Northern California Angora Guild

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Angora Color and Wool Length, Part 4: Wide Band vs. Regular Band

On June 14, 2014, there is a post on this blog:

We are re-posting the 6/14/2014 post here,  go to the end to see additional comments from today.

Fawn is an agouti pattern, classified as "wide band".   This photo was taken of a 4-month-old English Angora with wool parted on its back but not using a blower.   As we can see that there are wide bands of different shades of golden colors.  

Chestnut is also an agouti pattern; according to the description of chestnut in SOP:

Surface color is a rich chestnut, ticked with black tipped guard hairs.  It shall have one or more intermediate bands of tan, alternating with slate, with a blue-gray undercolor.

This photo was taken of a 5-month-old French Angora when the blower is on.  It clearly shows all the requirements of the color bands.  

As we can see the bands are narrower than the bands in the fawn shown above. 

Chinchilla is also in the regular agouti pattern group, the major difference is the all the tan coloring are eliminated by the dark chin gene c(chd).  Unfortunately the chinchilla Angora has not been seen for quite a long time thus we could not show a photo.

One may notice that the first photo was a junior English Angora and the second photo is a junior French Angora.  The frustration of raising the agouti pattern Angora is that the bands would be hard to see or even altogether disappear from the long wool, regardless of how good the rabbit is.   The above photo was taken of an 8-month-old fawn French Angora that has won major awards with this coat.

When parting the wool of the above gorgeous French Angora, the bands are very hard to see.  

In general the judges are not as stringent about the bands on the wide band Angora such as fawn, cream and red.  The width of the bands and the non-extension ee gene make the distinction of bands hard to be visible.   In the case of the regular agouti pattern such as chestnut, opal, chocolate agouti, copper, lynx... judges tend to fault the color if the bands are not present.  It is hard to make a senior Angora with length and density to clearly show the regular banding thus such colors are harder to show.

Added comment today:

As we can see that the wider the band the harder it is to show any color band distinction when the rabbit matures.   Whether it's the regular band agouti or the wide band agouti, it's the natural growing process that the elongation of the wool makes the bands hard to see.  

Another factor could make the color band more visible or less visible is the method of harvesting wool.   If we cut down wool either with scissors or a clipper, the wool tend to grow back lighter because the underwool and the guard hairs are growing together.  If we pluck the wool off the rabbit, the guard hairs tend to come back first, the color will be more intense and the ring will be more visible.   The show herds today are geared toward those with non-molting non-pluckable genes.    In addition to the benefit of generating a finished show coat, the non-molting strain herd has less chance of having woolblock plus other benefits, see  

Most of us are aware of the issue of the PETA video that shows an Angora being plucked in a cruel manner.   It is important not only for us Angora lovers to be truly good to our rabbits, but also maintain a good image to the general public.    No matter how gentle one plucks, it tends to invite negative comments from those who do not understand the molting process.   Having a non-molting non-pluckable herd lessens the chance of being viewed as cruel in wool harvesting.    Even though cutting/shearing reduces the intensity of the color and visibility of the ring pattern, it's a very small price to pay.  

In Angora standard, the points allocated to wool is over 55 points for all four breeds: 55 points for French Angora and Giant Angora (only REW is accepted at this point thus color discussion is irrelevant), 57 points for English Angora and 60 points for Satin Angora.   Color accounts for 5 points.    Though it is a part of our quest for the perfect specimen of Angora, one should not be too fixated on the minor things but lost the perspective of the overall picture.


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