Himalayan rabbit with Steel gene looks like?

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Fluffle

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If a Himalayan (breed) rabbit had the steel gene, could he still look Himalayan? Does the white of the Himalayan gene act similar to the REW white by hiding color (except at the points)?

Edited to update with the answer: A Himalayan rabbit with Steel would simply look Himalayan. 😅 No distinguishable difference. (Thank you for your help, Rabbittalk family!)

I bred my Rex doe (otter, carries self) to a purebred Himalayan buck in order to see what other C she was carrying (I think it’s shaded). But instead of getting about half otter marked in a litter of 14, I got ZERO. The otter marked doe is clearly marked. Some of her kits have that look which tells me they’re not really solid, but disguising as solid.
So… if Himalayan can look Himalayan and have the steel gene, then I have my answer. Couldn’t find a single reference online.
Thank you in advance if anyone has an answer!
 
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judymac

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I'm no expert on the steel gene, but I do raise Himi patterned rabbits. You are right, albino REW cc is the most recessive of the 'C' series, and it simply turns off the pigment factories, so no matter what color your rabbit would have been, it can't physically produce that color because the pigment cells are closed down.

Himi (aka Californian, pointed white, Himalayan) has two different factors at work. On the cooler extremities, dark pigment will be produced (the yellowish orange/red/cream/fawn colors are not produced, just like with chin & sable). On the main body (and the eyes), no pigment at all is produced, just like the albino REW.

The other kicker is that Himalayan is usually bred as a non-agouti, as most breeds that accept pointed whites only accept them in the self colors, not as pointed agouti. However, steel acts on the agouti gene, pushing the middle orange agouti band out to the tip of the hairshaft, which is why they are gold-tipped steels. Since chins, sables & Himi don't produce the yellow color, that band is pearl white. This is what produces the silver-tipped steels. Steels with the non-agouti aa recessive, generally do not show steel (even though they carry the gene for it), since there is no agouti gene to work on. Non-agouti steels tend to look like solid rabbits.

Green Barn Farm has a fascinating chart on how the agouti gene interacts with steel (and other options on the 'E' gene) at A/E Gene Combinations Check out their description of what happens when steel meets otter, and see if any of that description matches your experience with this litter.
 

Fluffle

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I'm no expert on the steel gene, but I do raise Himi patterned rabbits. You are right, albino REW cc is the most recessive of the 'C' series, and it simply turns off the pigment factories, so no matter what color your rabbit would have been, it can't physically produce that color because the pigment cells are closed down.

Himi (aka Californian, pointed white, Himalayan) has two different factors at work. On the cooler extremities, dark pigment will be produced (the yellowish orange/red/cream/fawn colors are not produced, just like with chin & sable). On the main body (and the eyes), no pigment at all is produced, just like the albino REW.

The other kicker is that Himalayan is usually bred as a non-agouti, as most breeds that accept pointed whites only accept them in the self colors, not as pointed agouti. However, steel acts on the agouti gene, pushing the middle orange agouti band out to the tip of the hairshaft, which is why they are gold-tipped steels. Since chins, sables & Himi don't produce the yellow color, that band is pearl white. This is what produces the silver-tipped steels. Steels with the non-agouti aa recessive, generally do not show steel (even though they carry the gene for it), since there is no agouti gene to work on. Non-agouti steels tend to look like solid rabbits.

Green Barn Farm has a fascinating chart on how the agouti gene interacts with steel (and other options on the 'E' gene) at A/E Gene Combinations Check out their description of what happens when steel meets otter, and see if any of that description matches your experience with this litter.
Thank you. You have confirmed what I understand so far about the Himalayan gene. I’ve worked with Steel enough to see how it appears in the Otter gene, too. I’ve had Otter gene rabbits whose white and tan Otter markings were lost when Steel was present. This is what I suspect in this litter. I’ve experienced that both A and at are affected by Steel. Himalayan are newer to me. And if I can confirm that Steel cannot force out the Himalayan white, then I will be able to confirm this Himalayan buck as having Steel. Up until now, rabbits I have had that are self and have Steel were just not observable as Steel because lack of light patterning in their self pattern didn’t offer the evidence of what Steel does to their coloring. Himalayans (as the only self I have experienced with white other than REW) entering the picture now force me to fully understand the behavior of white in their gene. If their white portion acts as cc does, hiding color, then I can understand Steel in Himalayan rabbits. 😅
 

Robochelle

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I think fluffle is asking, not about steel tip coloring, but about the double steel. Where with 2 steel genes, it just shows black - even an agouti looks like a black self.

I think you won't be able to conclude that the steel gene is the cause until you breed more from either parent- both of them must have the steel to get a double steel, so if no other offspring are steel the possibility gets lower and lower.

It's probable that you hit the unlikely odds of breeding only selfs this kindle- it does happen. I recently bred an otter with a himi (coloring, not breed) and was stuck with 5 himi colored kits... not a single colored one. The odds of your kits coming up all selfs would be the same, if the father had a self recessive... I think that's the takeaway you'll get from this litter; either dad has a self recessive or both have steel.
 

