2017 ABBA New Color Rules


Sometimes determining a calf’s color for registration and show purposes can be tricky. Some breeders go by phenotype (color of the hide and breed character traits) while others base their decisions primarily on pedigree. During the Winter Board Meetings in Fort Worth, Texas, the Show Committee took steps to streamline the process and make color classification decisions more uniform across the breed.
The New Rules
According to the new rules, which will go into effect on August 1, 2017, “Any animal with 51% or more of one color in their pedigree must be registered in that color. Any cattle that are 50% of each color in their pedigree, can be registered in the color the breeder selects, but will be inspected by the ABBA Color Committee. All gray cattle and solid black cattle will show gray. Red, black and white speckled, and red and white speckled cattle will show red.”
After August 1, 2017, all animals must show in whatever color is the majority on their pedigree, unless the animal’s official ABBA registration certificate has previously been stamped by the Color Committee.
It is important that people adhere to the rules or face major consequences. Per the recent meeting summary, “both the exhibitor and owner of an animal that is shown in the wrong color division after being color classified will be ineligible to show any animals for 13 months following the infraction. The animal in violation will be disqualified for its entire show career and will forfeit all Register of Renown points.”
Unless an animal’s original ABBA registration certificate has been stamped prior to the new rules taking effect, the animal must compete in the show corresponding to whatever color comprises the majority of its three-generation pedigree. So, that means even though a two-year-old animal’s official ABBA paper might state “Red” as the color designation, if it has 51% gray genetics in its three-generation pedigree and its official registration certificate has not been stamped by the Color Committee at a show, it must compete in gray shows starting in August 1, 2017.
Also, animals shown in group classes must compete in the group class corresponding to their sire’s official registered color for Get-of-Sire and their dam’s official registered color for Produce-of-Dam (Embryo Transfer and Natural).
Any ABBA member or exhibitor who witness a violation of the color classification rules at any ABBA-approved shows may submit a formal protest in writing to be reviewed by the Show Committee.
Determining color
When registering animals or evaluating pedigrees to determine the appropriate show to enter, breeders will need to look at the animal’s combined pedigree, get the official registered color of each ancestor and determine if it is red or gray prior to registering or showing the animal. Although the process may be a bit time consuming, it is relatively easy.
First, look up each animal in the calf’s three-generation pedigree on the ABBA site brahman.org and get their official color designation. This will include two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents for a total of 14 animals. Then, tally up the number of red and gray animals. If you see an animal classified as black, count it as gray, and if you see one marked speckled, count that as red. If you have eight or more of either color, that majority color will be your calf’s color classification. If you have seven of each, you can choose which color to register or show the calf.
If you have a calf with black pigmentation, it can only be registered as “black” if it has at least a 50% gray pedigree, and if your calf is speckled, it can only be registered as “speckled” if it has at least a 50% red pedigree.
Don’t get too worried about the registration process. If you attempt to register a calf using the ABBA’s online system, it will notify you immediately of a color classification error. If you miscalculate and try to register an animal in the wrong color category on a hard-copy registration, the ABBA will mail you a notice that there was an error, and you can revise the application. Please note that errors will make the hard-copy registration process take more time.
Color Committee
After August 1, only animals of exactly half gray and half red bloodlines (50% of each) will be eligible for evaluation by the color committee.
The Color Committee will be on hand to evaluate animals at the International Show, National Show, Kick-Off Classic Show and All American Show. In addition, the Color Committee will be spot-checking color classification at other top ten ABBA-approved shows unannounced.
The 2017 Color Committee members have not been selected yet. The Show Committee Chairman, Dr. Craig Fontenot, will appoint the new Color Committee during the spring committee meeting May 6 in Overton, Texas.
If a 50% animal is reclassified from the color chosen by the owner, its pedigree will be stamped with the new color classification, and the animal will show as that color for the entirety of its show career. The decision of the Color Committee is final.
Check your herd inventory
Owners of animals whose papers were stamped under the previous rule are encouraged to make sure their animals have the right color designation in the ABBA’s database. This will allow that animal and its progeny to be correctly counted in color calculation decisions going forward.
Owners should also check their herd inventories for past errors in color classification. Any animal that has been misregistered can be reregistered based on their pedigree. For example, if you have a grayish-red animal with a 100% red pedigree that you had registered as gray because of its phenotype, you can contact the ABBA and have it reclassified to red. This only works if an animal has at least 50% of the color it is being changed to in its pedigree. All reclassifications will follow the new color rules.
These new color rules will be discussed again at the ABBA Show Committee’s spring meeting. The meeting is scheduled for May 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in Overton, Texas.
If you have any questions about the meeting or the rules, contact the ABBA Houston headquarters at 713-349-0854 or email them at abba@brahman.org.