Domestic rabbit genetics

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The genetics of the domestic rabbit in the sense of pedigree rabbit breeding is primarily concerned with the inheritance of external, breed-typical characteristics, especially the coat color , hair length and hair structure as well as the body size of the domestic rabbit.

The inheritance of these traits was studied through breeding experiments before the structure of DNA was discovered . The corresponding nomenclature comes from that time, but is still used in this form by breeders and in the relevant specialist literature because it is practically easy to use.

The hereditary symbols and formulas

Due to the work of Nachtsheim , who carried out corresponding studies in Germany in the 1930s, a designation of so-called hereditary factors that differs from international usage is used in Germany. The international (English) nomenclature has not caught on in Germany, although its use would also be advantageous in terms of comparability with other animal species. In this article the German nomenclature is also used, the international one is given in parallel. Homologous mutations are observed in other animal species ( cats , dogs , colored mice, etc.) , where the English nomenclature is usually used. The different genes responsible for the color of the coat are marked with letters, with dominant alleles being marked with uppercase letters, recessive alleles with lowercase letters (see also Mendelian rules ). The genotype of the animal in question is usually given in the form of a fraction, with the genetic variants inherited from the mother in the numerator, those inherited from the father in the denominator. By comparing the dominance of the individual alleles, provided that the genotype of the parent animals is known, the coat color and hair structure can be predicted. For the sake of clarity, the fractions are only used here when splitting should be specified, unless otherwise noted, the English symbol is used after the slash.

Coloring of the wild rabbit

Wild rabbit

The color of the rabbit fur is determined by three color zones that are visible as under, intermediate and top colors when blowing into a suitably colored rabbit fur. The different coloring of the house rabbits is determined by whether this zoning is even formed and which pigments are present in the individual zones. When rabbits or wild colored domestic rabbits one finds a dark blue bottom color and a yellow-brown intermediate color. Black, brown and yellow tips of the hair make up the body color. The underside of the belly and the underside of the flower are light with a blue underside of the belly, the ears are bordered by a dark border (wild color badge). The color of the wild rabbit corresponds to the gray rabbit breeds (e.g. gray giant , gray Viennese in hare-gray color).

Inheritance of coat color

The gene symbols for the fur coloration of the domestic rabbit (modified from Schlohlaut and Sandford)
feature German symbol International symbol
Formation of the pigment (presence of tyrosinase )
full development of pigmentation A. C.
Dark Chinchilla ad cch3
chinchilla achi cch2
marten at the cch1
Russian on cH
albino a c
Expression of black
dark iron gray Bee ED
iron gray Be IT
black (normal expression) B. E.
Japanese bj ej
yellow b e
Black (pigmentation)
normal expression C. B.
brown c b
Dilution factor
normal pigment density D. D.
decreased pigment density d d
Wild color factor (agouti)
wild-colored (normal color zone formation in the hair) G A.
tan (badge preservation) go at
not wild-colored (monochrome, zoning of the hair completely eliminated) G a
not silvered p Si
silvered P1… 3 si
Non-check (point) k en
Spot check K En
Non-check (plate check) S. You
Platter check ( Dutch rabbit ) s1… 3 dud ... duw
full pigmentation X V
Leucism (white) x v
Width of intermediate color (band)
normal tape W. W.
wide band w w
normal yellow y no symbol available
Yellow enhancer Y no symbol available
Lutino factor (red eye dilution)
Wild type Lu (?) P (?) Re
thinned, red eye lu p, right

The author Dr. Gerhardt Hochstrasser, Würzburg , has made a contribution to the further development of this symbolism (following the German system) and was able to show in some cases that the views held so far are not necessarily correct. In the following, his views and comments are given in parallel to conventional understanding.

Albino series

The albino series A (C) is the basic factor for the pigmentation of the hair. Animals with this gene in the wild type have the full ability to develop pigment. The individual mutations of this gene lead to a decrease in pigmentation of the coat. The reason for this is the formation of the enzyme tyrosinase . The increasing loss of color becomes particularly clear when one looks at the gradation of coloration in wild-colored animals; H. Wild rabbit coloring - dark chinchilla - chinchilla - chinchilla colored marten - wild colored Russian rabbit (badge chinchilla colored) - albino. The different mutation levels of the gene embody different levels of loss of this enzyme, from partial loss (dark chinchilla, chinchilla, marten) to the heat-labile form (Russian drawing) to complete loss (albino). For a detailed description see under albinism . Accordingly, Hochstrasser suggests calling this factor “maximum presence / maximum absence of tyrosinase”.

