark chinchilla
cchm Medium chinchilla
cchl Light chinchilla
ch Himalayan
c Albino

D series: Dilution

Genes Colors
D Agouti
d Blue dilution

E series: Extension

Genes Colors
Ed Black agouti
Es Steel agouti
E Agouti
ej Japanese brindling
e Red or yellow

Coat pattern genes

Other genes other than the major A to E coat color series exist that also exert pronounced effects on the coat color pattern.

Du series: Dutch

Genes Colors
Du Normal
Dud Dark Dutch, minimal spotting
duw White Dutch, excessive spotting

En series: Broken

Genes Colors
En English spotting
en Normal

Charlies have two En/En genes, normal broken rabbits have En/en genes, while normal solid colored rabbits have en/en genes.

si series: Silver

Genes Colors
Si Normal
si Silver coat surface

v series: Vienna

Genes Colors
V Normal
v White coat, blue eyes

w series: Wide band

Genes Colors
W Normal agouti band
w Wide agouti band

Coat structural genes

f series: Furless locus

Genes Colors
F Normal
f Furless

l series: Angora locus

Genes Colors
L Normal
l Hair long, wool

r series: Rex locus

Genes Colors
R Normal
r Hair short, rex

sa series: Satin locus

Genes Colors
Sa Normal
sa Hair thin, satin

wa series: Waved locus

Genes Colors
Wa Normal
wa Hair waved, astrex

Further reading

References

  1. Lukefahr, Rabbit Production, 9th ed, 2013.