If you want to show rabbits, you'll need to understand
how the American Rabbit Breeders Association (A.R.B.A.)
sets the fur color standards for rabbits. Each rabbit
breed has its own set of A.R.B.A.-recognized colors
and color patterns. A.R.B.A. organizes fur colors and
patterns into two basic divisions: group and variety.
A group is the larger division; each group is sorted
by the fur type or the way the colors are dispersed
throughout the fur. Each group can have several varieties.
For example, a common group among rabbit breeds is
Agouti. The Agouti group is characterized by hair shafts
that have three or more bands of color, with a break
between each color. Some varieties within the Agouti
group are Chestnut, Opal, and Lynx (an orange color).
Other common groups are Pointed White (a white coat
with colored points (feet, tail, and nose); colors
within this group are the colors on the points, not
the body color), Self (a coat consisting of one consistent,
solid color), Shaded (colors in this group exhibit
a gradual transition from dark to light shades of the
color, usually from dark at the head to light at the
tail), Ticked (guard hairs or outer hairs - the longer
fur that is most obvious - have a distinctly different
color from the undercoat, with the guard hairs having
the darker black or black-tipped hairs), and Wide Band
(a hair shaft having more than one band of color, with
the main color in a single, very wide, very prominent
band on the shaft).
Some people refer to Tri-Color (a group having three
colors in the coat; one of these colors is always white)
as a color group, although it is not recognized as
its own separate group by A.R.B.A.
that are interspersed with white are called "broken" (for
example, a Broken Lynx). When a rabbit is white with
points of a different color, the rabbit's color is
the color of the points (for example, Sable Point).
Some rabbits, such as the Dutch and English Spot, always
have their spots of color in the same place, no matter
what color is the rest of their fur is. Some breeds,
such as the Californian or American Sable, come in
only the Standard variety, which means their coloration
never varies in group or variety.
For more information on fur coloration, please see
the A.R.B.A. Standard of Perfection, which gives
details on the physical characteristics each breed
of rabbit should possess in order to compete in an
A.R.B.A.-sanctioned show. The A.R.B.A. Standard
of Perfection can be obtained through the A.R.B.A. Web site.