RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1861. Do cross-bred rabbits tend to a grey colour? Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, vol. 1 (28 May): 170.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe. 7.2021. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.

See Darwin to Abraham Dee Bartlett (26 May [1861]), bearing on the same subject. Correspondence vol. 9, pp. 142-143.

"Bartlett, Abraham Dee, 1812-97. 1859-97 Superintendent, Zoological Society's Gardens, Regent's Park, London. Renowned taxidermist. His shop was near the British Museum. In this capacity CD had contact with B. Among the animals B stuffed were the first gorilla ever shown in England (1858), and the famous elephant Jumbo owned by P.T. Barnum, of circus renown. Frequently helped CD by answering queries and sending materials. Letters with CD published in 1900 (F2183)." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A companion, 2021, p. 12.)

Darwin's copies of the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener are in the Darwin Library in CUL.

[page] 170


WILL "R.S.S.," who has had such great experience with Rabbits, or any other person, have the kindness to state whether, when Rabbits of any kind, which generally breed true to colour, are crossed with some other coloured kind, the offspring show any tendency to revert to the grey colour of the common English Rabbit? There seems to me sufficient evidence that when two differently-coloured and true breeds are crossed that there is often a tendency to revert to the colour of the wild aboriginal parent. I have seen striking instances of the rule with crossed Pigeons and poultry.—CHARLES DARWIN, Down, Bromley, Kent.


(We shall be obliged by replies to this query from any one experienced in Rabbit-breeding. –Eds.)

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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