The first mutation level of this gene is the factor for dark chinchilla ad (cch3). In Germany there is no known breed of rabbit with this factor, they are ash-gray animals, which are darker in color than the standard chinchilla. The dark chinchilla factor is recessive compared to the wild type (A / C), but dominant compared to the remaining variants of the albino series.

Great Chinchilla

The chinchilla factor achi (cch2) leads to the fact that the yellow pigment ( pheomelanin ) of the wild rabbit fur is not developed in its wearer , instead of the yellow intermediate color there is a pure white band, the fur of the rabbit appears bluish-ash gray. The claws are dark horn-colored. Because of the similarity of this coat color to that of the South American chinchilla , the breed was named. Typical representatives of this type of mutation are the large and small chinchilla rabbits .

Siamese colored ram rabbit

The marten factor is also not recognized as the sole factor in Germany as an individual breed. Standard marten rabbits (type marten ) are split-breeding animals that are obtained by crossing Russian rabbits with pure- breeding , so-called dark martens. This makes it clear that this mutation, together with the Russian factor and the albino factor, shows an intermediate inheritance. In the case of the pedigree animals there is also no zoning of the coat colors anymore due to the abolition of the wild color factor (g / a instead of G / A). The marten factor is shown in the coat color by a darker coloration of the head, ears, extremities and tail (flower), a broad strip of the back is also darker. The under color of the fur is bluish. If the marten factor is combined with the wild color factor, so-called chinchilla marten arise. Genetically, the Siamese rabbits belong to the marten rabbits , the drawing of these animals corresponds to that of the well-known Siamese cat , with a light, in the case of the yellow Siamese , a light yellow covering color, shoulders and hind parts are slightly darker. The Siamese rabbits have dark muzzle markings around the eyes (mask, dark ears and legs, the flower is also dark).

Californian rabbits with the typical Russian drawing

The Russian factor (an or cH), referred to as the Himalayan in English, causes partially albinotic animals with red eyes. Only the snout, ears, legs and flower are colored (acromelanism). In the mutation type derived from the wild color, the underside of the flowers is light. Animals conforming to the standard show monochrome black, blue or brown markings. The dark color of the extremities is caused by so-called cold blackening. Only those parts of the body where the skin temperature is below 35 ° C (other information 28 ° C) develop a color. The reason for this is that the affected animals develop a heat-labile form of tyrosinase. For this reason, Russians and Californians also show better markings when kept outside in winter than in summer; when it is particularly cold, especially in older animals, a dark zone also forms on the eyes, and in rabbits also on the dewlap. If part of the fur of an animal with a Russian factor is shorn in winter, dark hair will grow back there, and the resulting stain will disappear the next time it changes hair. The young of the breeds mentioned are born pure white, the drawing only takes place after leaving the nest. If the young animals are exposed to the cold during the suckling period, there is often a gray tinge to the coat, which disappears when the coat changes .

ermine rabbit

The final stage of the albino series is the albino factor (a or c). Animals that have this genetic factor do not develop any pigments, as they completely lack tyrosinase. The fur appears pure white, since the iris of the eye is not colored either, the eye appears red when the blood vessels in the fundus show through. Typical representatives of this type of mutation are the White New Zealander and the ermine roach .

Black series (B or E series)

The gene designated in German with B in international literature with E (for extension locus ) controls the expression of the black pigment eumelanin in rabbit hair. Mutations in this gene lead to the amplification or thinning of black in appearance.

Dark iron gray (Bee or ED) and iron gray (Be or Es) are mutations that show a dominant inheritance pattern compared to the wild type (B or E). The animals show the wild color badge, but are clearly darker in color, dark iron gray animals are almost black. Iron-gray animals have a dark covering color all over their bodies, the color of the abdomen is only slightly lighter. The intermediate color and the neck wedge are only hinted at. While dark iron gray is not permitted as a color for any breed in Germany, iron-gray animals are permitted as color for the German giant, the gray Viennese and the gray colored dwarfs. Dark iron gray is dominant over iron gray, both are intermediate compared to the wild type (see also the black enhancement factor assumed by Hochstrasser).

