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can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a steel

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can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a steel

Post Number:#1  Unread postby mygoldendoe » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:54 pm


I have a rabbit that I bought for my meat mutt line, and was told it was a sable.
I don't know much about breed colorings and how to differentiate them.. when I google both I see similar photos under both titles.
I know shes just a mutt and doesn't have papers but I want to learn this type of thing should we broaden our pure NZ and come across the same colorings. I heard a major way to tell is if they have a white belly or the hair shaft has more solid colorings.. any help would be appreciated.

the only two photos I have are the one from when she was first in quarantine and another was more recent when the storm came through and put our rabbits out into their temp homes for a while.

the only white she has on her is the tip of nose. the color that is her tannish area goes along her under belly also so its not a white belly..her eyes are brownish red and have a very ruby look to it even up close.

I can talk more specific detailed photos if I need to for identifying further.
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Re: can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a stee

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:13 pm


she looks sable to me. sable is similar to a siamese cat, with less defined colour points. it's a beautiful colour, but not one i personally work with.


i have tons of steel though in my meat mutts. they are pretty obviously different. steel is where some of the fur is a lighter colour - usually "gold" but silver steels do exist. the silvering on breeds like silver fox is not exactly the same gene though.

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both of these rabbits are gold steel. it can be heavier or lighter depending on the rabbit. the first rabbit has a medium amount of gold in her fur. she also has silvering (not silver steel - she is half champagne d'argent,) but you can still see the gold in her fur. the second is almost entirely gold. she looks like a chestnut except she has no white on her underside.

this one i think is a silver steel, though it's kind of hard to tell because she has a lot of smut (the brown hairs) in her coat. i know it's not gold steeling because it varies depending on the time of year. dark rabbits often get a fever coat when it's warm outside where the black fur lightens to brown.

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usually gold steel kits will look a little brown by the time they fur out.

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Last edited by shazza on Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a stee

Post Number:#3  Unread postby caroline » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:14 pm


sable comes from the light chinchilla gene chl on the "C" locus. In order of dominance, is C [full color], chd [chunchilla], chl [sable], ch [Himalayan], c [albino]
steel comes from the Es gene, which is on the ""E locus. In order of dominance, Es [steel], E [full extension], ej [harlequin], e [non-extension]
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Re: can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a stee

Post Number:#4  Unread postby akane » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:36 am


Looking at the individual hairs in detail solves a lot of color questions. Steel has white or gold hair tips pretty much everywhere. Sable is a self color so each hair should be one color. It may have a little change in shading down the length but otherwise each hair is a single, individual color and the blending of them makes the overall appearance.
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Re: can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a stee

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ladysown » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:23 pm


that rabbit looks like a sable to me.
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Re: can someone explain the difference btwn sable and a stee

Post Number:#6  Unread postby mygoldendoe » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:48 pm


thank you shazza for the photo reference and examples. it really did help a lot.
also akane for that hair explanation also. I think that will defiantly stick with me.
and thanks for that genetics info carolinee I'm sure thatll make since to me once I get this whole genetic thing learned better. as for now its way over my head. tho I will write it down for furture reference in my breeder notebook incase I start planning specific colorings in her line.

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