A-Series Gene

So as covered in the Genotype discussion (click on Genotypes if you missed it), there are 5 basic sets of genes that establish coat color in a rabbit A-E series. (Vienna, fuzzy, and other genes will be discussed separate.) Remember that the coat color is determined by the dominate gene out of each pair and the recessive gene is shown as “_” until one can determine what recessive gene they are carrying. Example: Chestnut A_B_C_D_E_.  None of the 2nd pair of genes in a chestnut matter because all of the 5 gene series are the dominate genes and cover up everything else.


The first grouping is called the A-series and includes three genes that create patterning on a rabbit. Each rabbit inherits one A-series from each parent and that pairing will determine the following:

Agouti Pattern “A”

The most dominate of the A-series is the Agouti gene represented as “A”. When a rabbit carries this gene it is dominate over any other A-series gene that rabbit may have inherited. (Remember they carry genes in pairs, one from each parent). This gene causes a ticking pattern like you would see in a wild rabbit in your back yard. This pattern causes rings of color on the hair shaft, light markings around the chin, belly, underside of the tail, inside of ears and the inside of their legs.  This grouping consists of such colors as chestnut and orange.  Any Agouti colored rabbit can recessively carry and hide the otter and self-patterns which are recessive to Agouti.


A chestnut colored rabbit could carry all of these combinations in the A-series, but will look exactly the same:




Tan Pattern “at”

The second most dominate gene in the A-series is the Tan Pattern “at” which is most recognized as the otter patterning. They are solid colored on the back and most of the head, with bellies, ears, and underside being a lighter color.  The hair shafts would not have ringed or ticket patterning. This gene is recessive to “A” Agouti and therefore any Tan pattern rabbit does not carry agouti.  It is however dominate to Self “a”.


Black Otter can be the following:



Self Pattern “a”

Lastly is the most recessive gene, the self-gene. This produces all the blacks, blues, torts, and many other solid colors.  A self-rabbit cannot carry the Agouti or the Tan gene.  If you breed a black rabbit to a blue rabbit you cannot get an otter or chestnut, it’s just not possible.

Tort: aaB_C_D_ee and no other possible A-series genes

Black: aaB_C_D_E_


NOTE: The above A-series is mostly standard, but patterning and color can be affected by both the C-series (shaded) and the E-series (extension).  This is why a tort with self “aa” is not a solid color or a Harlequin A_B_C_D_ej_ doesn’t look like a chestnut. Gotta love all these genes, right?

Color Examples

Here are some of my examples of the colors of Holland Lops.  I do not have pictures of all the colors, but all photos are from my own stock.

Blue Eyed White
Blue Tort
Vienna carrier Magpie (dilute harlequin)



Chestnut with Vienna Markings (normally no white or blue eyes) – Un-showable due to VM.


RR 37 Buck
RR 31 Buck
VC Buck
Black Tort


RR 29 Doe
Silver Martin – lacks tan in white
RR 28 Buck
Black Otter – Notice the tan in with white
VM tort next to a VM orange


2 Chestnut VMs and a Magpie at a few days old

Color List and Genotypes

The following are to help you get better acquainted with colors and their genotypes. Remember that the dominate gene is what shows through and each gene has two pairs.  So “A_” just means that in order to be agouti they must carry on “A” but could be hiding a “at”(tan gene) or “a”(solid) in their genetic makeup.  So the “_” just indicates anything recessive to the shown letter could be there.