The wild type B / E is responsible for the normal expression of the black pigment in the fur. In combination with the wild type of the other color balls, the result is the wild gray rabbit fur. This coat color can be found in all wild gray colors. It must be noted at this point that in breeding practice the gray shades are not kept separate to the necessary extent, so that ambiguities and transitions are possible (see also yellow and black intensifier series).

Burgundy rabbit

The coloring of the Japanese rabbits (English: Harlequin) (bj or ej) is also a mutant of the black series. In this mutation, the black pigment is distributed unevenly in the coat, so that a black-yellow piebald coat is created. The distribution of the spots can occur both in a small distributed structure (realized in the Rhön rabbit , there as white spots there in combination with the chinchilla factor) or as larger color fields, as in the standard Japanese rabbit . In the original form (Japanese factor combined with the wild type of the other alleles), gray-white spots were also part of the animal's appearance. However, white was largely displaced, except for the belly color. Today, the aim is to use the animal genotype with a combination of the Japanese factor and the monochrome factor (g or a). The Japanese factor behaves recessively compared to the wild type.

The final stage of the B or E series are yellow-deer-colored animals (b / e), which are permitted as a color for some breeds. This mutation is in combination with other factors as a Burgundy rabbit (y1, according to the Dutch standard without additional yellow enhancer) or Red New Zealander (y1..3) with additional yellow enhancer, or as yellow silver with additional silvering of the fur (P1 ... 3 / si) involved. In combination with other color factors, b / e is also involved in the drawing of various other races (e.g. Thuringians together with g / a).

Black pigmentation (C / B series)

In addition to the wild type (C or B), the mutation for the absence of the black pigment (c or b) of this gene, which determines the structure of the black pigment, is known. In this case a brown, wild-colored animal arises, i.e. H. the zoning of the color distribution in the hair is retained, but the animal appears brown. In combination with the factor (g or a - zoning of the hair is canceled, the uniform brown color of the Havana rabbit is created ), in combination with the silver factor ( P1 ... 3 / si) the color of the brown-silver rabbit.

The parallel locus in humans causes oculocutaneous albinism type 3, is also known as the Braun locus and is described in the article Albinism .

Density of pigmentation D / D

Marburg Feh

This factor, which, by the way , is denoted by D (for Dilute-Gen ) in both the German and English symbol systems (double symbols are therefore not used here), determines the density of pigments in rabbit hair. Its mutation to d causes (through irregular distribution and clumping) a dilution of the pigment and a change in the color of the coat to blue-game color. This color is shown, for example, by the pearl rabbit and the blue-gray Viennese . If this mutant is combined with the loss of color zone formation (g or a), the deep blue color of the blue Viennese is created . If the mutant c (or b) is added, the light blue color of the Marburger Feh is achieved.

The wild color factor (agouti)

Wild colored rabbit

The wild color or agouti factor (G or A) determines the zone distribution of the pigments in the hair. The English name of this factor is derived from agouti .

If the wild color factor is present in its original form G / A, the animal shows the typical wild color features: three-zone color distribution of the hair on the back, as well as the typical wild color badges: white belly and flower underside, inside of the thighs and jaw rims and brownish neck wedge. The speckle of the back color continues as a black and white speckled top on the flower. If the wild color factor is combined with mutations of the other color balls, the drawing images described there result.

Tan rabbit
Monochrome factor for black base color

The first mutation level of the wild color factor is the tan coloration (English tan, symbols go or at). With this mutation the zoning of the hair is abolished, if all other color balls are present in the wild type, the color of the coat is black. The lighter wild color badges remain as white or cream colored badges. In this form, the tan color is not represented as a color, the tan rabbits also have the yellow enhancer (y1..3), which leads to a bright yellow to red underbelly. In combination with the chinchilla factor (achi / cch2) the drawing of the white awn rabbit is created . According to Hochstrasser, this factor should better be called the "badge preservation factor" instead of the tan factor, as the typical feature of this mutation is the preservation of the wild color badge, while the yellow-red tan color that characterizes the tan rabbit is caused by the effect of the yellow enhancer.

In state g or a, the zoning of the coat color is completely eliminated, the rabbit is monochrome. In combination with the other alleles in the wild type, pure black animals result (Alaska, Schwarzer Wiener). Mutation of the other color factors leads to increasingly lighter colored, monochrome animals, from the blue of the Blue Viennese (ABCdg / aBCdeE) to the lighter blue of the Marburg Feh ABcdg / abCdE, to the sand color of the separator rabbit Abcdg / abCde.


