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ARBA Rabbitry #W364
TxRBA Rabbitry #603

            WHAT COLOR CAN I
                 BREED TO THIS?

                                                                                          by: Kitty Lynch

I have so many Wooly Breeders, new as well as old, ask me what "colors" can be successfully bred together to produce acceptable show varieties, that I thought that I'd write an article. I hope that it will be helpful to all. This will be very simple and basic advice.

 Quick links to sections of this article:  Agouti     AOV     Self     Shaded     Tan

 

Since our groups are listed alphabetically and we're supposed to be showing them that way, I'll start with the Agouti Group which contains the following individual varieties: chestnut, chinchilla, opal and squirrel.

For the most part, all of these varieties can be successfully bred together and still produce acceptable show varieties. Other acceptable varieties that may show up in litters when breeding any of these together are: black, blue, tort, blue tort and REW. This is because we don't always know, just by looking, what any of the recessive genes are that an animal is carrying. We can determine these genes by observing what color offspring are produced. Since this is NOT going to be an article on
genetics, suffice it to say that sometimes we'll be surprised by a color showing up in the litter that we didn't expect.

Let's expand things a little with this group and see what other varieties from other groups can be successfully bred to any of the varieties in the Agouti Group.

Well, you can successfully breed all of the varieties in the Agouti Group with black, blue and REW of the Self Group. You can breed to any of the Tan Group, but, you should wait until you have a really good grasp of color genetics and have developed a strict culling practice before you venture to far from the straight and narrow (and sometimes boring) path.

My advice is to NEVER breed any of the Agouti Group to any variety in the Shaded Group, including tort and blue tort. I know that I have previously stated that a tort and a blue tort could be produced from matings within the Agouti Group, but it's not as easy the other way around. It can be done, but remember that I said that this was going to be simple, basic and PRACTICAL advice.

Also, NEVER breed any of the Agouti Group to the AOV Group (pointed whites), PERIOD!!!

Usually the following is what happens when the Agouti Group varieties are bred to the Self Group: black, blue and REW.

*Chestnut to black usually produces chestnuts and blacks
*Chestnut to blue usually produces opals and blues
*Chestnut to REW usually produces chestnuts
*Chin to black usually produces chins and blacks
*Chin to blue usually produces squirrels, chins, blacks and blues
*Chin to REW usually produces chins
*Opal to black usually produces chestnuts and blacks
*Opal to blue usually produces opals and blues
*Opal to REW usually produces opals
*Squirrel to black usually produces chins and blacks
*Squirrel to blue usually produces squirrels and blue
*Squirrel to REW usually produces squirrels

Breeding to REW will NOT automatically lessen the ring definition or instantly put white toenails in the offspring. But, since a REW animal camouflages the exact color that an animal is, (This is sort of like throwing a white sheet over a black animal. All we can see is the white sheet. We can't see that the animal is black underneath.), I don't recommend breeding to a REW, especially beginners, (a REW to REW is certainly OK), unless you really know what your doing. You can certainly be in for some big surprises in your nest box, color wise.

And please, remember from my list above, the key word, USUALLY.

Now we have arrived at the AOV Group, which contains black pointed white and blue pointed white varieties.

Of course, pointed whites can be bred to each other. And it doesn't matter if each animal is black or if each animal is blue OR if each animal is one or the other variety.

When we expand a little with the AOV Group, we find that pointed whites can also be bred to black, blue and REW of the Self Group. And from the Shaded Group, pointed whites can be bred to siamese sable, smoke pearl, seal, tort and blue tort. But, I don't recommend breeding to smoke pearl or blue tort (check the Shaded Group for further explanation).

When you breed pointed whites to REW expect your points to lessen in color intensity. (Points are nose, ears, feet and tail).

When you breed pointed whites to blue, smoke pearl, blue tort or REW watch that your toenail color doesn't become too light.

NEVER breed a pointed white to any of the Agouti Group, Tan Group, a self lilac or chocolate. Breeding to any of these will produce pointed whites with points that are ticked, chocolate, lilac or carrying the Tan Pattern. These are NOT acceptable show varieties.

Next Group: Self: Which contains these varieties: Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, BEW and REW.

Any of the Self Group can be bred with each other EXCEPT BEW. BEW should be bred to BEW ONLY until you really know what you are doing. If a BEW is bred to anything else, what is known as "parti-colored" or "dutch-marked" offspring WILL result. These offspring will NOT be acceptable show varieties. And unless you have some idea of what you are going to do with all of these totally unacceptable show varieties, don't breed BEW to anything except BEW!

A simple noteworthy of heeding: NEVER breed a Self chocolate or lilac to any variety of any group that does not have a corresponding chocolate or lilac variety! For example, there is no chocolate or lilac otter nor chocolate or lilac pointed white listed in our color guide as an acceptable show variety. Therefore, do NOT breed Self chocolates or lilacs to these. You WILL get the unacceptable varieties in your litters sooner or later, probably sooner.

Another note: In the Agouti Group, chocolate agoutis are sometimes called cinnamons. Lilac agoutis are sometimes (most times) known as lynx. Neither of these varieties are acceptable show colors for a Jersey Wooly. Therefore, you shouldn't breed a Self chocolate or lilac to ANY of the varieties in the Agouti Group either. Please be very careful with your chocolate or lilac breedings. Several very beautiful "colors" will be produced that are NOT acceptable show varieties of Jersey Woolies. And I know that you will not want to dispose of these animals because they will be so beautifully colored.

The reverse of what I have already said for blacks and blues with the Agouti Group and AOV Group will work well.

