Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Breeding the Pointed White English Angora Part I– Introduction

Certain colors of English Angora need to be bred in a certain manner, one of the most important of these is the Pointed White.  All too often, I see pictures of what people claim to be a “Lilac” Pointed White.  Upon further inspection it is actually what I call a “tort pointed” or, to those who speak genetics, a non-extension pointed.  A true lilac pointed, is not just light in color, it should have nice solid dark lilac color on its points.  These non-extension pointeds are undesirable, and when the color is so affected that it is non-existent, can even result in disqualification. 

How do the light non-extension pointeds occur?  The pointed white or himalayan gene causes color to be removed from the rabbits entire body, except the tail, feet, ears, and nose.  So, if you have a rabbit that is genetically a black, but displays the pointed gene, black color remains in these areas.  Same for any other self color, such as blue, lilac or choc.  However, if you have a rabbit that is genetically a tort that carries the pointed gene, only that smoky tort color will remain.  So, you get light colors that appear to be frosted on instead of solid. As you can imagine, a blue tort, choc tort, or lilac tort has even lighter shading which could cause the color to become virtually nonexistent.  That is why it is important to never breed torts into your pointed line, and to avoid any rabbits that appear to have light, frosted points, or that either do not have feet color or that on occasion lose their feet color.  And, to you judges out there, do not give English angora pointeds a pass for color when you would normally disqualify in a normal breed.  These light pointeds that do not display color in the feet or tails should be disqualified.  Although I have seen many non-extension gene pointeds shown in the past few years, I have only seen one disqualified, and that one had virtually no point color whatsoever.  This does not encourage the breeders to breed the colors correctly.

Keep in mind that most of you will not have “ideal” pointed white programs at this time because it appears that a lot of this knowledge of breeding the color has not been widely distributed. Therefore, even if you may not have followed all of this advice in the past, it is my hope that you can take this guidance and use it as a start to help you to create beautiful dark pointeds that will be stunners on the show table.  

  This series will appear in three parts, so stay tuned for Part II – the Three Cardinal rules of Breeding Pointed Whites and Part III – Other Concerns, which will address heat sensitivity and Color Intensity.

Also, some of the terms that I use when describing genetics are  not “textbook”, I often use my own terms to make the subject easier to understand.

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