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Question
Hi Dana, me and my wife have been breeding rabbits for about 3 years now. We are currently getting into trying to show rabbits and have some very good quality animals we have worked hard to get. The broken Mini Rex is my favorite variety and I have been working on them for a while but I still cannot seem to get it right. I have read tons of articles and I cannot really find what I am looking for. Most of my rabbits have broken in their line somewhere, they seem to not throw as much pattern as I want though. Ive been trying very hard to get good showable patterns but they are rare. My plan is, through things I have learned and read, I want to get a solid black female with no broken in her background and breed her to a black charlie to try and get a booted(black) and then re-breed the booted black which now has broken in its background with the charlie to hopefully get well colored, well marked broken black kits. What is your advice on adding more color to the coat since they already have nice type and fur.

Answer
Dear Josh,

I am not the right person to ask about breeding for particular characteristics, not because I don't know about it, but for the reasons outlined here:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/breeding.html

The color pattern on a "broken" rabbit is one of those traits that is not only genetic, but also affected by random developmental events during embryogenesis.  The same cells that give rise to the pigmented cells of the skin also migrate inwards and their descendant cells develop, among other things, into the neurons that innervate the intestines and other internal organs.  The timing of these cell migrations is not genetically determined, and each individual will have a unique pattern of skin pigmentation because of this.  Both environment and genetics play a role, and there is a great deal of random chance involved in the ontogeny of these color patterns.

In short, it may not be possible to get exactly the patterns you are seeking.  

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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