List of ARBA approved Angora Rabbit colors:
- REW – ruby eyed white (Giant Angoras of any other color are not showable.)
- pointed white (black, blue, chocolate, or lilac)
- blue tortoiseshell
- chocolate tortoiseshell
- lilac tortoiseshell
- BEW – blue eyed white
- chocolate agouti
- copper (chestnut with rufus/red modifier)
- chocolate chinchilla
- lilac chinchilla
- squirrel (blue chinchilla)
- smoke pearl (dilute sable)
- blue steel
- chocolate steel
- lilac steel
- broken (French Angora only)
The most popular Angora Rabbit colors are black, blue, chocolate, lilac, REW, tortoiseshell and its variations, chestnut and its variations, fawn, and cream:
Basic colors are black and chocolate. All rabbits have a genetic base of either black (B, dominant) or chocolate (b, recessive).
Blue is dilute of black, and lilac is dilute of chocolate. “DD” or “Dd” represents non-dilute rabbits, and “dd” represents the dilute, recessive variations.
REW (ruby eyed white) is albino, where color expression is suppressed. “Cc” or “CC” represent a rabbit with color, and lower case “cc” represents recessive albinism. The rabbit is still genetically black or chocolate, but without pigmentation. REW is the only color that is currently approved for Giant Angoras; Giant Angoras may not be registered if any other color.
Tortoiseshell: Color is most concentrated on the face, ears, paws, and tail, with the body being tan or beige. This is governed by the “extension” gene, according to whether color is extension over the body, or concentrated on the points. “Ee” or “EE” with the capital E representing the dominant allele, is a solid black or solid chocolate rabbit. A tortoiseshell rabbit’s genetics are represented with “ee” with lower case “e” symbolizing the recessive allele.
There are black, chocolate, blue, and lilac variations.
Chestnut is the color normally seen in wild cottontail rabbits, where each hair shaft is horizontally banded with white, brown, and black. Genetically, that is called “agouti,” and it is dominant and represented by “AA” or “Aa.” A plain black or chocolate rabbit is recessive agouti, “aa.”
Opal (blue agouti) and lynx (lilac agouti) are recessive varations.
Fawn is a golden color with white belly and eye circles. Cream is the dilute variation of Fawn. These colors are a combination of dominant agouti with recessive extension, tortoiseshell. Chocolate based fawns and creams will appear clearer and brighter without the bluish smut on the ears that is typical of black based fawns and creams.
Broken: Presently, the only ARBA Angora breed for which “broken” is approved, is the French Angora. It is white in combination with any other ARBA approved Angora color. A broken colored rabbit must have at least 10 percent of its body as color, with not more than 50 percent body color.
PHOTOS OF ANGORA RABBIT COLORS (opens in new window)
Philosophy of breeding for specific colors and patterns
Some Angora newbies get the urge to create new Angora varieties, right off the bat. That’s just silly. The breeder’s focus should always be on breeding better animals, not on running off after fads. There are already enough Angora colors that new colors are not needed. With English Angoras especially, senior coats mute or hide any special patterns or characteristics to the degree that having additional varieties is pointless. The American Rabbit Breeders Association has a very rigorous process for approving new varieties, and very few applicants ever make it through. For example, breeders have been attempting to get the “broken” variety approved for English Angoras since the 1990s. Few new breeders stay in the hobby past three years, let alone stick with it long enough to earn reputations as breeders of quality animals; add faddish varieties to that, and you see someone who has accomplished very little. There is so much to learn in the art of rabbit breeding, and you can’t learn it from books alone. Rabbits have a way of humbling breeders — even breaking breeders’ hearts, and your college genetics courses really won’t be that useful, overall. If you just have to pursue “exotic” colors, pick a less popular, uncommon color from the list of existing colors, and work on that.
The internationally famous English Angora breeder, Betty Chu, said, “…if your goal is to breed the best possible rabbit for show, you don’t want to have all those possible distractions.”
Multiple ARBA Convention Best in Show winner Linda Cassella said, “I have no objection to people using recognized colors, but please just shy away from these breeders of unrecognized colors, because they’re just having babies, and they are not trying to improve the breed.”
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