Monday, January 25, 2016

Cheat Sheet: Understanding the Vienna Gene in Rabbits (Blue Eyed Whites)

Before we get to the cheat sheets, you need to remember that a Blue Eyed White will "hide" the base color of the rabbit in it's homozygous form. Thus a "black" rabbit who has two copies of the Vienna gene (V/V) will appear white with blue eyes.

Also, I cannot stress it enough, the Vienna gene in it's heterozygous form (V/v) might not be visually expressed, so it can pop up many, even dozens of generations later. Because of this, it is recommended that if there is Vienna in a rabbit's background, it be noted on their pedigree even if the last known Vienna carrier or BEW is many generations back. Full disclosure, transparency, and honesty are appreciated when dealing with this gene locus.

Also it has come to my attention that many people use the lowercase v to signify the Vienna gene, and the capital V to signify non-Vienna rabbits. I am SO sorry for any confusion that this has caused. As such please take this discrepancy into account when discussing genetics!!!!


If you don't want to worry about Punnett squares or inheritance and just want to know what you will get through breeding, here is a basic rundown:

For these examples, the abbreviation "BEW" signifies a Blue Eyed White; "Vienna Carrier" signifies a rabbit that has one copy of the Vienna gene; "Non-Vienna" signifies a rabbit that has no Vienna genes.


BEW + Vienna Carrier = 50% BEW, 50% Vienna Carrier.

BEW + Non-Vienna = 100% Vienna Carrier. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Vienna Carrier + Vienna Carrier = 50% Vienna Carrier, 25% Non-Vienna, 25% BEW.

Vienna Carrier + Non-Vienna = 50% Vienna Carrier, 50% Non-Vienna.

Non-Vienna + Non-Vienna = 100% Non-Vienna. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Remember, a Vienna Carrier or BEW bred to a Non-Vienna will NEVER PRODUCE BEW!!!! 

Also remember that while many Vienna Carriers have white markings and may even have blue eyes, there are far more that do not visually express the gene AT ALL, so you cannot tell just by looking at a rabbit if they are a Vienna Carrier or not. This is why making notation of BEW or Vienna heritage possibilities on pedigrees is so important!

Another thing to consider is that many breeders AVOID breeding Chocolate into BEW programs due to undesirable eye coloration.

Lastly, something to keep in mind is that the percentages listed above are for EACH KIT, not the litter as a whole unless the result is 100% foolproof. This means that each kit in a little of, say, BEW to Vienna Carrier mating, has a 50% chance of being BEW. As such actual litter percentages may vary!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment below!


  1. Hi. I'm wondering if you can help me with the genetics of my rabbit. I bought her from a pet shop with a promise that she was pure breed lop but her ears hadn't dropped yet. I googled that. And found , thay sometimes, that is so. However she is 5 months old not and no sight of ears dropping! Anyway. She has two different coloured eyes and mainly equity white black on her bottom and around her eyes. She has four white feet. Does she carry the Vienna gene? What would be the best partner for her? I can send pics if interested?

    1. No expert here, but I think your rabbit is a vienna carrier. The Dutch gene could give white markings too but should only give brown eyes. They blue eye is your give away that it's vienna.

    2. No expert here, but I think your rabbit is a vienna carrier. The Dutch gene could give white markings too but should only give brown eyes. They blue eye is your give away that it's vienna.

    3. Your rabbit is a Marbled Eyed Vienna Mark. If you're looking to produce VMs and BEWs from her, breed her to a BEW. And if you're looking for mainly VMs, breed her to another VM. Here are the chances for what you'll get when crossing her. Keep in mind that this is each kits chance, not the whole litter's chance.
      BEW X Vienna Mark = 50% BEW, 50% Vienna Carriers
      Vienna Mark X Vienna Mark = 50% Vienna Carriers, 25% Non-Vienna, 25% BEW
      Vienna Mark X Non-Vienna = 50% Vienna Carrier, 50% Non-Vienna
      The Vienna gene's markings are completely at random, so there's no guarantee that even any would turn out VM, but those are each kit's chance.

      Did you receive a pedigree for her? If not, there is actually no promise she is a purebred as pet stores often lie about those things. The ears not dropping is normal, sometimes it just happens with lops. Her ears will stay like that permanently. They should've dropped within the first 3 months of her life at the very MOST, if they didn't they never will. 0% chance they will. I think it just adds character, it doesn't harm or mess up anything.

  2. I have a vienna marked Chestnut teddy lionhead. No known history as she was received from someone who didn't want her anymore. I'm wanting to add her to my rabbit tracking program with genetics. What is the genetic code for the double wool gene?

  3. I would like to use you graphics in one of the next Hollander issues. I would like permission to do so.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I'm happy with that as long as I get my name against her and I'm sent a copy of the information

  4. Hello, I have a purebred white blue eyed lion head (male) looking to breed with a purebred mini lop. What is your option on that?

    1. I would NOT cross breed two very differing breeds.

  5. I bred my Dutch to my rex,then bred one of those kits back to Dutch sire. I will breed a resulting offspring to my bew.Do I have a chance of getting blue eyed kits?Also,what do they mean,Dutch is completely different genetics?

  6. Hi, wondering if you can tell me what the genetic difference is between a Vienna marked rabbit that just has a small white spot and a Vienna marked rabbit with much larger white areas? What controls how much white the rabbit will have? Is there a way to breed them to have the larger areas rather that just a spot? I am not talking about the broken gene. Just the Vienna gene. Thanks.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to make this! it has been incredibly helpful. Question for you: I found a BEW holland lop. In my ignorance I bred her to a chocolate lop of all things. She had 4 vm babies, as you said. I kept one and bred it back to the BEW. The BEW had FIVE BEW! And, I do not see any ruby casting, although they are young, perhaps it will show up. What happened here? And now do I breed on, or begin again because of the threat of ruby cast? Thanks if you can help. All of these info charts are just great.

  8. Hi i have a chocolate VS, which came out of a black and white VE and a harliquin VS. She has blue eyes but also has a pink tinge, why would this happen? Can I also breed her to a BEW or will that keep the pink colour in the blue eyes?