Topic: agouti patterns
This post is in response to Lana's questions about why there are "rules" for color breeding. Simply put...if you follow the "rules" you will get the best color expression possible in your subsequent litters, and hopefully MOST of the resulting colors will be showable in ARBA here in the US (and maybe elsewhere...I do not show).
To get an overview of color names and their underlying genetics, I like to visit Meg's Website. You will see that there are many ways to get a "black" rabbit, for instance. Not all of them have the same genetic combination, and some of them will be "better" black colors than others, even though they are all called black.
Because of the nature of some of the recessive genes available for color, certain combinations do not look "clear". Because of their haziness, they are often misidentified. Angoras that are bred for fiber contribute to the hazy genetic combinations for oftentimes you are just trying to make healthy animals with great fiber! If you are into dyeing angora, then whatever color comes out is JUST fine for it can all be overdyed.
So...agouti. Agouti shows itself whenever a single "A" gene is present. Agouti patterns are defined as rabbits with colors that show a 3 color "ring" when you blow into their fiber: base color is white or creme or lightest grey; middle color is a darker version of the base color or a light grey or tan; and the tip color is the darkest color (usually). Chestnut agouti rabbits are the most dominant of the color possible with A-B-C-D-E-. Here is Nordic Christopher Robin from Kim Kaslow (where my beloved but gone Nordic Glinda came from, and where her daughter Countrywool Belinda moved to):
Chestnut agouti rabbits have faces that look like North America's wild rabbits, and when they are bunnies, they look just like wild rabbits.
An agouti looks dark and striking when the colors involved are clear. If they get muddy, or if recessives dilute them down to nonexistence, you won't see the rings, even though the animal is genetically programmed to show rings. Sometimes you can see the rings when they are 1-3 months old, but the coat color fades after that and you have no idea. You will see an agouti patterned face with a pale grey coat and no ring definition. This is called a "bad" agouti pattern and leads serious show breeders to define what colors to breed with other colors in order to keep the ring definition sharp and clear.
So my answer to Laura's question is another question...what are you breeding your angoras for for? Rules are guidelines to achieve something specific. So define your goals before you start and you may have an answer to your question.