Black, Brown, Fawn – Yet Silver.
Brown, Fawn. Such a unique set of varieties there are in silvers! How did we come to have such a trio of colors? And how do
we manage them?
how rare are these colors? Let me give you an appreciation for how unique our
silver colors really are. In my opinion, the silvering is completely lost on
a long rollback coat, like that of a silver fox. Unless the ticking is contrasted
by a smooth, sharp flyback pelt, I don’t believe that the shiny silver look is achieved.
So, with that in mind, consider the following statistics.
black silver color is recognized in only five breeds in the United States: the silver, silver fox, mini lop, French lop, and
English lop. Only the silver and English lop have flyback coats, and I don’t
think that silvered English Lops even exist! I’ve seen pictures of a silvered
Mini Lop, but that is probably the most rare Mini Lop color. I’ve heard
of a silvered Mini Lop being disqualified for excessive white hairs, because the judge didn’t know any better. Lops also recognize fawn, brown, and blue silver.
However, those colors rarely if ever occur. The lop color standard doesn’t
give any description for the base color. We assume that “brown” is
supposed to mean chestnut like in silvers, but under the present wording I don’t think that a chocolate or sable silvered
lop should be disqualified, since it is “brown”. There is a “brown”
Beveren being presented, but I don’t know if it is chestnut or chocolate. No
breed besides the silver recognizes a color called “brown”.
did these colors come to be? The original silver variety was gray, which we now
call black. The gray silvers are one of the oldest of rabbit breeds, kept as
early as 1500 AD. The first fawn silvers appeared in the 1870s, called creams. Because they were sports from the blacks, I believe that these were actually a tort,
and it became fawn when brown was developed in the 1880’s, from crosses to a Belgian Hare. In other parts of the world, a blue silver is recognized. But
if we brought blue silvers here and interbred them with our current colors, we’d end up with blue torts, creams, and
what do we do with these colors? What is that question that people interested
in silvers so often ask? That question that is asked almost more often than “do
you have any stock for sale?” That confusing question on which everyone
has an opinion but no one has a right answer?
YOU BREED SILVER COLORS TOGETHER?????
you? Sure, a black and a fawn will make babies together, as much as silvers will
make babies at all. Should you though?
Bother the editor who made me write this! (she knows I’m kidding.)
my opinion, varieties should not be crossbred within silvers. Historically they
haven’t been, and I’m not one to usually break a custom. Having three
SEPARATE varieties has always added a unique factor to the sterling breed. But
those two arguments don’t really hold water. Those outlined below, do.
I consider the issue, I realize that if we didn’t have fawns we wouldn’t have any problems with breeding black
and brown. But we do, and they’re beautiful!
a fawn silver, or go pull one out of your barn. Admire the pure fawn color, silver
on gold. The fawn color in silvers is amazingly clean. In some breeds, the fawn is covered with smut, or dark ticking especially around the flanks, face, and
ears. This smut is caused by genetic modifiers that have been successfully bred
out of fawn silvers, leaving us with a clean gold color. However, black and brown
also carry those genetic modifiers for smutty fawns. The smut may or may not
be bred out of blacks or browns, we don’t know because we can’t see it on them anyway. But when you take a black or brown to a fawn, you could be unwittingly introducing smut modifiers, and
spoiling generations of pure gold.
brown, and fawn to all appearances look like three very different colors. But
genetically, they aren’t that dissimilar. Black is removed from brown (chestnut)
only by one gene, and brown and fawn have only one gene’s difference.
are five sets of genes that control a rabbit’s basic coat color. They are
the same for all breeds. Each set, or series, is given a symbol: A, B, C, D,
or E. All silvers are BB CC and DD, so we just have to worry about A and E.
if the silver is agouti (brown, fawn) or self (black). Agouti is symbolized by
a capital “A” because it is stronger than self (black), which is symbolized by a lowercase “a”.
controls the yellow factor in the coat. Dominant E is brown/black and recessive
e is fawn.
rabbit has two genes in each series: two A/a’s and two E/e’s. One
letter comes from each parent. If a rabbit is A or E it may carry a or e, and
therefore would look like Aa or Ee. If the rabbit does not carry black (self)
or fawn (yellow), it would look like AA EE. If it is black (self) it is written
aa. If it is yellow (fawn) it is written ee.
If we don’t know what the rabbit carries, we leave a blank, like A_ or E_.
Brown is A_ E_. Fawn is A_ ee. Black
is aa E_.
leaves us with the question, what is aa ee? And the answer is tortoise. When we begin breeding black and fawn together we will eventually arrive at tort.
you take a black and a fawn, both from pure lines of their respective colors. (aa
EE x AA ee). When you breed these two together, you may be surprised to get 100%
browns! But consider: the black can only give a and E, and the fawn can only
give A and e. So all the babies will be Aa Ee: brown!
so far—but look: those brown babies will carry both black and fawn. In
other words, they carry tort. Breed two of those browns together and you’ll
wind up with all four colors. The torts are only as good as the kits with white
spots: all should be sent to freezer camp.
you never planned to sell your silvers, interbreeding browns with blacks OR browns with fawns would present no real problems. No unrecognized colors should crop up. But
for the sake of the fancy as a whole, please don’t do it. Eventually when
buying a brown we’d have to ask fit it was a “pure brown” AA EE, a “black-brown” Aa EE, or a
“fawn-brown” AA Ee. You couldn’t just buy any brown and breed
it to your line of browns without the possibility of unrecognized colors down the road.
sorry if I’ve stepped on any toes. I’m certainly not condemning those
who breed varieties together. But I hope I have helped everyone understand why
people say not to do it. Some people don’t mind, others do, and crossbreeding
colors will make your stock less desirable from a sales point of view. The most
important thing of all, however, is that we “keep breeding those silvers!”