Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blanc de Hotot - Sport rabbit charlie or boxer

I don't have a picture of a "charlie" or a "boxer".

  • A Blanc de Hotot with no eye bands is a charlie.
  • A Blanc de Hotot with only one eye band is called a boxer.
  • If there is banding around the half of an eye, but it fades into nothing as it goes around the eye, I'm pretty sure that would be a charlie too.

Never breed a charlie or a boxer. In fact I will keep some rabbits with fatter eye bands just as a precaution against the bands getting too thin or disappearing.

A Blanc de Hotot with no eye bands is just a white rabbit!

Blanc de Hotot - Sport rabbit piebald marked

I call this a piebald. It might not be the correct name, but it is what I use. The head is like a Dutch rabbit, but the rest of the body is mostly black or "silvered".
This rabbit isn't actually the best example, the black silvered area can begin right at the shoulders or base of the neck, with the whole body being mottled.

Again, I don't use these rabbits in my breeding program.

piebald is defined as:

piebald [pī′bôld]
Etymology: L, pica, magpie; ME, balled, smooth

1 having patches of white hair or skin caused by an absence of melanocytes in those nonpigmented areas. It is a hereditary condition. Compare albinism, vitiligo.
2 having two colors: black and white or brown and white; mottled. piebaldism, n.

a horse coat color of large, distinct patches of black and white. The patches are irregular in shape.

Blanc de Hotot - Sport rabbit Dutch marked

This is a Blanc de Hotot that appears to be a Dutch rabbit. Some are absolutely perfect Dutch marked rabbits!
This is due to the fact that the Dutching gene, Du or du, I can never remember how to write it, is a big part of what makes a Hotot a Hotot.
I would not use this rabbit in my breeding program. Some folks do, I am not judging them, just mentioning it. These rabbits can produce properly marked offspring when bred to a standard marked rabbit.

Blanc de Hotot - Sport rabbit with random spot

This kit is a sport. See the spots on the flank? They are a genetic throwback to one of the breeds used in the development of the HT. Most probably the Checkered Giant in the case of the Blanc de Hotot. The Checkered Giant or "Geant Papillion Francais" has flank spots, a spine stripe, black ears and head cap, and of course (very wide) eye bands. So it's easy to see why these markings pop up.

The flank spots are common, as are back and rump markings along the spine, as well as on the back or base of the ear. These can hide at the base of the ear or tail, and then you see them all of the sudden on a rabbit at 6 months! A random spot on the rump, ear or flank is a heart breaker on an otherwise perfect rabbit. I like to go over the rabbits on a very bright sunny day or under strong, white light inside, preferably halogen lighting if you have to do it inside. Pulling a rabbit out of a carrier at a show and having the judge DQ you, or even worse when you are selling someone a rabbit is terrible. Nobody will believe that you didn't see those black hairs before.

Want the scientific definition of a genetic sport? Here ya go!

1. a nucleotide change, including base substitutions, insertions or deletions in DNA, or RNA in the case of some viruses, that gives rise to the mutant phenotype.
2. an animal exhibiting such change. Called also a sport.

I would use a rabbit like this in my breeding program. It would fare best if bred to a standard marked Blanc de Hotot. I would not breed two sports, the resulting litter usually has too many badly marked rabbits.

pure bred Blanc de Hotot litter

I talk about my crossbreeding program here, but neglect the "pure" Blanc de Hotot rabbits that I breed. The standard Blanc de Hotot is in fact my main breeding program. These are the rabbits my daughter and I show, and the entire reason for us being in rabbits in the first place. I have a litter in the nest box right now, so it made me think that I should talk about them for a change.
The pure HT are kept pure, breeding for improvement. I plan to maintain a "pure" line to be kept separate from the cross-bred line. They are to be run parallel to each other, bringing the best HT into the cross line, but not the other way around.

This litter is from a Standard HT buck and a sport HT doe. Both their pedigrees go back at least 4 generations as pure Blanc de Hotots. There were 12 kits total, two were runts and were culled, 2 were born on the floor of the cage and died. The remaining 8 were warm and well in a nicely made nest. A few days later I found a big, beautiful HT kit dead on the floor of the cage.

I suspect that the kit held on tightly while nursing and the doe got out of the nest with the kit still clinging on. Sadly, it seems to be the biggest, most robust kits that die like this. They have the strength to stay tightly clamped to the teat and nurse, which does them in if the doe gets out suddenly.
Of the seven remaining kits, four are properly marked and the rest are "sports". I am working toward having only show marked animals as breeders, weeding the sports out of my barn, but that will take a few generations. Right now type has to be king! More on sports later.