How to produce a Tri Color Holland Lop

how to produce a tri color holland lop

Fun topic today! How to produce a tri colour Holland Lop 🙂 Do you wonder how you can start with tris even if you don’t have a pair of tris or harlequins?

We’re not going to get into the nitty-gritty too much this time ’round, but going to stick with the basics. So don’t worry, I’m aiming to keep the gene talk to a dull roar.

Because I know how hard it is to wrap your head around those details…it’s taken me years to get a grasp on them and I still don’t have it down pat. So, don’t feel bad if you have trouble ‘getting it’ and remembering all the gene names.

It’s like math…either you’re really good at it or it’s a lot of work.

I’m in the latter category. I don’t like math or numbers. So not sure why I like genetics so much….


THAT’S way off topic…

How to Create a Tri Color Holland Lop

While it’s easiest to start with two rabbits with the tri colour gene (ej), that’s not always possible.

Nor is it always possible to get two tris or harlequins with GOOD type.

So, how can you get around this dilemma?

Stock to start with

It is best to start with at least one rabbit who is a ej. Either a tri or a harlequin. Either a buck or doe is fine. Otherwise…no tris or harlequins 🙂

Colours you can breed that rabbit to in order to get more ej rabbits or at least ej carriers, from best to worst:

  • any other tri or harlequin (pay attention though if you’re breeding dominant colors (ie. black) to dilutes (ie. blue) because that could be an issue down the road if you’re wanting to stick with JUST black/orange tris or blue/fawn tris, etc)
  • orange
  • fawn
  • cream
  • tort
  • agouti
  • otters

Click here to see the color breeding chart related to this.

Click here to see the color breeding chart with notes on breeding tris to agoutis.

Tri x Tort

While it is frowned on to use torts in a tri program, sometimes it’s the only way to improve type.

(It’s frowned upon because torted tris are not showable. On that same note, Harlequins are not showable in ARBA shows. DRCBA seems to allow it.)

But, if your only options are a GOOD tort buck over a not-so-hot tri doe, go for it!

Hopefully, you’ve got a nice-sized litter from your tri doe. Watch those babies closely. There should be a tri or two, depending on litter size. What you want to look for is any little black spot. It doesn’t matter if there are only one or two spots at this point.

The other thing you’re watching for, so you can learn to recognize it, is signs of torting. These are those dark smudges Torts have around their eyes, nose, ears, hip, etc. A tri who is torted will show them in the same areas. A non-torted tri will have light insides of their eyes, light fur around their eyes, nose, etc.

how to produce a tri color holland lop

(above) This doe is a non-torted tri. See how there is no dark smudging around her eye or hip area?

(above) Here’s what a non-torted Tri looks like from the front.

torted tri

These pictures show a torted tri. See the dark ears, nose, and eye circle?

tri color holland lop buck

This is a torted harlequin. See the grey colour of his ears and how his underbelly is a dull grey?

harlequin holland lop bucks

This is a non-torted harlequin. See how his ears are light along with his hip line and underside of his tail? Also, note that there is no smudging around his eye.

Keep any tri baby back. Hopefully one is a buck. Breed him back to his dam and any other doe who is of an okay-to-breed-to colour. Now you have a bunch of litters to pick tris out of, crossbreed, and continue on your tri journey.

Hopefully, you have done a LOT more research of tri genetics in the meantime 🙂

Tri x Orange (fawn or cream)

When doing these crosses, it’s best to pick what colour of harlequin and tri you want to pursue.

Black/Orange, Blue/Cream, etc.

To keep colours bright and so you don’t have odd mixes popping up, it’s best to stick with breeding blue/cream to creams, black/orange to orange, etc.

Follow the same principles as breeding torts to tris.

The Others…

Tris x torts is the pairing I have the most experience with. I personally have not played with agoutis x tris – this cross is a lot harder to do, as chestnuts, in particular, hide the ej gene, and you’ll have to watch for harlequinized chestnuts. Torts at least do not hide the ej like chestnuts do. BUT, chestnuts have the correct A gene needed for proper colouring on tris.

But, we’re not getting into all that today 🙂 If you’d like to learn more about such things, check out these websites:

That’s a VERY, VERY, basic overview!

Of how to produce a tri-color Holland Lop. 🙂

It can be overwhelming when starting a colour project and I want to give you the confidence to start and the tools to keep learning and improving.

This post is the confidence to start. The links are the tools to keep learning and improving.

Remember: learning genetics can take years! Do not get discouraged if you don’t pick it up just like that.

I didn’t pick them up ‘just like that’…genetics is like math to me 🙂

What’s holding you back from starting a colour project?



How to produce a Tri Color Holland Lop

4 thoughts on “How to produce a Tri Color Holland Lop

  1. I bred a harlequin mini lop buck to a Charlie chestnut and got all broken chestnut and one grey color What do I look for to see if my broken chestnut colored rabbits carry the ej gene?

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