If I expand into the remaining two groups, keeping in mind what I have already stated about BEW, chocolate and lilac, you could expect the following:

*Black to siamese sable--------------------DON'T DO THIS
*Black to smoke pearl----------------------DONT' DO THIS
*Black to seal--------------------------------DON'T DO THIS
*Black to tort usually produces blacks and torts (dark torts)
*Black to blue tort usually produces blacks, blues, torts and blue torts
*Black to sable point-----------------------DON'T DO THIS
*Blue to siamese sable usually produces smoke pearls
*Blue to smoke pearl usually produces smoke pearls and blues
*Blue to seal---------------------------------DON'T DO THIS
*Blue to tort usually produces blacks, blues, torts and blue torts
*Blue to blue tort usually produces blues and blue torts
*Blue to sable point-----------------------MAYBE
*REW to any--------------------------------the same applies as to what I have already stated concerning the Agouti Group

I know that I have listed a lot of "DON'T DO THIS" in the above list. This is because there will be a lot of "I'm not sure" colors or varieties produced. Like I said before, this is simple, basic and PRACTICAL advice. Don't produce a lot of "I'm not sure bunnies". Be Sure. Know what your doing. Know for a fact what those varieties are. Know what you're putting on the pedigree to be exact!

Next Group: Shaded: which contains the following varieties: blue tort, sable point, seal, siamese sable, smoke pearl and tort.

You can successfully breed any of the individual varieties within the Shaded Group to themselves. Just be careful when you breed seal to seal that the offspring exhibit "a discernible amount of shading". It's helpful to remember that seal is actually a very dark siamese sable. So, if you breed very dark to very dark you should expect to get very dark offspring. However, the seal variety must show "shading" or be disqualified from competition.

Seal can also be successfully bred with REW of the Self Group, but NOT with any of the other varieties within the Self Group. Seal to REW usually produces siamese sable. Seal can successfully be bred with the "shaded martens"; sable marten and smoke pearl marten, but DO NOT breed to any of the "silver marten self varieties", black, blue, chocolate or lilac silver marten. Please be careful that the shaded martens that are produced do exhibit shading. Seal to smoke pearl marten can produce some very dark smoke pearl martens that seem to have almost no shading. Be careful.

*Seal to shaded martens usually produces sable marten or smoke pearl martens

You can successfully breed siamese sable and smoke pearl together. This usually produces both of these varieties. You can also successfully breed seal to siamese sable and smoke pearl but, again, be sure that the offspring exhibit "discernible shading".

You can successfully breed blue tort and tort together. This usually produces both of these varieties.

You can also breed blue tort to sable point, smoke pearl and siamese sable. But, I don't recommend doing this until you have a good grasp of color genetics. The"colors" produced from these breedings will be beautiful, but the point color intensity will be diluted as well as the body color will shade off to an in-between color. these will be "I'm not quite sure bunnies", no matter how beautiful. My advice with blue tort is to breed to itself or to tort.

Tort can be successfully bred to blacks, blues and REW of the Self Group, but NOT any of the other varieties within this group. Remember what I have previously stated about chocolates, lilacs and BEW. A chocolate or lilac tort is an unacceptable variety. And BEW should only be bred to BEW.

Torts and blue torts can be successfully bred to pointed whites (either variety), but be careful that any of the torts that are produced are not too lightly shaded!

You can successfully breed a sable point with the REW of the Self Group and with seal, siamese sable and tort of the Shaded Group. A sable point to REW usually produces sable points.

Do NOT breed smoke pearl to any variety within the Tan Group. Yes, it's probably OK to breed a smoke pearl to the "shaded martens". But for now let's just not do this. Let's just let everyone learn some of the easy stuff first and then advance into the intermediate realm at some later date.

Skip breeding smoke pearl to the AOV Group, too. Yes, this can be successfully done also. But, this article is basic, SIMPLE and practical advice.

Smoke pearl can be successfully bred to blues of the Self Group. Ignore all the other varieties within the Self Group until you have a really good grasp of those color genetics. Smoke pearl to blue usually produces smoke pearls and blues.

And my last bit of advice for the Shaded Group is to NEVER breed any of the varieties in the Shaded Group with any of the varieties in the Agouti Group, ever. PERIOD!

And now I am left with the Tan Group. This is going to be really easy. Stay within the Tan Group and stay within the different varieties within the overall group, period!

The reason for this is that the Tan Group really represents a variety that IS A PATTERN!! A pattern "of color; either silver or tan", must be present in all varieties within this group. Most of us know this pattern to consist of ear lacing, eye circles, nostril marking, jowl marking, collar, triangle at the nape of the neck, inside of hind leg marking, ticking along the sides and extending up the rump, underside of the tail a different color and a demarcation line.

The Tan Group contains these varieties: black or blue otter; black, blue, chocolate or lilac silver marten; sable marten and smoke pearl marten.

As I said above, stay within the individual varieties within the group. For example, black and blue otter to each other, all of the self silver martens to each other and the shaded martens to each other.

When you start breeding to other varieties within the other groups, the intensity of the tan pattern WILL lessen over time. This means that you will lose "ticking, eye circles, demarcation lines and intensity of "tan" coloring in the otter varieties.


You will get "mealy" nostril markings, muddy chest color, indistinct triangles and other less intense "tan pattern markings", in the otter, self silver marten and shaded marten varieties. This is not to mean that you can not breed any of the varieties within the Tan Group to varieties within other groups, but for now, let's NOT do it.

And that pretty much takes me to the end of what to breed to what. I have purposely left out anything that requires a good working knowledge of color genetics. I believe that if a breeder wants to be able to select for certain, specific varieties, then he/she WILL HAVE to develop a working knowledge of color genetics.

This article is aimed mostly at beginners who want to produce other acceptable show varieties than the ones they currently own. And they just want to know, SIMPLY, what color can I breed to this?

 

**I hope this article will be of some help to those in need of simple, basic, and practical advice on breeding colors.