English Spots
            English Spots are a very old breed of rabbit.  There are 7 recognized varieties (colors):  Black, Blue, Chocolate, Gold, Grey, Lilac, and Tortoise.   Adult English Spots weigh 5 to 8 pounds.  They are a fully arched breed and are allowed to run up and down the table to show off their type and markings while being judged. 
           English Spots have a specific marking pattern and must meet certain marking requirements to be showable (in ARBA sanctioned shows).  Their markings consist of a butterfly marking on the muzzle; eye circles; cheek spot (small spot on the cheek wisker); colored ears; a spine marking (a stripe from the nape of the neck to the tip of the tail that widends above the hips) with a herring bone effect (jagged marks on each side); and a sweep of side spot markings consisting of a chain, body markings, and hip markings.  The side marking spots should start out small in the chain and gradually get larger with the largest spot in the center of the hip markings.  The spots should start out with two chain spots at the nape and sweep down, increasing in number, along the belly then swirl up around the hip.  All spots should be round and separated from other spots or markings.  The rabbits should be free of stray spots on the head and stray spots near the spine.  The markings should also be balanced - meaning the two sides (of the body and head) should be mirror immage in size, shape, and placement of the markings.
                Some of the English Spot marking disqualifications include:  more than one break in the spine marking or a break that exceeds 1/4 inch; a missing cheek spot; more than one stray spot on the head; any head markings that touch each other;  and white spots in the upper half of the ears.  It is permissible for Spots to have colored/mismatched toenails.  English Spots that do the best in competition have good type and like to show off and have clean sharp markings with round spots and are free of stray spots.
                English Spots are a very active breed.  They are very friendly and love attention.  They make a good pet or 4-H project for older children and are a challenging breed for rabbit raisers to breed and show.  It is challenging to breed a well marked English Spot because not all babies in a litter will be marked, not to mention showable, or marked well.  When a pair of marked English Spots are bred together the litter will consist of 1/2 marked, 1/4 Solid (solid colored with no white), and 1/4 Charlie (mostly white with colored ears, partial butterfly, and some other partial markings).  Although they can not be shown, the Solids and Charlies can be used in breeding programs.  If a Solid is bred to a Charlie, the entire litter will be marked; and when a Self or a Charlie is bred to a marked English Spot, 1/2 the litter will be marked.   
            The above informaton is my personal observations and suggestions about breeding, raising, and showing English Spots based on my experience over the years, as well as my interpretation of the English Spot Standard of Perfection and listening to judges evaluating Spots at shows. 
            You can learn more about English Spots by joining the American English Spot Rabbit Club and by reading the English Spot standard in the American Rabbit Breeders Association's Standard of Perfection and the American English Spot Rabbit Breeders Association Official Guide Book.
            Please contact me at watchmerunspots@live.com if you have any questions.
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