Description: The body is broad, with a slightly arched back on well-filled hindquarters. The body is of medium length, carried on legs that are straight and of medium bone. The head, which is bold and well-set on a short neck, bears a resemblance to the silver. The ears are short and carried erect. The fur is dense and about one inch in length. In both black and blue, the whole body is covered with silver guard hairs asin the silver.
The tan rabbit was bred by chance in a warren containing a mixture of wild and domesticated rabbits by the Rev. Cox in the grounds of Culland Hall Brailsford, Derbyshire, England. It was stated that the dam was a Dutch and the sire a wild agouti, but this has never been verified. Since the appearance of the first tans about 1880 the breed has become very popular.
The early tans were of very poor quality; it was not until many years later that progress could be detected in the depth of top color and tanning. These early tans were also rather bulky in shape and noted for their bad tempers-a total contrast to the tans of today, which are inclined to cobbiness and very docile by nature.
Gradually the breed began to take shape, keeping pace with color improvement. Much later, the blue tan was produced by Mr. A. Atkinson of Huddersfield, England. Atkinson reportedly crossed a black tan with a sooty fawn and then mated the resulting litter together, producing a mixture of black tans and blue tans. The blue became almost as popular as the black and rapidly made progress with the knowledge that was gleaned from the development of the blacks. Following the blues came the chocolates, and then the lilacs.
The tan standard states that the top color be dense and sound without any white or foreign color. This applies to all four colors. The tanning should be rich tan, deep and bright, extending from the underside of the jaw to the triangle at the nape of the neck, right down to the underside of the tail. The inside of the nostrils are also tan colored, but the color should not invade the face. The tan chest should join the underside of the chin and continue in a line along the jaw to the triangle behind the head. The belly is also tan colored; the color extends down the inside of the front legs, but not onto the front of the feet or the foot pads, which are usual.