Fluffle

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I think fluffle is asking, not about steel tip coloring, but about the double steel. Where with 2 steel genes, it just shows black - even an agouti looks like a black self.

I think you won't be able to conclude that the steel gene is the cause until you breed more from either parent- both of them must have the steel to get a double steel, so if no other offspring are steel the possibility gets lower and lower.

It's probable that you hit the unlikely odds of breeding only selfs this kindle- it does happen. I recently bred an otter with a himi (coloring, not breed) and was stuck with 5 himi colored kits... not a single colored one. The odds of your kits coming up all selfs would be the same, if the father had a self recessive... I think that's the takeaway you'll get from this litter; either dad has a self recessive or both have steel.
Thanks for your reply. I don’t think she is where the Steel is coming from. If I understand correctly, Himalayan (the breed) should be aa. I would expect her litter to show at least one, if not 7 out of 14 to be marked Otter like she is.
This litter is all black (some being sort of oddly black).
What I suspect is that the Himalayan buck could be Steel Ed (and Ed or Es). This, I believe would make sense. I realize people believe Ed might be rare, but I feel it may not be as rare as believed. I have other does I can breed this buck to in order to help solve this mystery. But I do feel pretty confident that the buck is the source of Steel.
If the Himalayan gene acts to disallow color like REW does (except on the points), instead of the white being a “pattern” as in the case of at and A where Steel can fill it in, then I feel fairly certain that my Himalayan has dark Steel and simply looks like a normal Himalayan because Steel cannot fill darkness in where his white is.
The kits in this litter look black, but some look nearly black with very slightly lighter bellies than expected for self kits. This, in my experience is a very strong indicator of a patterned kit (A or at) having double Steel or the dark Steel gene. In this case, it seems very doubtful that my doe can offer any Steel gene to make the kits double Steel as she is clearly marked Otter. So I am leaning toward the lesser understood Ed coming from the buck.
I should add that I have a lot of experience breeding with rabbits that have Steel. It is Himalayan that is new to me. So in a nutshell, I think the only question I have is does the Himalayan gene act just like cc with the exception of the points? Another way to put it: Is the white part of Himalayan a “pattern” or an “absence of ability to show color”? The latter should confirm that a Himalayan with the Steel gene can look simply “Himalayan”.
 

Fluffle

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That is the conundrum with steel. Dominant steel but with non-agouti looks like self. Double steel even with agouti does as well.
Yes, I think I’m dealing with a dominant Steel gene in the buck. I just need to figure out if anyone knows what a Himalayan with Steel looks like. If the white is “void of the ability to show color” rather than a “pattern”, then I believe I have an answer.
 

Fluffle

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I'm no expert on the steel gene, but I do raise Himi patterned rabbits. You are right, albino REW cc is the most recessive of the 'C' series, and it simply turns off the pigment factories, so no matter what color your rabbit would have been, it can't physically produce that color because the pigment cells are closed down.

Himi (aka Californian, pointed white, Himalayan) has two different factors at work. On the cooler extremities, dark pigment will be produced (the yellowish orange/red/cream/fawn colors are not produced, just like with chin & sable). On the main body (and the eyes), no pigment at all is produced, just like the albino REW.

The other kicker is that Himalayan is usually bred as a non-agouti, as most breeds that accept pointed whites only accept them in the self colors, not as pointed agouti. However, steel acts on the agouti gene, pushing the middle orange agouti band out to the tip of the hairshaft, which is why they are gold-tipped steels. Since chins, sables & Himi don't produce the yellow color, that band is pearl white. This is what produces the silver-tipped steels. Steels with the non-agouti aa recessive, generally do not show steel (even though they carry the gene for it), since there is no agouti gene to work on. Non-agouti steels tend to look like solid rabbits.

Green Barn Farm has a fascinating chart on how the agouti gene interacts with steel (and other options on the 'E' gene) at A/E Gene Combinations Check out their description of what happens when steel meets otter, and see if any of that description matches your experience with this litter.
I think I read your response too fast. I think you may have giving me the answer and I missed it. If no pigment can be produced where the white appears on a Himalayan, then what I believe about this buck having Steel is likely true. I had to reread your response. Thank you!
 

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To my understanding, the white of the Himalayan acts like the REW, but is turned off if the skin gets cold. I've learned that this winter when I had seemingly impossible coloring in, incidentally, that same litter I referenced earlier. I can try to find the thread, if I do I'll edit to link it here.

To summarize though, if a Himalayan is too warm, you won't even get the points. If it's just a little cold, you might mistake it for dilute when it's full color, or vice versa if it gets too cold. Should you shave a part of the fur and ice it to get sufficiently cold, you can get color anywhere on the body -- you don't want to do that because it won't necessarily turn back to white, it might get "smut"

Thread 'What has red eyes and banded fur?' What has red eyes and banded fur?
 

