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Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by obking92, Feb 7, 2017.
I was just wondering if he could be mixed idk
I think your Harlequin is a mix, for the following reasons:
His ears are on the short side. Harlequins are supposed to have proportionately long ears, carried in a V-shape. I had a lot of young Harlies that wound up looking like Lop crosses because they couldn't keep their long ears up when growing up during hot summer months.
He has very poor color. Japanese Harlequins are supposed to have rufus modifiers that help turn their lighter colored areas a rich golden to orange color. Clearly, this guy doesn't have any rufus; even a dilute would have deeper color than he does.
He looks a bit on the small side. The minimum showable size for Harlequins is 6 1/2 lbs. IME, Harlies often push the small end of the scale; I have had some that just barely made showable weight as adults, but I'm not sure this guy is even that big. He looks like he has a rounder head than a Harlie should have, too.
He could be a mix, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was purebred, albeit not great show quality. Since Harlequins are judged almost entirely on markings, their body type, in my experience and from what other breeders/judges have told me, doesn't tend to be all that great. Yes, they should have longer ears and be larger with commercial body type. In practice, though, this isn't always true. Also, although your rabbit doesn't have great Harlequin color, that doesn't mean he's not from purebred Harlequin parents. It is difficult to get rabbits with the correct markings, even from well-colored parents. Your rabbit could just be one of the "unlucky" kits that didn't get the right markings.
In conclusion, your Harlequin-colored rabbit could be purebred, or not. The only way to know for sure would be if he had a pedigree.
"Not great show quality?" Shall we try, "not even remotely like something that should see the inside of a show room?"
As someone who has bred Harlequins since the 1980's, and who has talked Harlequin long into the night with several very respected, long-time Harlequin breeders (and even beaten a few of their rabbits at shows) I'm silly enough to think my opinion may be of some value. 60% of the points go to markings, but 15% go for color; that's more than you get for type (10%). The washed-out, pale yellowish color displayed by this animal is part of the reason that the ARBA standards committee forced the American Harlequin Rabbit Club to drop showing by variety more than a decade ago, and only allows showing in groups - Mags and Japs. They reasoned that, with fewer classes to show in, the breeders would be forced to be more competitive with what they put on the table, and such poor quality animals would stop turning up. If this animal is a purebred, he's the product of several generations of breeding by someone who hasn't a clue what they are doing (whether or not they are writing pedigrees).
Markings themselves can be all over the road; it's not at all unusual to have several litters and not have even one single baby with the required minimum in terms of markings. Very, very few kits have the "right" markings, even when breeding show winners. Honestly, at one point, the best harlequin pattern in my whole rabbitry was on a Mini Rex, and I know that the person I got my Tricolor Mini Rex from (Kitty Lynch) wasn't breeding for the Harlie pattern in them (I'm not even sure that it's possible on a Tri). The harlequin gene itself isn't rare; all Harlequins and Rhinelanders have it, and several other breeds (like the Lops and Rexes) can have it, too. Harlequin seems to be particularly popular with people breeding Lionheads; while it isn't a showable color in that breed, an awful lot of the pet-quality Lionheads have the harlequin gene, and display at least a little of the spotting that can only be the result of that gene.
Thank you for sharing your experienced opinion. I've been showing rabbits for four years, have attended about 80 rabbit shows, and have several long-time breeder mentors. With that said, I certainly have more to learn. And, since Harlequins are somewhat rare in my area, I haven't talked to very many real breeders of that particular breed (or seen very many Harlequins outside the pages of books), so my data is probably faulty. I'm glad there are breeders like you who are raising quality specimens of the breed and who have knowledge to correct relatively-inexperienced rabbit raisers like me.
I agree with your observation that the harlequin gene isn't very rare, and that is seems to pop up in many breeds (even ones that aren't recognized). Lionheads and Mini Rex (both pet quality) are the other breeds where I've seen the Harlequin color the most.