Ear Math - Ee+Ee= 25% EE, 50% Ee, 25% ee
LaMancha ears are determined by simple Mendelian inheritance.
Gopher ears can be considered dominate. [EE]
Elf ears are examples of an incomplete dominate. [Ee]
Upright ears are recessive. [ee]
Since each baby inherits a gene for ears from each parent, the following combinations are possible.
Therefore, These breedings can be expected to produce the following:
breeding gopher to gopher can only result in gopher ears
breeding gopher to elf - will result in gopher or elf only, no uprights
breeding gopher to upright - will result in elf ears only
breeding elf to elf - can result in any of the three ear possibilities
breeding elf to upright - will result in either elf or upright ears, no gophers
The breed registries will allow only gopher-eared bucks to be registered in the American and Purebred herdbooks. However, currently, and until animals reach purebred status, elf-eared bucks are showable and registerable as Experimentals. Bucks must have gopher ears to qualify for the American and Purebred herdbooks.
The reason for this is that the genetic base for Miniature LaManchas is currently very limited, and we are still breeding to standardize type and quality, and we do not want to limit the genetic base at this time. There are circumstances where a breeder may wish to add certain characteristics to his breeding program that warrant the use of even elf-eared bucks on upright eared does, for instance, and the use of these upright eared animals in a breeding program. The breeder can determine what benefits and costs (ears!) might be acceptable within his own program.
In addition, breeding a known gopher-eared animal [EE] to an animal where it is unclear if the animal is gopher [EE] or elf [Ee] eared will prove it one way or the other. If the offspring include any elf-eared [Ee] animals, then the original unknown parent is elf-eared. If the offspring include only gopher-eared animals, then the parent is indeed gopher-eared. This may be useful in cases where genetic ear length is difficult to determine. Of course, you would need more than one offspring to prove it!
In my case, I am willing to accept the possibility of upright ears to advance my breeding goals. Some day we will all be using only gopher-eared bucks and getting only short eared babies, but right now I am happy to see other characteristics fixed into my breeding program and some of the ears can wait.
There is some confusion on the part of some breeders about what constitutes a correct LaMancha ear. See *This page* for examples of correct Miniature LaMancha ears.
See for yourself, and do not take the owners word for it. They could be wrong.
*Some websites show elf eared animals incorrectly identified as having gopher ears.
*Some animals are registered incorrectly - they are registered as having gopher ears when they actually have elf ears. This may be accidental if the breeder is inexperienced, or may be deliberate. Do not take the paperwork at face value if you question the ears you are looking at.
Remember, if you breed an ELF eared animal at all you contribute one upright ear gene to the kid. If the other animal has elf ears and not true gopher ears, your kids stand a good chance of having upright ears and thus cannot advance to American status, regardless of what generation they are.
For an excellant explanation of how genes work and much else, go to Karin Christianson's awesome website