There are 144 color variations of a lionhead rabbit and this can be broken down in basic genetics.
There are 5 sets of colors which determine the color of the rabbit and each of these groups include sets of genes, presented as followed:
AA, BB, CC, DD, EE (Dominant)
aa, bb, cc, dd, ee (Recessive)
Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee (Dominant-recessive carriers)
EnEn - Charly
Enen - Broken
enen - Solid coloured rabbit
Dominant vs. Recessive
The rabbit receives one gene of each parent, therefore this produces the sets of genes and the first letter in each gene set conveys the dominant gene, and the second letter represents the carried gene. Genes are always presented as dominant and recessive.
A dominant gene is the trait one can see or observe and these genes also make up the rabbits phenotype (observable traits). The recessive traits are traits an observer can not see, yet they are in the genetic code of the rabbit and therefore carried through its genes. All the recessive and dominant genes make up the lionheads genotype.
A dominant gene will hide the recessive gene and the recessive gene can only be observed if there are two recessive copies.
The different combinations of dominant and recessive genes can be viewed as followed:
The image above shows dominant to dominant breeding. All offspring will have the dominant genes appearance and will only carry the dominant gene. The offspring is AA and therefore 100% dominant.
The image above shows dominant- recessive carrier to dominant-recessive c breeding. This will produce: 25% AA (dominant appearance-dominant carriers), 25% aa (recessive appearance-recessive carriers), 50% Aa (dominant appearance-recessive carriers).
The image above shows dominant- recessive carrier to recessive breeding. This will produce: 50% Aa (dominant appearance-recessive carriers), 50% aa (recessive appearance-recessive carriers).
The image above shows recessive to recessive breeding. This will produce: 100% aa (recessive in appearance and as carriers).
Agouti vs. Self- "A" The Agouti Gene
The rabbits coat colour in its natural form is called Agouti and through genetic mutation the gene restricts some of the natural occuring colour in Agouti. Therefore a seemingly new colour will be ensued.
Agouti characteristics focus on the wild color with lighter coloring around the eyes; nose and mouth; and white coloring underneath the rabbits belly and tail. The individual hairs have color bands.
Agouti is the dominant gene (A).
The image above shows and Agouti colored litter
Self on the other hand, is a uniform color and does not show any lighter markings on the facial area or belly.
Self is the recessive gene and can be found in the genotype as "a" or "at". In the "at" gene the same tan pattern as in the A gene is displayed, but the individual have no color bands. The "a" gene can only be viewed as "aa" and displayes a uniform color.
The image above shows a rabbit with the Self gene
Self and Agouti determined in the genotype:
AA - The rabbits appearance is Agouti and it carries the Agouti gene
Aa - The rabbits appearance is Agouti but it carries both the Agouti and the Self gene
aa - The rabbits appearance is Self and it carries the Self gene
Black vs. Chocolate- "B" The Black/Brown Gene
The rabbits fur is black or black based.
Black is the dominant gene (B).
The image above shows a Black colored rabbit
The rabbits fur is chocolate or chocolate based.
Chocolate is the recessive gene (b).
The image above shows a Chocolate colored rabbit
The image above shows a Chocolate colored rabbit with the Löffelohr Gene
Black and Chocolate determined in the genotype:
BB - The rabbits appearance is Black and it carries only the Black gene
Bb - The rabbits appearance is Black but it carries both the Black and the Chocolate gene
bb - The rabbits appearance is Chocolate and it carries only the Chocolate gene
Colored vs. Ruby-Eyed White (REW Gene)- "C" The Color Saturation Gene
The image above shows a Colored rabbit with all pigments present
The Chinchilla Dark Gene:
This gene is known as the Chinchilla Dark Gene and will allow the production of some of the color pigments in the rabbit. If the rabbit has the Agouti gene, white bands will appear between the dark color bands. In general, the yellow pigment is reduced to white. Furthermore, the chinchilla gene can come in combination with blue-eyed rabbits.
Furthermore, the cchd gene is co-dominant to its alternating cchl gene.
This gene is represented as "cchd".
The image above shows a rabbit with the Chinchilla Dark Gene present
The image above shows a rabbit with the Chinchilla Dark Gene and the blue eyes present
The Sable Gene or The Chinchilla Light Gene:
The image above shows a rabbit with the Sable Gene
The image above shows a rabbit with the Sable Gene and an included Point pigmentation
The Himi Gene:
The Himi Gene (ch) shows rabbits, whose fur is a color called Pointed White. The rabbit is white except its muzzle, ears and feat. Furthermore, this gene is temperature sensitive and therefore the color would be darker and more distinctive in the colder temperatures.
The image above shows a rabbit with the Himi Gene
The image above shows a rabbit with the REW Gene
Colored and REW (in general) determined in the genotype:
CC - The rabbit has all color pigments in its appearance and it carries all pigments
Cc - All pigments are present in the appearance but the rabbit does not only carry all pigments, it also carries the REW gene
cc - The rabbits appearance is REW and it carries only the REW gene
Non-Dilute vs. Dilute- "D" The Color Dilution Gene
The image above shows a non-diluted rabbit in the color black
The image above shows a diluted rabbit in the color blue (black was diluted to blue).
Diluted and Non-diluted color determined in the genotype:
DD - The rabbit has a non-diluted fur color and it carries only non-diluted colors
Dd - The rabbit has a non-diluted fur color, yet it carries both the non-dilute and dilute gene
dd - The rabbits appearance is dilute and it can only pass on the dilute gene to its offspring
Extension vs. Non-extension- "E" The Exension of Color Gene
When extension is present, the color lies throughout the hair-shaft.
Furthermore, there are four genes present in the extension set: E- full extension, ES- extension of dark color, e- extension of light color, and ej. The ES gene produces a variety of steel colors, and the ej gene produces harlequin color patterns.
Examples of extension would be chocolate and chestnut.
The image above shows a rabbit with the ES gene in the color of Agouti-Chestnut (a steel fur-color)
The image above shows a rabbit with the ej gene, which is present as a Harlequin pattern
Non-Extension determinse the meaning of which the color does not fully extend throughout the hair-shaft.
Examples of non-extension would be fawn and tortoise.
The image above shows a rabbit with the Non-extension gene, present within the fawn fur-color
Extension and Non-extension determined in the genotype:
EE - The rabbit has the extension gene dominating and can only pass this gene to its offspring
Ee - The rabbit has the extension gene dominating , yet it carries both the non-extension and extension gene
ee - The rabbits appearance is determined by the non-extension gene and it can only pass this gene to its offspring
English Spotting- En Gene
The English Spotting Gene is still present in the "Gene E" group, yet it is made up of two different genes: En and en, En being the dominant gene.
Enen will cause normal spotting (broken color Holland Lop), whereas EnEn will cause spottings primarilly on the head, resulting in a color named Charlie.
The last gene set of enen will result in a "normal"/solid colored rabbit.
Broken colors should not be bred together due to the instability of the genotype. But broken colors are able to be bred to solid colors, which would result in either one of the gene sets.
The image above shows a rabbit with the Charlie-Broken gene present (EnEn)