Northern California Angora Guild

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Grandpa's Advise to Happiness


You may be a crazy rabbit person if you react to grandpa's advise for happiness:

Something to do: Taking care of rabbits.
Something to love: Rabbits.
Something to Hope for: Going to Rabbit shows.

You may be an even crazier Angora person if you react to grandpa's advise for happiness:

Something to do: Grooming Angoras and cleaning Angoras' butts.
Something to love: A big cloud of Angora wool.
Something to Hope for: Angora winning Best In Show.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Touch or Don't Touch

Freddie says:  touch me, touch me, please touch me.

Brodie says: I'd rather you not touch me.


Creamy Dreamy stays in the back, no touch please.

Beckham also stays far from the touch zone.

Uptown Girls says, Dare you touch me!

Betty is known for putting "Do Not Touch" signs on her carriers.   What do others think about this touchy-feely thing?   Read this Dear Abby column:
"DEAR ABBY: I have very long hair and I'm proud of it. I have worn my hair long ever since I was a little girl. My problem is when I go somewhere, other women come up to me and start touching it.
I understand that they like my hair because they always compliment me on it, but I hate it when strangers touch me. Apparently, people have forgotten the concept of "personal space."
How can I tell someone -- without sounding rude -- to please not touch me? Or must I just keep quiet and tolerate it with a smile? -- RAPUNZEL IN DALLAS
DEAR RAPUNZEL: Not everyone enjoys being touched, particularly by strangers. If someone reaches out to pet you, smile, step back and say, "I'd prefer you not do that." You have a right to your personal space. As long as you say it in a pleasant but firm tone, no one has the right to be offended. And if someone is, refrain from making it your problem."


Thursday, April 07, 2016

Angora Color and Wool Length, Part 5: Modifiers

Two days ago, we compared two chocolate agouti littermate brother and sister.   One has an appearance that is very orange while the other one looks grayish.    Same situation with the chestnut agouti color.   In the above photo we have two littermate brother and sister that are both chestnut.  The one on the left, Fair N Square, is more dark gray while the one on the right, Fair Lady, is quite brown.   Their color genetic genotype is A-B-C-D-E-   but the modifiers make one with more brown/orange color while the other is more blue/gray.  

Up the 1995 standard, these two appearances were listed as two colors: the one on the left would be "Wild Gray" and the one on the right would be "Chestnut".   The description on the page 78 of the 1991-1995 SOP says, "Wild Gray: Same as chestnut except on the body, the slate blue band is predominant, giving an overall dark slate effect with little tan or chestnut banding. Eyes Brown".

I was then on the NARBC standard committee to revamp the color guide.   The committee chair asked the members whether these two colors should be combined together as chestnut since there was no difference in genotype, I along with others agreed.   There was no intention of eliminating the wild gray that has little tan banding, it's a recognition of what modifiers do to change the appearance even with the same genotype. 

This is the ring pattern of a wild gray agouti with slate blue band.

This is a chestnut with lots of brown/orange bands, photo taken of a younger coat.

 Both have exactly the same genotype of A-B-C-D-E-.

This completes the five-part series of the Angora Color and Wool Length.


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.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Angora Color and Wool Length, Part 3: Chocolate Agouti to Ring or not to Ring

This is a beautiful chocolate agouti colored ring pattern...  (Ring Pattern is an alternative term for Agouti Band) 

... that belongs to the 3-month-old chocolate agouti junior buck.  (Up to the 1995 SOP, chocolate agouti is also called cinnamon.)  

This is also a beautiful ring pattern in the chocolate agouti, it's more orange than the first one.

Here is the baby chocolate agouti French Angora doe that possesses the ring pattern shown above.

Though they are both chocolate agouti, their colors are not exactly the same as there are modifiers that give the appearance more orange or more gray.

This is the wool comparison from the back.

These juniors both have excellent ring pattern, they are three months old when these photos were taken. Their wool is beautiful but way too young and too short and not dense enough to be competitive on the show table.  

Here is their daddy Freddie who has won all breed Best In Show, all breed Reserve In Show and so far 32 legs of which 16 BOBs,  but what about his ring pattern?

With tremendous length and density and being totally competitive on the show table, the chance of Freddie having the kind of clear ring pattern as a junior is impossible.   There are still color differentials on the wool but it's not as definitive bands as any of the juniors.  Why?   Let's try the rubber band demo again...

I put some purple stain onto the salmon rubber band.   In its non-stretched state, the stain is clearly visible.

Same rubber band, same stain and same dimension photo, when I stretch it out, the color of the rubber band lightens, and the stain is still there but it blends into the salmon color.    Once again, this is an analogy of wool growth, I am not suggesting that the wool is being stretched.  

