A-locus rabbit colors. Breed rabbits smartly by understanding
rabbit coat color genetics pertaining to the 2 A-locus color genes carried by
'A' stands for 'Agouti,' meaning, the agouti pattern on a rabbit's hair shaft.
The possible genes of the the A-locus color series are ‘A,’ 'at,’ or ‘a.’ These determine the pattern of the hair shaft, without influencing the actual rabbit color. Agouti rabbits come in many colors, but the one thing that makes them agouti is the banding on the hair shafts. In addition to the bands, the agouti gene (A) also results in a white or ivory belly with a base color of slate-blue or dove-gray ring under the white fur.
The typical 'wild rabbit' look is due to the 'A'
Agouti pattern of rings on the hair shaft. Here is how the rings look
in the case of a chestnut agouti rabbit (A_B_C_D_E_):
the bottom of the hair shaft nearest the skin, you'll find a very narrow ring
of white, if the rabbit is in a prime coat. This ring is only present when the
coat is in full condition, and is not often mentioned, except in connection
with conditioning or with recognizing a prime rabbit pelt.
Slate-blue. Meaning, gray. The
'undercoat' is bluish gray, and should constitute roughly 1/2 of the hair shaft.
Rufus. The middle ring is a
rich band of rufus red, also described as "orange,"
"well-defined orange," or "rich rufus red" in the various
ARBA breed Standards of Perfection.
Black. The hair shaft is tipped
with a sliver of black.
The overall effect of the rufus red glistening through the
black tipping is one of mahogany or chestnut brown.
The 'A' gene is completely dominant. No
matter what the second gene is at the A-locus, an 'A' will
override all the effects of the other gene.
This is what chestnut agouti coloration looks like in a Satin Angora rabbit.
This is what chestnut agouti looks like in a rex rabbit
The rabbit needs only one A gene to
produce an agouti patterned hair shaft. Agouti rabbits are:
Chestnut, copper, castor, sandy, gray - all names used by various breeds to
describe their black-based "A_B_" agouti rabbits.
Chocolate Agoutis: Chestnut
Chocolate, cinnamon (the color, not the breed), amber - all names used by
various breeds to describe their "A_b_" chocolate agouti rabbits.
Opal Mini Satin
Dilute blue agoutis:
Opal (blue-based), lynx (lilac-based) - names describing "A_dd" agouti
rabbits with the dilute ‘d’ added.
The rabbits pictured are opal mini-satins. The
depth of the opal color is enriched by the satin gene.
Chinchilla-factored and shaded
agoutis: Chinchilla (black), squirrel (blue), chocolate chinchilla,
lilac chinchilla, beige, sable chinchilla, smoke pearl chinchilla, light gray,
steel gray - colors describing the 'A' locus combining with
the B and C genes.
Non-extension agoutis: Cream,
fawn, red - what you get when you mix the agouti 'A' with
non-extension genes. This is tricky, because the
non-extension ('ee') seems to erase the agouti banding.
Though at first sight they might look like selfs ('aa'),
nevertheless a few clues to their 'agouti-hood' remain. For example, creams and
fawns have white bellies to the skin, with no gray undercolor.
More shaded agoutis: Sable
Point, Blue Point, Smoke Pearl Point, Chocolate Point, Lilac Point, Seal,
Siamese Sable, Siamese Smoke Pearl, Blue Seal (Dark Smoke Pearl), Frosted
Pearl/Frosty, Pearl, Ermine - colors formed by adding various
‘c’ shading genes.
Rabbit Condition Enhancers: BOSS, Whole Oats
Two A-Locus Rabbit Color Mutations
Over time, two additional A-locus rabbit color mutations
have occurred, resulting in a total of 3 options at the A-Locus for rabbit
colors. Each of these mutations affects pattern, not color.
A-Locus Rabbit Color
'at' = tan pattern
The distinctive tan pattern produces a solid color over the
back and the sides. Where the top color meets the belly color is a narrow band
the color of the intermediate ring, if the animal still had one (it doesn't). A
tan pattern also gives intermediate ring coloration in the ears, the neck
triangle, and intermingled coloration on the chest and dewlap. Plus, tans and
otters should have intermediate-colored ticking near the junction of top and
Tan rabbits (the breed) have fiery red bellies, compliments
of the recessive 'ww' wide band recessive gene combination.
Ticking is not found in Tan rabbits.
Tan pattern 'at' is recessive to Agouti, but dominant to
A ‘tan pattern’ rabbit carries at least one
‘at.’ The second gene of the A-locus could be either
'at' or ‘a,’ but not 'A'
(agouti). Why not 'A'? Because 'A' is
completely dominant. If the rabbit carried an ‘A’ with its
‘at,’ the rabbit would be an agouti, as above.
Rabbits with tan-pattern coats are:
Black Martin Netherland Dwarf
Otters (black, blue, chocolate, lilac)
Tans (black, blue, chocolate, lilac). Otters and
tans are very similar, however tans also carry modifying factors that redden
the belly color.
Martins (silver martins, sable and smoke pearl
martins). Martins carry the at pattern gene plus one of the chinchilla factor
‘c’ genes, which eliminate the yellow color, replacing it
with white. The rabbit pictured here is a black martin Netherland Dwarf. His
coloration is black, along with silvery white. You can see the white in its
ears, neck triangle, belly, and the eye ring.
A-Locus Rabbit Color
'a' = "self" pattern
The 'self' mutation removes all banding whatsoever, leaving
a rabbit with one color all over, top to bottom.
Chocolate Mini Rex - 'self' patterned
Self is recessive to both tan 'at' and
Therefore, a self rabbit must carry
‘aa’ at the A locus.
Selfs are black, blue, chocolate, or lilac, depending on the
actions of the B, C, D, and E genes.
The rabbit pictured is a chocolate (self) Mini Rex Rabbit.
He is chocolate-colored all over, including the belly, neck triangle and inside
Tried and True Basics of Rabbit Raising:
Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
10% off your autographed copy of Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
All packaging, handling, and Media Mail postage costs (WA residents are subject to sales tax)
Applies to US addresses - (sadly, Media Mail is not offered for international shipping, not even for really awesome books)
(International shipping is available, of course, but it's out of our control how much they charge for shipping. Send us your country, city, and area code to obtain a shipping quote.)
*Affiliate Links: We use affiliate links (including Amazon.com links) to help keep the use of this website completely free of charge to you. We have selected our affiliate products carefully with the purpose of improving your experience, both on the Raising-Rabbits website, and in the ease of the care you provide your rabbits. Purchases from our affiliates come at no extra cost to you.