Pointed White Hollands ... a breeder's dream come true
by Debbie Jones, WY
Why aren't there any pointed white (Himalayan, Californian) holland lops being exhibited at ARBA shows? This is a question we kept asking ourselves many times over the last 10 years of exhibiting our Hollands. When we started out in rabbits, the girls meat pens in 4H were Californians, when we bred Woolies, pointed whites were our favorites, we also bred a few Himalyans... obviously it was an attractive color to us, yet we didn't have this attractive color in our holland herd.
We had decided a few years ago to breed only Hollands and for variety, in lieu of other breeds in the barn, to work with odd colors of Hollands. We bred some chocolates, and tri colors, but found the type on the chocolates very difficult to improve upon, and the tri could not be integrated into the herd, thus the need to keep a "seperate" color in our barn. Thus we made the decision to develop the pointed white color in Hollands. It being a recognized variety, we felt we were ahead of the game, many new color varieties are not ARBA recognized giving development of a new color another big hurdle to overcome.
We did some research on color genetics and looked at the different breeds we could use to introduce the color into our Hollands. We chose a pointed white Fuzzy Lop, for obvious reasons, the type would be more complementary than the other breeds. The biggest drawback would be the wool. To date, we have done several line/inbreedings of our Pointeds and have yet to produce wool. We feel we have not concentrated the wool gene in the Hollands we have chosen to keep, but a wooly sport would not be unusual in one of our breedings in the future, as it is not unusual in many breedings of holland to holland to produce a fuzzy.
We appreciate the striking markings of a Pointed white rabbit, especially in a holland. Getting a pointed white holland with good type has been far less of a challenge than the other colors we have worked with, and the color is improving each generation. The bucks photo accompanying this article, named "Viagra" has won an ARBA leg over torts, under a "holland" judge to boot!! This project has taken over 2 years of breeding since we have approached it on a very small scale, with just a trio at a time, but we feel the resulting pointed white Hollands are well worth the effort.
I have reports from other breeders that would state they have or had pointed white Hollands, but with further investigation we find they were frosty's, ermines or light sable points... they did not exhibit the ruby eyes necessary for pointed white color pattern. If any other holland breeders actually do have pointed white Hollands in their barn I would be interested in hearing from them, so we could expand the gene pool in our herd. Pointed whites are like many of the other odd colors, chocolate, tri colors, they don't just "show up" in your herd, they must be introduced.
We have used a REW holland for most of our pointed white breedings, this is a color that will let you "see" the pointed gene if t is carried. If you would breed a pointed to a black, some of the offspring could carry the gene, but there is no way to know if they do, until they are bred to another that carries the pointed gene. The REW has been a way to "cheat" and not have to gamble with who does or doesn't carry the gene. Unfortunately, the pointed that carries REW also has washed out point color, so we are working on breeding pointed Hollands that don't have a REW gene. Our most recent litter is exhibiting very dark point color, so we are hoping we have achieved this big step in our color development plan. Also this generation of pointed white Hollands will be registerable, with the 3 generation pedigree being all holland, without a fuzzy lop on it.
We have also had to work around the agouti pattern and the broken pattern, which we found some of the REW's we used were carrying, and passing it onto some of their offspring.
We can breed these Pointeds to our torts, blacks, blues, sables and sable points. We won't breed to brokens or any agouti patterns, which would mess up the ptd white pattern. You don't know how many times we look at baby bunny tails, looking for color on the little guys, and then how exciting it is to have a couple Pointeds in the litter. This is a color that will be competitive and can be integrated into our herd, with a pointed just "showing" up in a litter now and then. Thus we can now enjoy good typed pointed white Hollands, one of our favorite colors, in our favorite breed.
The Hollander / Spring Issue - April 1999