When breeding Flemish Giants the first issue new breeders run into is figuring out appropriate color crossing. Ill attempt to cover some of those issues here. It should be kept in mind that these are very basic ideas meant to give a new breeder an idea of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and what crossings are likely to produce consistently showable rabbits. We will start with blue -
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*note - there are two basic divisions of color in black Flemish Giants for the purposes of this page we will refer to them as "Self" and "Other."
The ARBA Standard of Perfection calls for Blue Flemish to be a solid dark blue color all over fading to slate blue near the skin. The blue Flemish Giant is the only variety that should have blue-grey eyes. When breeding for blues you want to cross only blue to blue or blue to "self black" rabbits to preserve that color. Blue to blue breeding is ideal, but can result in rabbits with a light or washed out blue color after many generations. For this reason many breeders will cross in one self black rabbit around every third generation. It is important when crossing blacks in to watch that the black kits that result in that litter do not carry blue eyes as it is a disqualification in the black variety. It is very important that the black you choose to cross into your blues is a self black. Blacks that carry agouti or non extension genes from light grey, white, or steel ancestors can cause your blues to take on an almost chinchilla-like appearance or result in "blue steels" a bluish agouti color with a white underside. Neither of these are acceptable on the show table.
According to the Standard of perfection the Sandy variety should have a reddish surface color interspersed with dark even ticking, fading to a reddish intermediate band with a slate blue band near the skin. The sandy variety should have brown eyes and a cream colored underbelly. When breeding Sandies it is advisable to cross Sandy to Sandy most of the time. It is acceptable to cross in fawn but undesirable ear lacing may occur in the fawn kits and the sandies may become washed out.
Fawn Flemish Giants should be a deep golden straw color fading to cream near the skin with a white or cream underbelly. Their eyes should be brown and their ears and overall coat should be as free of lacing and smut as possible. In order to get the clearest fawns you will want to mostly stick to breeding Fawn to Fawn, however it is acceptable to breed in a sandy every few generations with due caution to the issues above.
White Flemish should be pure white with pink (red) eyes. Any lacing or evidence of another color is grounds for disqualification. Whites are a complicated variety, you have to think of them as little rabbits wearing sheets like they were pretending to be a ghost on Halloween. They are another color "underneath" the white and it is very hard to tell what that color is without a good pedigree. Usually that color is light grey, sometimes it is Steel or Black but rarely is it Blue, Fawn or Sandy. For this reason whites should generally not be bred to blue, fawn or sandy. A White to White crossing will always produce all White kits. A White X "Other" crossing will only produce White kits if the "other" rabbit also carries the gene for white in its background. Whites are generally only crossed to Light Greys or other Whites although it is acceptable to cross them to Steels or Blacks (as long as those blacks will not later be used to produce blues, as blacks produced from a white likely carry agouti genes that can damage the blue color as discussed above.)
Light Gray Flemish Giants are another one of the banded agouti colors, their surface color should be light Gray with an evenly dispersed ticking of black guard hairs, there should be an intermediate band of off white giving way to a distinct blue band near the skin. Light Grays should have brown eyes and white bellies. Light Grays are generally only crossed to other Light Grays and Whites however it is acceptable to cross them to Black or Steel so long as the resulting blacks are not used in blue breedings as discussed above.
A steel rabbit should be dark steel gray with an interspersing of light gray guard hairs and a slate blue under color, the surface color on the belly should be white with a slate blue under color and his eyes should be brown. Common faults found in the steel variety are the absence of white belly or copper colored guard hairs giving the rabbit more of a "gold tipped" appearance. Steels should ideally only be bred to steel although they are commonly found in light grey, white and black lines. Steels can be bred to Blacks to darken color. If breeding Steel to Light Gray it is important to be aware that you may end up with kits that are neither light grey or steel, but somewhere in the middle. These are not showable.
BLACK (NON SELF)
Blacks should be a deep solid black color with a slate blue undercolor and brown eyes. Any white lacing is a disqualification. A brownish cast is a fault, but is usually related to a sun damaged coat and easily fixed by bringing bunny inside for a few weeks. Ideally Blacks are only bred to other Blacks and Blues, however Blacks have been used in many other varieties to improve and darken color. A black with Light grey, Steel or White in the background should be kept within that color grouping and not be bred to Blues.