Silvering is the appearance of individual hairs with pigment-free tips, distributed more or less evenly in the fur, which, together with the normal, black-tipped awns, give the fur a silver-like, frosted appearance. Young animals of the breeds in question are born without this silver coating, it appears in the course of the first year of life with the hair changes. The mutation (P1… 3 / si) is dominant compared to the non-silvering (p / Si). The silver coating is one of the oldest known mutations in rabbits and is already described in English writings from the 17th century. The inheritance of silver is not fully understood (Sandford).


There are at least two different alleles, the spotting determine the rabbits. A distinction is made between the point check, as with the German giant check or the English check. Another type of check is the belt or plate check, which occurs in the Dutch rabbits.

The two factors differ in their effect, while the spotted factor works by the fact that melanoblasts migrate “too late” from the neural crest during embryonic development , whereby melanocytes can no longer be deposited in the hair roots as melanocytes have become hardened in the meantime and the hair remains correspondingly colorless. With plate check, on the other hand, there is no formation of melanoblasts due to superficial defects in the neural crest, which otherwise, following the blood vessels, migrate into the skin surfaces and thus into the hair roots and form pigment there as melanocytes.

Spot check

Spot check

Dot spotting (German symbols k / K; English symbols en / En) shows itself in a pure form with a scarcely drawn animal, the so-called Hellschecken, which are essentially white with only slightly dark markings (breeder's expression: Chaplin). The mutation for spotting (K or En) shows an intermediate inheritance with the wild type k / en. In the breeds permitted in the standard, point spotting is always in combination with monochrome, the Rhenish pinto is an exception, which is a combination of Japanese drawing and point spotting. For the sake of clarity, the following explanations are based on the combination with monochrome (g or a). The animals defined as standard-type are split-tinged, mating such animals with one another results in 25% monochrome animals, 50% type chicks and 25% pale chicks according to Mendel's rules. In principle, a mating of monochrome animals with Hellschecken results in 100% typschecken. However, the factor for point spotting is linked to a so-called lethal factor (better after Majaura, semi-lethal factor), which leads to the fact that Hellschecken have a significantly reduced viability. For reasons of animal welfare, it is therefore recommended to prefer pairings between single-colored animals and type chicks in order to avoid the appearance of pure-bred pale chicks. However, there are also references to the literature that these semi-lethal factors, which apparently primarily lead to problems in the digestive tract, could be overcome through appropriate selection for the individual animal and for the breed. The drawing of the type piebald is essentially characterized by snout markings (butterfly), cheek points, completely colored ears, an eel line that extends to the top of the flower and the side spots formed as a band, as in the English piebald or as individual points, can be designed as in the giant chick. The ideal drawings required in the breed standards are not achieved by all animals, even with type checks. Schlohlaut states that the drawing of the Mecklenburg piebald can also be traced back to the effect of the dot piebald factor.

Plate or belt check

Young animal with typical Dutch drawing

Plate check: German symbol S for non-check, s1 ... 3 for different types of check, English du (from dutch = Dutch) for non- check and dud (dark) and duw (light) for different types of check. The mutants are not completely recessive to non-spotting, the inheritance is not fully understood, according to Sandford, several (including modifying) genes are likely involved. The spotting shows itself in the form of the Dutch drawing in more or less standard form in the Dutch rabbit (in different combinations with the five color balls, which lead to the large number of color strokes) and in extreme form in the Hotot rabbit, in which the white spots except for the black circles under the eyes cover the entire body of the animal. According to Hochstrasser, this factor should be called the “neural crest defect factor”, for the background to the development of speckles, see article Speckling . It should be noted that the numbering of the plate check factors does not correspond to individual, cumulative genes, but to different mutation levels of the factor.


Leucist rabbit

Rabbits (including albinos) normally have the factor for color formation X (German symbol X, English symbol V). The English symbol refers to the Vienna White rabbit as the best-known carrier of the mutated form x or v, which leads to the non-formation of pigment, but in contrast to the albino, the eyes remain colored. Another representative of this mutation is the ermine rabbit in blue-eyed color, which owes its white fur to a completely different genetic makeup than the albino-red-eyed ermine rabbit. Crosses between albinos and leucistic rabbits result in colored offspring, since the offspring of the F1 generation bring with them the dominant factor A / C from the leucistic parent and factor X / V from the albinotic parent. Leucism is intermediate with the wild type, the offspring usually have white markings on the snout or legs.