Chestnut: A_ B_ C_ D_ E_

Chocolate Agouti: A_ bb C_D_E_

Opal: A_ B_ C_ dd E_

Lynx: A_ bb C_ dd E_

Chinchilla: A_ B_ cch3_ D_ E_

Chocolate Chinchilla: A_ bb cch3_ D_ E_

Squirrel (blue chinchilla): A_ B_ cch3_ dd E_


Red: A_B_C_D_ee ww

Orange: A_ B_ C_ D_ ee + rufus modifires

Fawn: A_ B_ C_ D_ ee

Frosty: A_ B_ cch3_ D_ ee

Cream: A_ B_ C_ dd ee


Orange/Black Tri-Color: A_ B_ C_ D_eje Enen

Blue/Fawn Tri: A_B_C_dd eje Enen

Chocolate/Fawn Tri: A_ bb C_ D_ ej e Enen

Lilac/Fawn Tri: A_ bb C_ dd eje Enen


Black Gold Tipped Steel: A_B_C_D_Es_

Blue Gold Tipped Steel: A_B_C_dd Es_

Black Silver Tipped Steel: A_B_cch3_D_Es_

Blue Silver Tipped Steel: A_B_cch3_dd Es_

Chocolate Gold Tipped Steel: A_bb C_D_Es_

Lilac Gold Tipped Steel: A_bb C_dd Es_

Chocolate Silver Tipped Steel: A_bb cch3_D_ Es_

Lilac Silver Tipped Steel: A_bb cch3_dd Es_


Black Otter: at_ B_C_D_E_

Blue Otter: at_B_C_dd E_

Chocolate Otter: at_ bb C_D_E_

Lilac Otter: at_ bb C_ dd E_


Black: aa B_ C_ D_ E_

Blue: aa B_ C_ dd E_

Chocolate: aa bb C_ D_ E_

Lilac: aa bb C_ dd E_

Red Eyed White: __ __ cc __ __

Blue Eyed White: __ __ __ __ __ vv


Tort: aa B_ C_ D_ ee

Blue Tort: aa B_ C_ dd ee

Lilac Tort: aa bb C_ dd ee

Chocolate Tort: aa bb C_ D_ ee

Sable Point: aa B_ cch1_ D_ ee

Siamese Sable: aa B_ cch1 c D_ E_

Smoke Pearl: aa B_ cch1 c dd E_

Seal: aa B_ cch1cch1 D_ E_


Black Pointed White: aa B_ ch c D_ E_

Blue Pointed White: aa B_ ch c dd E_

Chocolate Pointed White: aa bb ch c D_ E_

Lilac Pointed White: aa bb ch c dd E_



Harlequins are “solid” versions of a tri (Tris are broken Harlequins)

Lilac/Fawn Harlequin: A_ bb C_ dd eje enen

Orange/Black Harlequin: A_ B_ C_ D_ eje enen

Chocolate/Fawn Harlequin: A_ bb C_ D_ eje enen

Blue Harlequin (Magpie): A_B_C_ dd eje enen


Iron Grey: aa B_ cch3_ D_ ee

Blue Point: aa B_ cch1_ dd ee

Chocolate Point: aa bb cch1_ D_ ee

Lilac Point: aa bb cch1_dd ee


Tort Otter: ataB_C_D_ee

Sable Martin: at_ B_ cch1_D_E_

Smoke Pearl Martin: at_ B_ cch1_ dd E_

Chocolate Sable Martin: at_ bb cch1_D_E_

Lilac Sable Martin: at_ bb cch1_ dd E_

Silver Martin: at_ B_ cch3_D_E_

Blue Silver Martin: at_ B_ cch3_ dd E_

Chocolate Silver Martin: at_ bb cch3_D_E_

Lilac Silver Martin: at_ bb cch3_ ddE_


Lilac Chinchilla: A_ bb cch3_ dd E_

Sable Chinchilla: A_ B_ cch1_ D_ E_

Is a Rabbit the Right Pet?

First and foremost, a bunny is not a cat or a dog. They are cute and fluffy and can be very loving and loyal, but they are quirky in their own ways and can’t compare to either animal.  Rabbits are best suited for school aged or older children along with adults.  That is not to say a young child can not be a great companion for a bunny, but they are naturally shy and curious and startled at loud noises and rambunctious antics from younger kids. I always advise families to take that into consideration.  Due to a Holland Lops size, they are also easily injured if children are not careful. (My son with ADHD wouldn’t have been good with a rabbit at age 5, but now at 10 is calm enough to handle them with care.)

Rabbits require cleaning of their cages every few days, daily feeding and watering, and exercise for a healthy lifestyle. Depending on the age of the caretaker, parents may need to assist with this. They are easily litter trained and many find it fun and enjoyable to let them hop around the house provided their are no pets that could injure them.

Bunnies require the following items for their basic care:

Items you will need:

  • Rabbit Pellet Food
  • Hay (Pet stores carry Oxbow Hay if you want smaller quantities)
  • Water crock or Bottle (mine are used to a bottle). Do not use plastic bowls, they will chew on them or knock them over. Dollar store carries ceramic ones.
  • Rabbit cage/house/home (min size recommended is 24×24 but bigger is better for exercise and play)
  • Litter box if planning to litter train (do not use wood shavings, this can cause respiratory issues.
  • Only aspen shavings, paper, fresh towels or straw is recommended for bedding

For their enjoyment:

  • Toys (tunnels, boxes to hop on, hay in a toilet roll, etc.)
  • Treats (Recommend “BOSS” black oil sunflower seeds or greens over commercial treats) Until 6 months old, keep treats to one or two a day max…junior rabbits are still adjusting their stomach flora and should have a limited diet.

First Day Home:

Remember that this is a big transition for them. They had to say goodbye to their siblings, their home, and everything they have known.  Your bunny may be shy, quiet, and hesitant the first few days.  Try to keep noise and disturbances down until they get accustomed to their new surroundings. Pet them and calm them with a treat or a place to hid and relax.  I recommend families with small children limit the interaction to a minimum for a day or two until the bunny feels safe. Soon they will be eating, drinking, and exploring their new digs and start interacting with their new family.


Holland lops eat around 1 oz of feed per pound of weight a day. I find they like it best to get some in the morning and some at night so they don’t pig out at once and get hungry later.  Since they are still growing you may find they eat more.  Try to keep in mind that hay needs to be available at all times and pellets are not to be the sole source of food. Hay keeps their teeth healthy and their gut functioning. Water must also be available at all times to help them digest. Please make sure they always have hay available as rabbits can get sick and easily go downhill if left for a day without food or water.



