A Black is not a black?!

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CO Int

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Hi everyone

I've got quite a complicated color issue. So far I have very few test breedings and no self color rabbits (that I know of) to test some of my theories so I've been spending a lot of time on the genetic calculator. :lol:

I breed a local South African rabbit breed that was developed from a large base of genes. Some of the ancestry includes Flemish Giants, New Zealand, Rex, Satin, Silver Fox, Chinchilla and maybe some angoras in between as well.

The breed standard only recognizes three colors - agouti, black and steel. Originally any chocolate and blue lines were removed, but they are looking to introduce the colors back in.

Steel is extremely dominant in the breed and therefore without test breeding very difficult to determine if a rabbit is black or super steel. However, I've noticed a lot of silvering/scattered white hairs on the "blacks". I have a doe that is black with scattered white hairs but has produced several black, agouti and steel kits. This makes me wonder if she is an agouti non-extension steel or a self black carrying steel. Is there any way to know? If I could find a self rabbit I might be able to answer my own question - what breeds are typically self colored?

Here is a very standard looking black. They don't really appear black. He is a 12 week old buck. I know he still has a baby coat - but he kind of demonstrates my question as I have older does that show the same kind of coloring. He doesn't really look black. He has some scattered white hairs but his fur appears brown. I didn't keep him to breed so I have no idea if he carried the steel gene but his father is a true agouti (A_ B_ Cc D_ E_). His mother is (__ B_ Cc D_ Es_)
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Then I have this doe who parents were both steel. I'll breed her in a few months and should know more about her then but I'm wondering if silvering could be an issue here? These scattered white hairs are just too regular to be scattered for my taste and they are becoming more obvious as she gets older (she's 6 months now). The hair is also very thick at the base and very thin at the tip - the entire hair is white.
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Just as I was starting to think I had steel sorted in my head the silvering thing popped up. Originally I didn't even consider silvering until I found out that the Silver Fox was part of the base genetics. With co-dominance being possible is it another variation on top of everything in the mix? I have 6 "black" rabbits of which only this one doe is showing a consistent kind of patterning - the others definitely appear like scattered white hairs - random and you can count them on one hand.

There have been several people both locally and internationally involved in the color genetics of this breed but it seems most people seem stumped. Some have suggested that they are dominant black (Ed) but if they were would all of them be black? Also, how does that tie in with the rabbit not actually appearing black?

Any help is appreciated - I will not give up until I understand color genetics!
 

CO Int

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I've been playing with the Kim's hutch Calculator and interesting I do get a lot of breeding possibilities that are close to what I'm getting IRL.

So maybe self chin is the what's happening here. Eventually I guess if a chin pops up I'll at least be able to confirm that one.

Have to edit: I found a couple of pictures of rabbits that are seal that look very similar to mine. My rabbits are on wire floors with no urine pooling possible and are never exposed to the sun but they definitely have a brown tinge to their coat which is amplified by the flash from the camera - I don't think I've had a true black yet but will compare them all to see if I can see a shade difference. But this doe cannot produce seal with an chestnut buck. So self steel seems to be a more likely answer.
 

ladysown

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I always struggle with loading image. This is what I get in one of my litters. They look either very black or kinda chocolatey without being chocolate. Some get ticking as they mature.
 

Zass

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White markings, like silvering and scattered white hairs are not at all connected to a base genetic color and can appear over any pattern.
 

CO Int

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She is certainly very pretty! I'll just take a uneducated guess and say she is a chocolate GTS. Either way I wish my babies were such a pretty color!

One of the things I've been learning about genetics is that all genes work in sequence and what one does doesn't necessarily affect the other.

It took me a while to understand that alleles are on different locations and you have to deal with the whole ABCDE...

So I understand that silvering and scattered white hairs has nothing to do with color and I didn't write it very nicely but I have two separate questions:
1. Is the picture I posted of the buck a black or not? It definitely is not a super steel but could possibly carry the steel gene.
2. Can the white hairs be silvering, scattered white hairs or is it a possible super steel? Or all three?
 

ladysown

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i would suspect he's black once he matures. kit colour can be weird. I don't know about the silvering and how those genetics play into it all.
 

hotzcatz

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https://web.archive.org/web/20170912070600/http://www.oceansideangoras.com/silvering-in-angoras.html

Very good article on the silvering gene. I don't think Oceanside has their website anymore, but pulled this up on an internet archive page.

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I'm still trying to figure out what color this rabbit may be. She should be black but there's that patch of chocolate on her head. In an angora, the black dilutes to silver gray when the 'wool' gets longer. So the 'gray' body color is actually black and it is normal for it to be the silver color instead of black. However, that chocolate patch on her head is a complete unknown.

As a kit she was a very dark chocolate, I'd thought perhaps she was sable, but she can't be sable due to her parents. Maybe some sort of mutated black?
 

MissMuja

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I got the exact same question then you for my "non black" kits.
I crossed a Californian buck with a NZ broken red and got 9 kits, but only black or broken black kits, where I was expecting Chestnut and broken chestnut. Now that the kits are 2 months and a half, I see some brownish color, almost like dark chocolate or Gold Tipped Steel.

I also have a New Zealand broken black that I crossed with a NZR and the Californian (I should have not do both for the same litter), at first I thought the kits were all black and that the NZR was maybe too young, but now that I worked the fur in daylight, there is again dark chocolate and broken dark chocolate, some with white tipping.

So I wonder if my NZ broken black and my Californian might have the steel gene to explain those non black / dark chocolate kits. I will try to put a picture of the pelt, with the contrast, the dark chocolate shows a lot, but it is darker in real.
 

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Zass

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Steel seems to be very common in new zealands, californians, and many other breeds. The red is the only one mentioned who absolutely could not have steel, but could still throw it if paired with a rabbit that has steel genes. It's a tricky gene that can make rabbits look from "all the way black" on one side of the spectrum, to "almost chestnut" on the other.
 

hotzcatz

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Whatever made the chocolate patch on the black doe's head seems to not have survived to her adult coat. She's now a regular black rabbit, although she never did grow out the 'furnishings' on her head and ears. She's supposed to be a lot fuzzier than she is. Not any of it particularly matters, though, since she's not going to be a breeder. I don't think she is an improvement on what an English angora should be, so she won't be part of the breeder herd. Still dunno why she had the chocolate on her head, though. <br /><br /> __________ Fri May 07, 2021 1:45 am __________ <br /><br /> Well, now I've changed my mind and she will have one test mating with the albino buck to see if maybe she is a dark sable and has the light chinchilla gene. If she does, it should show up if she's bred to an albino.

The nice thing about rabbits is they can be bred quickly. It won't take long to find out if there's a genetic reason for her to have had a chocolate head as a kit. Otherwise, maybe somebunny peed on her head as a kit? Would that bleach black to chocolate? Personally, I'd expect it to bleach to blue, but rabbits can do the strangest things.
 
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