The Florida Fancy Zebra
© 1977 Poule d'eau Publishing
The origin of the Florida Fancy Zebra (FF) is truly and enigma. Its name in the US suggests it originated in Florida, US. However the Europeans call the a similar mutation Isabel or "Hellbrust" which translates lightbreasted. The European Isabel is a recessive mutation while the US Florida Fancy is a dominant mutation. They appear nearly identical in all aspects of color, but are inherited differently. It would seem that these similar mutations appeared independently in several places around the world at about the same time. I know for a fact that I had found the mutation in 1973, in a friends aviaries in Lafayette, Louisiana. Several years later I learned that Hazel Kipp of Tarpon Springs, Florida, had a new variety of zebra which she was marketing under the name of Florida Fancy. The descriptions I had of her birds matched what I was breeding and I subsequently purchased some of her birds. They were identical to my birds in all aspects. I later learned that breeders in Texas had develop their own strain of "Texas" Fancy Zebras. Also an Austrailian version is well known and as I recall they refer to it as Isabel also. Therefore, the origin of the Florida Fancy and Isabels appears not to have been a one time occurrence, but rather it happened several times in far distant places and while each appears to be a distinct mutation, they all look nearly identical and without knowing the ancestory, one could not distinguish a Florida Fancy from a Euro Isabel or an Aussie Isabel.
These are truly pretty zebras. The perfect Florida Fancy has a near white upper body (head, back, wings, etc) and white breast with no hint of any markings, rich buff underparts from the breast bar region down to the vent. The Cheek patches and flanking in males is just as vivid in color as that of any normal Grey zebra. This feature makes the Florida Fancy Zebra striking. Females are like the males in body color except that they lack the orange marking. The most notable feature of this mutation is that it completely lacks any black pigment.
This is a dominant mutation and can occur as a single factor gene (Florida Silver) or double factor (Florida Fancy). If a Florida Fancy (FF) is mated to a normal grey or fawn zebra, all of the offspring will be Florida Silver (FS). When FS X FS is made, 25% will be Normal, 25% Florida Fancy and 50% Florida Silver. Floria
It is erroneous to say that Florida Fancies do not have a breast bar. Granted you cannot see the breast bar on a FF, but it is present. How do I know this? When Florida Fancies are crossed with Orange Breast, the second generation offspring will produce a combination of the two mutations and those Florida Fancies will have an orange breast bar and orange throat striations, proving that FF does have a breast bar. Florida Fancies don't show black pigment so the breast bar is invisible on a normal FF, but on and Orange Breasted Florida Fancy, the breast bar surfaces and is clearly visible as a bright orange breast bar. The orange pigment in Florida Fancies is not suppressed, only the black pigments are. This allows for some very interesting combinations of Florida Fancy with Orange Breasted, Black Breast and Black-face. Even though Florida Fancies have not black pigment, they adopt the pattern of black pigment from other mutations and when crossed with Orange Breasted these patterns manifest themselves in the form of orange pigment. So it is possible to produce an Black Breasted Florida Fancy, known as the Phaeo. Such a bird will not show the black, but it will show the extensive orange. Further combinations of Phaeo with Orange Breast and Black-face produce a variety of incredibly beautiful birds which show extensive orange pigmentation.
Word of Caution. Florida Fancy Zebras (especially hens) can closely resemble Fawn Cheek zebras, so much so that often times they are interbred. The result will be the undoing of the Florida fancy and should be discouraged. A Fawn Cheek Florida Fancy combination often produdes males that have less colorful cheeks and flanking. If the goal is to produce vivid Florida Fancies, then this cross works against that and because the two mutations are so similar, once Fawn Cheek is introduced to Florida Fancy it can easily remain undetected in hens but constantly showing up in males and producing less desirable color. Avoide crossing these two mutations if at all possible.
Combinations of Florida Fancy with other Varieties