Rex + Californian = Silver Marten?

DSC_0072The hybrid babies are ten weeks old now and their color patterns have turned out to be quite interesting. I have about five or six bunnies that look like this. Doesn’t it look a whole lot like a Silver Marten rabbit to you?

DSC_0068The bunny pictured above is a cross between a black otter Standard Rex dam and a pure Californian sire. She has the white eyeliner, belly, tail, nose-shading, neck triangle, inner ears, chin and white ticking, just like a Silver Marten.

If I saw this rabbit at a show, I would think it was a Silver Marten with below average ticking, as it’s supposed to come up over the entire hindquarters. It’s hard to see in the photo but her black fur is also a little bit grayish and not as dark and lustrous as Silver Marten fur should be.

For comparison, here’s a young Silver Marten kit from a couple of years ago before I stopped breeding them:

DSC_0046He’s quite young here, but you can see the basic coloration he has. Some SMs are born with lots of ticking and some with less. I have had kits who only had it go up a few inches, much like the hybrid doe in the first shot.

DSC_0071Back view of her white ticking. It doesn’t go up very far, but it’s there.

It’s interesting to me to think about the origins of rabbit breeds and how they were initially developed. We seem to accept that no new breeds are being created, although I know there are people working on new colors within existing parameters. It’s mostly about ‘perfecting’ the breed you already have.

I wonder what would happen if I took one of these hybrids to a rabbit show and entered it as a Silver Marten. Could I breed my own version of the Silver Marten using totally disparate breeds? It’s an interesting thing to think about.

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