Fluffle

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To my understanding, the white of the Himalayan acts like the REW, but is turned off if the skin gets cold. I've learned that this winter when I had seemingly impossible coloring in, incidentally, that same litter I referenced earlier. I can try to find the thread, if I do I'll edit to link it here.

To summarize though, if a Himalayan is too warm, you won't even get the points. If it's just a little cold, you might mistake it for dilute when it's full color, or vice versa if it gets too cold. Should you shave a part of the fur and ice it to get sufficiently cold, you can get color anywhere on the body -- you don't want to do that because it won't necessarily turn back to white, it might get "smut"

Thread 'What has red eyes and banded fur?' What has red eyes and banded fur?
Thank you for the reminder about temperature and color. I have two same-age litters in the barn. One purebred Himalayan litter and one Himalayan and Rex (otter) litter. Both sired by the Himalayan buck that I believe is actually Steel.
The purebred Himalayan litter looks perfectly Himalayan, with white bodies and just a touch of color on points. While the Rex and Himalayan cross litter is all solid black. So kit temperature is not a factor in this case.
 

judymac

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does the Himalayan gene act just like cc with the exception of the points? Another way to put it: Is the white part of Himalayan a “pattern” or an “absence of ability to show color”?
Yes, the main body part of a Himi is exactly like REW cc, the pigment factories are unable to operate and put any color on the main body. However, the Himalayan gene is temperature sensitive, which is why newborn himis in the warm nest are all white, even on the points. And Himi bunnies that have been chilled can develop color on the body. Generally, the cooler extremities are the only parts that develop color.
 

Fluffle

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Yes, the main body part of a Himi is exactly like REW cc, the pigment factories are unable to operate and put any color on the main body. However, the Himalayan gene is temperature sensitive, which is why newborn himis in the warm nest are all white, even on the points. And Himi bunnies that have been chilled can develop color on the body. Generally, the cooler extremities are the only parts that develop color.
Thank you. 🙏🏼
 

Dimplz

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If a Himalayan (breed) rabbit had the steel gene, could he still look Himalayan? Does the white of the Himalayan gene act similar to the REW white by hiding color (except at the points)?

Edited to update with the answer: A Himalayan rabbit with Steel would simply look Himalayan. 😅 No distinguishable difference. (Thank you for your help, Rabbittalk family!)

I bred my Rex doe (otter, carries self) to a purebred Himalayan buck in order to see what other C she was carrying (I think it’s shaded). But instead of getting about half otter marked in a litter of 14, I got ZERO. The otter marked doe is clearly marked. Some of her kits have that look which tells me they’re not really solid, but disguising as solid.
So… if Himalayan can look Himalayan and have the steel gene, then I have my answer. Couldn’t find a single reference online.
Thank you in advance if anyone has an answer!
 

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Fluffle

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Thanks Dimplz!
I wanted to confirm that this included Himalayan with all that white, so I needed confirmation that the white in Himalayan behaved like REW because that would help it to make sense. I now see that it does and that settles it for me.
I like the chart you referenced. The line you refer to goes on to show what I see in Agouti with Ese. Turns an Agouti rabbit Black.
 

Dimplz

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You are welcome. I have found this chart and those videos very helpful in understanding what I am seeing in my steel litters. Another thing I found very helpful with learning rabbit coat colors is this book my husband got me for my birthday. It is called 'ABC About Bunny Colors' by Ellyn Eddy.
 

Fluffle

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You are welcome. I have found this chart and those videos very helpful in understanding what I am seeing in my steel litters. Another thing I found very helpful with learning rabbit coat colors is this book my husband got me for my birthday. It is called 'ABC About Bunny Colors' by Ellyn Eddy.
I bought a second copy of that book. Originally bought it almost 10 years ago and the fist book is falling apart. It’s the best!
 
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To summarize though, if a Himalayan is too warm, you won't even get the points. If it's just a little cold, you might mistake it for dilute when it's full color, or vice versa if it gets too cold. Should you shave a part of the fur and ice it to get sufficiently cold, you can get color anywhere on the body -- you don't want to do that because it won't necessarily turn back to white, it might get "smut"
Yes, the main body part of a Himi is exactly like REW cc, the pigment factories are unable to operate and put any color on the main body. However, the Himalayan gene is temperature sensitive, which is why newborn himis in the warm nest are all white, even on the points. And Himi bunnies that have been chilled can develop color on the body. Generally, the cooler extremities are the only parts that develop color.
To add yet another wrinkle, several of us have found that you can get frosted himi kits not only from being chilled, but also if they are too warm.

I was mystfied at boxes full of frosted kits in warm spring temps, when the bunnies had been tucked in under mounds of fur and not exposed to anything. I asked my ARBA judge/long-time Cal breeder friend about it, and he confirmed: either extreme can produce frosted kits, and high humidity can be the trigger. I have noticed that warm frosted kits don't have obvious points, though; for a while I couldn't figure out what they were!

The humidity angle is what really fascinated me since you don't usually hear anything about that, but I guess I'm not surprised by much of anything anymore when it comes to that C series. :rolleyes:
 
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