Plate check and leucism as parts of the neural crest defect series

If one follows Hochstrasser, there is no "leucism factor" X / V in rabbits, but this factor is to be understood as a further mutation (up to total loss of pigment) in the plate check series. The gradation of this neural crest defect series looks like this:

  • S - complete formation of the pigment
  • sa - sb- sc- sd ..... first signs of spotting in the form of single white hairs, white tufts, forehead spot etc.
  • si .... ideal training in Dutch drawing
  • sn ..... unknown mutation levels of the gene which lead to strong spotting with a complete predominance of white (e.g. in Hotot and Husum blue-eye ).
  • sx ..... complete loss of pigment as in the white Viennese .
  • sxe ..... another level of mutation which, in addition to the complete loss of pigment, also leads to epilepsy in the White Viennese .

An interesting synthesis of Hochstrasser's work is given by Majaura, who sort of arranges the modification factors mentioned. In addition to the black intensifier series postulated by Hochstrasser and the yellow intensifier and Dutch piebald series, which have been known for a long time, this author also gives a factor Z, the mutations of which determine the strength and characteristics of the point piebald (from bare-nosed piebalds, through the typical piebald piebald races to coat drawing).

Since several different genes can be responsible for leucism and spotting in other animal species, it is unlikely that all of these check patterns are mutations of the same gene.

In addition, according to Castle, the genes for leucism and plate checks are on different chromosomes.

The broadband factor

This factor, which determines the width of the intermediate color, is denoted by W in both symbol systems and w in the mutation (wide band). For this reason, the symbols are not given twice. The wild type W denotes the normal development of the intermediate color, w leads to the broadening of the band, a corresponding breed is not known to the author. Sandford gives the German equivalent y1..3 for the mutant named in the English system w. According to the information given by Rudolph / Kalinowski and Schlohlaut, the yellow enhancer is not listed in the English system.

Yellow Enhancer (The Pheomelanin Control Series)

Red New Zealander; the color of the fur clearly shows the effect of the yellow enhancer.

Increased expression of the yellow or red color in rabbit fur is referred to in the German system with y1..3, in the English system this factor is missing. The Dutch breed standard, which specifies the English and German hereditary formulas for each breed, also uses the y symbol for the corresponding breeds in the English system. The unmutated type is denoted by Y. This factor can be found in rabbits and Deilenaar, it ensures a rich chestnut brown coloring of the wild-colored fur. Yellow-boar-colored breeds with additional yellow enhancers are Sachsengold and Red New Zealanders. Yellow enhancers give the tan rabbit the bright tan color. As Hochstrasser was able to show, the yellow enhancer variants are dominant compared to the wild type and should be marked with capital letters. This suggestion is partially followed in the specialist literature. The wild type is marked with Y1, the mutation levels that lead to the increased expression of the yellow-red color are marked with Y2, Y3 etc. Since yellow enhancers are usually only listed if they are relevant for the coloring of the respective rabbit, misunderstandings are hardly to be expected. In this article and the articles on the individual rabbit breeds, the conventional presentation is followed. In contrast to the frequently found representation, according to which the yellow-red races apparently have different amounts of these yellow enhancers, Hochstrasser was able to prove that they are alleles, i.e. H. Mutation levels of a gene, that is, races with the different yellow or red coloring do not differ in the number of yellow enhancers, but in the mutation level of the gene. These are alleles of the pheomelanin control series, i.e. H. the gene controls the storage of the pigment pheomelanin in rabbits' hair.

The eumelanin control (black enhancer)

Hochstrasser explains the different manifestations of wild-colored rabbits (in the form of the shades of light, hare and dark gray) with the same genetic formula ABCDG according to Nachtsheim with the presence of a factor for the control of the black pigment eumelanin, which is analogous to the pheomelanin series (yellow intensifier) ​​as a black intensifier E is suggested as the symbol. Here, too, the wild type is given as E1, the mutants dominating it as E2, E3, etc. With this black enhancement factor, Hochstrasser also explains the iron gray and dark iron gray hues, which in the previous system were considered mutants of the black series (Bee and Be according to Nachtsheim, Ed and Es according to the international system). Similarly, recessive forms in the form of a reduction in black (e1, e2, ... etc.)