The agouti patterned Angora do have bands, how good it is genetically, check it when it's a junior.   If you wish to have a show coat with length and density, you will have to accept the ring pattern being elongated and blended in.  

Two months after Freddie was cut down and starts to grow another coat, the ring pattern re-appeared.   His wool is only about 3 inches long but with nice chocolate agouti ring; however, the chance of doing well in shows is very limited.   By the time he is ready to rock the show circuit again, the bands will be elongated to a point of hard to tell the definitive ring pattern.    The visibility of the agouti ring pattern definitely has a lot to do with the length of the wool.     

Monday, April 04, 2016

Angora Color and Wool Length, Part 2: A Chocolate Angora is Never Chocolate

We have seen this picture in yesterday's post.   In the litter that was born in December 2011, there were black, chocolate and tort.  Dad is a black and Mom is a chocolate tort.  

At three weeks old, the two chocolate babies are very rich chocolate.

This is Chocolate Kiss at about 10 weeks old.

Chocolate Kiss is about 6 months old in the full sun.

Chocolate Kiss at around 7 months old. 

Chocolate Kiss at around 10 months old.   She is beautiful but her wool color is no longer the rich chocolate as seen when she was a baby.   Baby has short hair, the color is concentrated in that shorter length/space, when the wool grows, the similar amount of color is being shared by a longer and extended surface. 

  We'll attempt an explanation by using a rubber band.

This a salmon colored rubber band in its natural state.   Color is rich, as all the color are concentrated in it non-stretched state.  

The same rubber band is being stretched, analogous to the growth of the Angora wool (this is an analogy, I am not suggesting that the wool is being stretched).   The similar amount of color is being shared by a longer and extended wool, the surface color is now a lot lighter.   The coat of normal fur rabbits do not show such a process as the normal fur growth is nowhere near the extreme of the wool growth of Angora rabbits.

One may comment that human hair keeps the color whether one wears it long or short.  The reason is that the structure of human hair is different from animal hair, and that wool is different from any kind of hair.

  Here is a quote from a Forensic Science Communications article:

"Animal Versus Human Hairs
Human hairs are distinguishable from hairs of other mammals. Animal hairs are classified into three basic types.

    • Guard hairs that form the outer coat of an animal and provide protection.
    • Fur or wool hairs that form the inner coat of an animal and provide insulation.
    • Tactile hairs (whiskers) that are found on the head of animals and provide sensory functions.
 Other types of hairs found on animals include tail hair and mane hair (horse). Human hair is not so differentiated and might be described as a modified combination of the characteristics of guard hairs and fur hairs.
Human hairs are generally consistent in color and pigmentation throughout the length of the hair shaft, whereas animal hairs may exhibit radical color changes in a short distance called banding. The distribution and density of pigment in animal hairs can also be identifiable features. The pigmentation of human hairs is evenly distributed, or slightly more dense toward the cuticle, whereas the pigmentation of animal hairs is more centrally distributed, although more dense toward the medulla.
The medulla, when present in human hairs, is amorphous in appearance, and the width is generally less than one-third the overall diameter of the hair shaft. The medulla in animal hairs is normally continuous and structured and generally occupies an area of greater than one-third the overall diameter of the hair shaft.
The root of human hairs is commonly club-shaped, whereas the roots of animal hairs are highly variable between animals." 

In addition, the smoother the surface the more reflection is the color while a less smooth surface will not reflect as much color, think the glossy finish vs. the matte finish in photo prints.  The guard hairs are straight and more smooth than the underwool, the Angora breeds that have more guard hairs and/or more straight hairs will have more intense color than the breed with more wool.    English Angora has the most wool vs. guard hairs in all four Angora breeds, it's evident that the English Angora in general has the lightest color, while the French Angora and the Satin Angora have more intense color.       

This photo is taken of a tort English Angora, one can see the crimp along with lesser guard hairs that creates a surface that is not conducive to color reflection.

We will take a look at the agouti pattern in the next few days.    With the bands in the agouti pattern, the color situation is even more complicated. 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Angora Color and Wool Length, Part 1: A Black Angora is Never Black


Betty would like to illustrate the color change of an English Angora from birth to a full show coat.
In December 2011, I have a litter born with black, chocolate and tort.   Mom is a chocolate tort and dad is a black.
At three weeks old,  Zelda is the jet black bunny in the back.

At ten weeks old, Zelda starts to be carrying nice wool and the color is very black.

Zelda is almost six months old in May 2011.  Comparing to the previous picture, the color is no longer jet black.

Zelda at 9 months old, she is more of a gray than black but the Angora standard still calls it a black because genetically she is a black rabbit  aaB-C-D-E-   and that her face is very black.

Why does Angora coat lose the intense color when it grows?   Us Angora breeders accept that's the fact of raising the breed.  Have you thought about the reason?

We'll continue tomorrow.