Breeding Brokens and Solids

by Glenna M. Huffmon

The genetics of breeding broken color and solid color rabbits is basically very simple.  The broken pattern is dominant to the solid.  Thus breeding a solid color to another solid color will always result in solid colored offspring.  This holds true even if the solid color rabbit has both parents broken.  The recessive solid color can only be expressed when the rabbit carries two solid color genes.

Breeding a broken pattern rabbit to a solid color gives each baby a 50% chance of being a solid color and a 50% chance of being a broken pattern.  it does not mean that if there are four babies two will be broken and two will be solid color.  It is simply the chance that each baby has of being either solid or broken.  All could be solid or all could be broken, etc.

Some breeders are skeptical of breeding two broken pattern rabbits together because they do not want the extreme Charlie marked babies.  However, breeding two broken pattern rabbits together gives each baby a 25% chance of being a Charlie, a 50% chance of being a normal broken patter and a 25% chance of being solid colored.  I recently bred two broken patter rabbits together with a litter of seven resulting.  Of the seven - one was an extreme Charlie, two were correct broken pattern and the other four were solid color.  So much for that myth!

The extreme Charlie in the above litter is a doe - and with good type - thus I am keeping her.  She is almost totally white.  There are nice narrow black eye bands, a touch of black on each ear, and the remains of a spine stripe on the back.  I could almost pass her off as a Dwarf Hotot except for the floppy ears.  She will be bred to solid bucks and will give 100% broken pattern babies.  The only thing that would technically keep her off the show table is the fact that there is NO color on the nose. 

If you do not want to keep the Charlie marked babies, the pet stores usually love them.  However if the type is really good on the Charlie, I would not hesitate to put it back into the breeding program. Breeding the Charlie to a solid mate will result in 100% correct broken pattern babies.

The genetic code is En for the dominant broken pattern and en for the recessive solid color.

The EnEn results in the Charlie marked, the Enen results in the normal broken pattern and the enen will always be solid color.  One must keep in mind that a Ruby-eyed White could be a broken in disguise.  So if you breed a REW to a solid and get some broken babies, the REW is genetically a broken pattern rabbit hiding behind the pure white coat. 

Breeding a Charlie doe to a solid buck - Charlie doe EnEn x solid buck enen
Dam has only the En to pass on and the solid buck has only the en to pass on.  Thus all of the babies will be Enen or broken pattern.

Identifying the broken pattern with "En" and the solid color with "en", the following chart will show how this works. 
Sire - Broken pattern - Enen        Dam - Solid color - enen
Each parent will give one of these genes to the baby and the breeding can be plotted using the Punit square.

                 --Dam's genes--   


en en
En Enen (broken) Enen (broken)
en enen (solid) enen (solid)

Each baby has a 50% chance of being broken and a 50% chance of being solid color.

Remember solid to solid = all solid babies; broken to solid = broken and solid babies; broken to broken = Charlies, solids and brokens; Charlie to solid = all broken.  (Of course Charlie to Charlie = all Charlie so don't do that breeding. Okay!)

The Hollander - Spring issue - April 2001