Red eyed dilution factor (lutino factor)

This mutation has only appeared recently (according to Regitz 1985 in Denmark). Animals with this mutation show a fairly light, yellow-deer-colored fur, comparable to a light burgundy or the basic color of yellow silver. The breeding in the Scandinavian countries takes place in the colors "shadow" (cream-yellow covering color with light blue, undercolor and wild color badge light blue) and "lutino" with yellow to orange overcolour and white to cream colored belly and wild color badge. (quoted from Regitz). Regitz gives u (elsewhere lu ??) as the symbol for the dilution factor in rabbits (wild type then U or Lu?). It is noteworthy that this mutant shows red eyes, analogous to an albino, although not completely pigmentless. The mutation, in combination with the previously known color balleles, could make it possible to breed new fur colors in rabbits. Rudolph and Kalinowski cite a work by Fox as early as 1982 (in Handbook of Genetics, 1975), and use the symbols Re for normal color formation and re for brightening and red eyes, but do not provide any further information. In humans, this mutation corresponds to oculocutaneous albinism type 2 and is referred to as the pink eye series across all species. In 1960, a mutation first observed in Bremen in 1949 was reported, which caused red eyes without lightening the coat color and was symbolized with ra.

Hair structure

Hair formation factors (modified from Schlohlaut and Sandfort)
feature German symbol International symbol
Long hair
Normal hair V L.
Longhair (Angora) v l
Normal hair Rex R1
Rex Shorthair rex r1
Normal hair Dec R2
German Shorthaired Pointer dec r2
Normal hair Nok R3
Norman shorthair nok r3
Satin (silk hair)
Normal hair Sat Sat
Satin hair sa sa
Beard formation
no beard formation ? ?
Beard / mane ? ?

Long hair factor

Long-haired rabbit, probably a fox dwarf
Angora rabbits

The long-hair factor (German V, in the mutation v, English L / l) occurs in angora and fox rabbits (including the dwarf forms). While the hair of the Angora constantly grows back and is sheared, the long hair of the fox rabbit, which also lacks the ear hangings typical of Angora, is subject to normal coat change and does not have to be shorn. Since Angoras were used in the outbringing of the fox rabbits, the long-hairedness of the fox rabbits is attributed to the same long-hair factor as in the angora, which, according to Schlohlaut, is, however, also questioned.

Short-hairedness (Rexe)

Main article: Rex rabbits

There are (at least) three known gene loci that lead to short hair (Rex fur) in rabbits. According to the literature, these animals cannot be distinguished phenotypically, but when crossed with one another in the F1 generation they lead to offspring with normal hair. The Rex rabbits, which can be found at least in Germany today, and according to Sandfort also in Great Britain, all belong to the Castor Rex type (rex or r1). However, Joppich, who bred the German shorthair rabbits (dek or r2) himself, describes that there were differences to the French Rex insofar as the German shorthaired pointer was curled like a Persian all over its body. The animals of this line were also made available to night homes. The breed apparently became extinct again in the 1930s. In this context Joppich mentions an Astrex or Astrachanrex with a similarly curled hair structure. This type is apparently also extinct. It is not known to which of the three types of short hair they belonged or whether they represented another mutation. Sandford also mentions this Astrex, but also there as probably extinct. The Normannenrex (nok or r3) originated in France as a mutation in the breeding of large Russian rabbits. Although Joppich describes these animals as being superior to the Castor Rexes and the German Shorthaired Pointer in terms of hair structure and health, this breed is apparently also extinct. A few years ago, a breed known as the Astrex rabbit appeared in Canada, but it is not known whether these animals are identical to the original Astrakhan rexes.


Main article: Satin rabbits

The satin structure of rabbit hair is a mutation from the normal factor (Sa) to (sa). The hair of the animals has a normal length, but a particularly soft, silk-like structure (name), which also leads to a slightly different appearance of the coat color (white becomes ivory). The fur hair of the Satin is approx. 3.5 cm long, the awns are fine and only protrude slightly above the hair. The under hair is very thin. The individual hair is covered by a thin, transparent layer of very fine, flaky or shingle-like surface membranes. Due to the special hair structure, the fur colors of the satin rabbit are particularly clearly visible.

