About Our Tans
[Lithium - ARBA Convention Best of Breed Winner]
The surface color of a black tan should a uniform jet black carried deep toward the skin. Blacks are by far the most popular variety in the United States. The contrast between the sleek black coat and the tan factor really make this variety a standout and favorite amongst breeders. For that reason, black classes are also the most competitive of all Tan classes at both the local and national level.
Blacks have been our main passion and focus for over 20 years. At the national level we have won numerous Best of Breeds and Best of Variety wins with our blacks. At the local level we have won many Best in Show awards as well.
The blue surface color is described very simply as being "an even dark blue." While blues are not shown in the same numbers as blacks or chocolates, they are a challenging variety to raise. Because blues are a genetic dilute, they tend to be lighter in tan factor. Because all Tans (regardless of variety) are held to the same standard for tan factor, this is an extra challenge. That being said, in recent years the quality of blues has increased steadily as dedicated and talented breeders have put time and effort into the variety.
We have shown blues very infrequently at the National level, but have been competitive when doing so having won BOV/BOSV Blue at the ARBA National Convention and National Tan Show.
The surface color of a chocolate Tan is described as a "uniform, deep, rich, dark, chocolate brown carried well down toward the skin with a dove-grey under color." Chocolates are currently the second most popular variety in the United States. Chocolates tend to have type and color nearly on par with blacks.
While we do occasionally produce chocolates out of our blacks, we only keep a very small number of chocolates in production. The chocolates we do produce are of a high calibur. We have won numerous Best in Shows over the years with chocolates. At the national level we have won Best Chocolate and Best of Breed
The surface color of a lilac Tan should be an even dove gray with a pink cast on tip of the hair shaft. While lilacs are beautiful, they are currently the least common variety in the United States. There are lilacs out there with fantastic type, color and markings. However, because the variety numbers are so small it is often difficult to find quality stock.
Additionally, by virtue of being diluted, lilacs also have lighter Tan factor than the blacks and chocolates. All Tans are held to the same standard for Tan factor, which results in an extra hurdle for the blues and lilacs to overcome.
We do not specialize in lilacs and in fact to date have only had a handful of lilacs appear in litters. We are happy to produce recommendations for other breeders.
The Tan Personality
Tans are intelligent and friendly rabbits. They are a full arch breed and are evaluated by being allowed to move freely on the judging table. "Running breed" is a popular term, but we do not prefer it as we think this term confuses some breeders and judges alike. Tans are not evaluated on how well they move or do not move on the table. Rather, Tans are to be minimally handled and allowed to move naturally in order to evaluate their markings and type. An animal that moves well may be easier to evaluate, but what is important is that the animal is structured properly. There are no points allocated to movement. In fact, some of the best Tan judges we know are excellent at paying equal attention to how a Tan is moving in the judging coops (or the holding coops behind the table) and how the animal moves up and down the table freely. Glen Carr and Caleb Thomas are, in our opinion, the most gifted running breed judges. Their style of judging is the foundation for how we evaluate our own herd.
How Tans are evaluated is relevant to their personality as they are bred to be active on the show table. As a result, they are a very high strung and energetic breed. Even experienced handlers can and will get scratched. Tans love attention, but they are not cuddly and do not like to sit still or be held. Tans that are properly socialized and handled regularly should not be aggressive. We handle our Tans daily from birth and we find them to be very friendly and personable. As with any breed, does can become cage territorial once they hit breeding age. Overtly aggressive rabbits should be removed from the herd.
Often we are asked if Tans are appropriate for youth breeders. Unfortunately, that is not a question we can answer. Kelly raised Tans successfully as a kid as many others have. Kelly was also experience with rabbits, having first raised New Zealands, and in turn was confident in her ability to handle rabbits. If you are unsure about the breed, begin to do whatever you can to interact with Tans before jumping in. Go to shows. Watch Tan judging. Talk to breeders. If you are a parent doing research, our biggest suggestion is to allow your child to guide the process. As a former youth breeder, Kelly often notes that her enduring interest in the hobby and her success as a youth breeder was due to the fact that while supportive, the adults in her life expected her to do the bulk of the work -- from caring for her own animals, researching and learning about the breeds she was interested in and even contacting breeders and selecting her own stock.