Always pick up your bunny with two hands. One around the mid-section and one under its back end.  Rabbits are not a fan of heights if they don’t feel secure.  Never pick up by the ears or skin of the neck.


Rabbits do decent in the cold, but easily overheated in the hot sun. If your rabbit will be kept outside he/she will need to be in a shady location, have some protection from wind, protection from rain and snow, and most importantly from predators. It’s rare, but rabbits can die from fright, so a safe place is important. If they are inside, you will want a cage with a litter tray or litter box.  If a solid bottom cage, I recommend litter training to keep their fur and feet clean so they are not constantly sitting in their waste.  Clean litter box as needed. (I find 1-2 times a week for one rabbit is reasonable.)


Rabbits require toenails to be clipped and an occasional brushing. I find it easiest to wrap them in a towel with a paw out and carefully clip the toenails this way.  Just like any animal with nails, take care not to cut to the quick.  I use a rabbit/slicker style brush to help groom them for show or just to clean up.  They molt 2 times a year and during this time this will help them ingest less hair into their system.

Frequently Asked Questions/Concerns


.I get a lot of questions about if XYZ is normal or if a bunny should be eating certain things, so here is a small compilation of questions and answers:

Q. My bunny isn’t eating their hay.  Why?

A.  Depends on a few factors.  I always ask what else they are being fed if they are not eating their hay.  Think of hay as a salad.  Some people love salad, some people don’t.  If your hungry, you’ll eat your salad, but if mom gives you pizza, and ice cream then that salad may just sit there.  Hay should always be free fed, but pellets and treats need to be kept in check or most rabbits will fill up on pellets and treats.

Q. My bunny is pooping mushy clusters of poo.  Is this normal?

A.  Yes!  These soft clusters of poo are called caecotrophe poop aka “cecals”. This poop is made of food that was fermented and then is expelled and is grossly enough, full of nutrients. (Yuck!) So yes, you may also see your cute bundle of fluff eat these soft pellets and is actually healthy for them.  If your rabbit is producing a lot of this then check their diet to make sure your are not feeding them too many treats and they are eating their hay.

Q. My rabbit is peeing orange/red or cloudy pee!  What is wrong with them?

A.  Many times, nothing is wrong.  Rabbits pee tends to be high in calcium and produces cloudy pee that is a pain to clean off of flooring and cages. One thing to watch for is an extremely sludge thick pee which can indicate a buildup of calcium in their bladder and should be addressed. As for the color changes, what have they been eating?  Diets high in plant pigments (carrots, kale, spinach) can cause discoloration and red pee.  If you see spots of blood or dark reddish brown clots then there is an issue and should be addressed with the vet.

Q.  My bunny nips me.  Why?

A.  Rabbits can be like children sometimes and try to seek attention any way they can.  What were you doing when they nipped at you?  If you were holding them or reaching for them it is a way for them to say “not now” or “leave me alone”.  Just like a dog, rabbits can growl and nip to show displeasure. I find it best to issue a stern tap to the nose and then if needed to pin them to the ground so they know they are not in charge.  Then leave them alone until they are in a better mood.  Do not let aggressive behavior continue or your rabbit will learn it is acceptable.

If you were just chilling on the floor and they come up and nip you and look at you, its a way for them to say “pet me, love me, play with me”.  For some this is endearing, but it should be “nipped in the butt” so they don’t develop a bad habit of getting attention through biting.  When they nip you next time, try shrieking at them.  Yes, your family will probably look at you like you’ve lost it, but the startling noise should teach your bunny that it is not a pleasant experience.



What do Do When You Get Your Bunny Home!

I know everyone is excited!  It’s bunny day!  The kids want to hold him/her, the parents are hoping the rabbit is the right pet, and the bunny….the bunny is terrified!

What, terrified? Yes.  No matter how much my kids hold them, no matter how many places we let them run around and sniff, a rabbit is a prey animal. What that means is anything new, anything big, and anything noisy is a threat.  How would you like it if your first day home you were passed from giant to giant and poked and prodded?

What I’m trying to get at is that the first few days home for your little guy can be traumatizing. They lost their littermates and are in a completely new location. I always advise everyone to take those few days to sit back and watch your new family member.  Remind kids to be quiet and observe, offer treats and talk softly.  Lay down on the floor so you aren’t so big and calmly let her or him come to you to sniff and smell. If she pulls back, don’t chase.

Soon you should start seeing the little bunny curiously looking around this new world, coming up to you to nudge your hand for a treat, and in time chilling on your lap while you gently pet them.  Rabbits are great pets, but they are not a puppy. They love to get attention, are curious about their surroundings and are very outgoing when they feel safe.  Enjoy your new bunny, let them get used to their new home and people and they will love and adore you!