Light Chinchilla cchl 



Moving one step lower on the c-series ladder, we find light chinchilla cchl, with no yellow pigment in the coat whatsoever and only two units of black pigment with which to colour the fur shaft.  

Since this is the c-allele responsible for producing our shaded varieties of Netherland Dwarfs, you have to mentally substitute 'shaded' for 'light chinchilla' in order to understand cchl's effect. During the 1920's and 1930's a number of geneticists in Europe and the U.S. were performing the bulk of the studies regarding coat colour in rabbits that is used as reference material.  These geneticists were scientists, not rabbit fanciers and though they were sensitive to subtle nuances of colour, they didn't follow the standard descriptions of the verieties.  The geneticists, being pioneers in the field of rabbit colour, often coined their own names for the colour genes.  Apparently, they studied the c-series alleles via chinchilla-coloured rabbits, and, when the 'shaded' gene appeared, they saw the effect in terms of a lightened Chinchilla and naturally named this gene allele 'light chinchilla cchl. 

The agouti-patterned light cchl is not a recognised variety of Netherland Dwarf.  What is described by the term "Sable Agouti" is the "Ghost Chinchilla".  Since the agouti pattern A gene allele bands the fur shaft, dividing the black and yellow pigment into distinct zones - the Sable Agouti appears with an intermediary band coloured differently from the base and tip.  Since there is no yellow pigment at all in the fur shaft, there is no underlying colour on any portion of the hair shaft, this leaves the intermediary band area unpigmented, therefore, white.  There are two units of black pigment covering this white fur shaft at the base and tip.  However, with only two units of black covering this otherwise 'bare' hair shaft, the colour is weakened from the true black of the full colour and dark chinchilla rabbits to a dark brown in the Sable Agouti.  The Sable Agouti resembles the Chinchilla in having a fur shaft that is darkly-coloured at the base, light in the middle portion, and darkly-coloured at the tip.  It is easy to confuse the Sable Agouti with the genuine Chinchilla and occasionally Sable Agoutis are exhibited at shows but usually recognised as being "poor in colour" for a Chinchilla as the fur tips of the Sable Agouti are, after all, dark brown instead of the jet black of the agouti-patterned dark chinchilla Chinchilla. 

The at and a light chinchilla is the Marten Sable and Siamese Sable respectively.  Should the Dwarf inherit a pair of light chinchilla cchlcchl alleles, it will be a Dark Sable.  Except for the white belly and ticking, the tan pattern Marten Sable is essentially the same colour as the self-patterned Siamese Sable.  With sables, the hair shaft is void of the underlying yellow pigment, but is covered root to tip, by two units of black pigment.  The two units of black can only achieve a brown colour as compared to the black produced by the four units of black pigment present in the full colour C and dark chinchilla cchd alleles.  We also observe the effect the light chinchilla cchl allele has in producing darker colour where the fur is shorter and the pigment more concentrated in the extremities (head, ears, legs and feet, and tail).

To produce a medium sable, the light chinchilla gene allele must be inherited along with one of the lower c-alleles.  The effect of this genotype results in lightening the overall colour of the dark sable to the medium shade sable. It is a peculiarity of the c-series that while some of the gene alleles have a fully dominant-recessive relationship with one another, other alleles are only incompletely dominant or recessive.  Breeding dark and medium sables is a good example of seeing how light chinchilla cchl is visibly affected by the presence of himalayan ch or albino c, with both expressing their presence in the phenotype to produce a medium sable.  If cchl were completely dominant over its lower c-alleles, we would not see this lightening effect of the lower allele and there would be no discernible difference between a cchldark sable and a cchlch or cchlc medium sable.  When gene alleles have an incompletely dominant-recessive relationship, evidence of both the dominant and the recessive alleles are expressed in the phenotype.

Here again, in order to produce a  correctly-coloured Siamese Sable, the light chinchilla cchl allele must be inherited along with either himilayan ch or albino c to lighten the Seal to the desirable medium Siamese Sable.


dark siamese sable           medium siamese sable

Full Colour C    Dark Chinchilla cchd    Himalayan ch    Albino c

back to colour distribution in  the fur shaft

the basic patterns

the basic colours

extension of colour in the fur shaft

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