Color Genetics in U.S. Domestic Rabbits

The study of the genetics of rabbit colors is a fascinating and very useful part of rabbit raising. When I first became curious about why colors are what they are, I found there was a lot of old scientific information, but hardly anything recent, accessible, or understandable to the average rabbit breeder. I began searching for articles on rabbit color genetics in 1984. Friends, who had access to college libraries, began sending copies of articles to me. I spent about a year, reading all the old literature, and making notes on all the things I needed to know and wanted to remember.

In talking to other rabbit breeders, I found only a few who understood color genetics. Most were not interested, because they thought it was too hard and complicated for them to understand, or because they didn't believe it worked. Some had an interest, but didn't know where or how to get the research articles, and thought they wouldn't be able to understand them anyway.

I saw a need for a short booklet, containing just the information that rabbit breeders need to know, written in language that can be understood by almost anyone. I wrote my "Color Genetics in Angora Rabbits" in 1989. Since then, I have revised it several times. The title is now "Color Genetics in U.S. Domestic Rabbits", and better applies to more breeds. Also, since then, there have been some "modern" genetic books written. These books are all longer than mine, and give more details. Mine is written for the person who wants the "short course".

There are certain rules that the color genes follow. Learning the rules, or having them written down where you can refer to them, is a must in identifying colors. Words, describing a color, just aren't adequate.

This document is my attempt at collecting proven facts, and the most widely accepted theories, and putting them together in an easy-to-understand form, for the average rabbit breeder.

Parts of this booklet include:


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