Further hair structures in rabbits

Bearded rabbit

Belgian bearded rabbit

Bart rabbits (genetically identical with lion heads?) Show a significant beard or mane education, d. H. the hair on the head and the underside of the trunk are significantly longer. The Belgian bearded rabbit is a representative of this type.


Sandford and Joppich mention the possum rabbit . Sandford describes it as a Rex rabbit whose entire body is covered with curly, white-tipped hair that protrudes at right angles from the body and gives the animal a woolly appearance. The author also mentions that the possum character is inherited recessively to the "normal Rex". (rex / r1?). The opossum rabbit mentioned by Joppich is also a further breeding of Rex rabbits, here from Deutsch-Kurzhaar (dek / r2), further breeding does not seem to have taken place. If one follows the development of the British opossum rabbit described by Sandford, this mutation is a combination of one of the short hair factors and the long hair factor.

The dwarf factor

Homozygous dwarf from the mating of two dwarf rabbits (dw / dw; not viable)

The appearance of the well-known dwarf rabbits ( ermine and colored dwarfs ) with their compact build and short, tightly set up, erect ears is caused by the dwarf factor Dw (wild type) or dw in the mutation, which show an intermediate inheritance. The type dwarfs represent a split genotype (Dw / dw). The mating of these animals with one another results in 25% larger rabbits with slightly longer ears (“atypical, large color dwarf”, Dw / Dw), 50% type dwarfs (Dw / dw) and 25% pure-bred animals of the type (dw / dw), which, however, are not viable and already have a significantly lower weight at birth. Some authors use the symbolism in reverse (wild type dw / dwarfism Dw). The dwarf factor is thus a homozygous lethal factor .

The dwarf ram rabbits bred next to the color dwarfs do not have the dwarf factor in its mutated form.

See also


  • William E. Castle, Paul B. Sawin: Contributions to the genetics of the domestic rabbit . Carnegie institution of Washington, 1932
  • Friedrich Karl Dorn, Günther March (Ed.): Breed rabbit breeding. A manual for the rabbit keeper and breeder. 7th edition. Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen 1989, ISBN 3-7888-0569-2 (licensed edition by Neumann Verlag Leipzig-Radebeul).
  • Wolfgang Rudolph, Tassino Kalinowski: The house rabbit (= New Brehm library . Volume 555). Westarp-Wissenschaftsverlag-Gesellschaft, Hohenwarsleben 2007, ISBN 978-3-89432-857-3 .
  • W. Schlohlaut: The big book of the rabbit. 2nd Edition. DLG-Verlag, Frankfurt 1998, ISBN 3-7690-0554-6 .
  • JC Sandfort: The domestic rabbit. 5th edition. Blackwell Science, Oxford 1996, ISBN 0-632-03894-2 .
  • Lothar Thormann: Color dwarfs . Oertel and Spörer, Reutlingen 1997, ISBN 3-88627-203-6 .
  • J. Broekhuis, DWH Krooshof: Rasbeschrijfing van de Rus, Californian, Nieuwzeelander, Nederlandse Russen . Californian & Witte Nieuwzeelander Club, 1996
  • R. Regitz: The Lutino Rabbit, a colored rabbit with red eyes. In: rabbits. 1/2007, p. 50, ISSN  1613-6357
  • Standard van de Konijnenrassen, Cavia's and small Knaagdieren recognized in Nederland . Nederlandse Konijnenfokkersbond, Venlo 1990
  • F. Joppich: The rabbit . VEB Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag, Berlin 1967
  • G. Hochstrasser: Investigations on the history of the early rabbits in Germany I. In: Rabbits. 10/1999, ISSN  0941-0848
  • G. Hochstrasser: Investigations on the history of the early rabbits in Germany II. In: Rabbit , 11/1999 , ISSN  0941-0848
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  • K. Magnussen: Hereditary isolated ocular albinism with nystagmus and head swinging in rabbits compared with the corresponding anomalies in humans. In: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. Volume 161, No. 5, 1960, pp. 502-518, doi: 10.1007 / BF00683788

Web links

Commons : Rabbit Fur Colors  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ William E. Castle, Paul B. Sawin: Contributions to the genetics of the domestic rabbit . Carnegie institution of Washington, 1932.