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Rat Varieties

There are lots of great sources out there already that explain & show pictures of the different varieties. So I will just give an explanation on what it all means!

 

It is important to note that sometimes simply knowing their color/markings won't always give you what variety they actually are without knowing their pedigree/history. There is a difference in phenotype vs genotype. This can be confusing. For example, I have a Marked Wedge Blaze Siamese. A wedge blaze is a white triangle covering their nose and between the eyes. This would mean that the Siamese would not show any points and be all white. If you looked at the rat you would say it is albino but it is actually Siamese.

It is also important to note that different countries and clubs give different names to certain varieties. 
I prefer and use  The American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA) standards.
http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm

On top of that, many rats are unlikely to be bred to show standards and could be called mismarked that doesn't really fit with the exact standard. Or with some colors you may have them just not be all that ideal such as with rusting.

 

 

So to begin with I thought I would share the basics of what I mean by “variety”.

Breeds

  1. THERE ARE NO BREEDS IN RATS. We have species and we have varieties.

  2. A little science here….
    Smart science people classify animals into different groups, based on things they have in common and how they are related.

    1. First let's discuss the class- Mammalia (Mammals): “a warm-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that is distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young.”

    2. Next is the Order- Rodentia (Rodents): “any of an order (Rodentia) of relatively small gnawing mammals (such as a mouse, squirrel, or beaver) that have in both jaws a single pair of incisors with a chisel-shaped edge”

    3. Then we have the Family- Muridae: “a very large family of relatively small rodents (superfamily Muroidea) that include various originally Old World rodents (as the house mouse and the common rats) that are now cosmopolitan in distribution and that in recent classifications often include the cricetid rodents as a subfamily (Cricetinae)”

    4. Now the Genus- Rattus: rats! But that includes a ton of different types of rats that vary greatly in some cases.

    5. And we finally have Species-R. norvegicus. This is our pet rat!
       

  3. Our pet rats belong to the species Rattus norvegicus, commonly called the Brown rat or Norway rat, specifically Rattus Norvegicus Domestica, to show they are domesticated pet rats.

     

  4. Breeds vs Varieties.

    1. A breed would refer to much grander differences that actually affect the nature, personality, instincts, drive, etc… of the animal.

      If you breed two varieties of rats you never get a mixed variety. You will not have a half dumbo or half rex rat. They can carry recessive genes but that is not making them a mix.

       

Fancy Rats

  1. ALL of our pet rats are fancy rats. Fancy in this case just is highlighting the difference between the wild Brown rat vs our pet rats. They are the same species, just one is domesticated and one is wild. It is saying that the rat is not “plain”.
     

  2. Fancy meaning to like, is used across many animals when discussing the breeding, husbandry, and showing of the animals. We are called fanciers.
     

  3. Yes even dumbo rats are fancy rats….

    • Non-Dumbo eared rats are called Standard Ear (top ear is not the correct term)
       

    • When pet stores list Fancy rats and Dumbo rats, they are not saying that Dumbo is not fancy but that it is just Dumbo. It is like if I had a display of cakes & I label half cake and the other half chocolate. I am not saying the chocolate is not cake, just pointing out that it is chocolate.

       

      But because of this silly labeling, it has led to the myth that dumbo are not fancy, or that standard ear are called fancy and worse that they are somehow different kinds of rats. They are not! It is just a simple recessive gene that causes the placement of the ear.
       

    • Dumbo rats are not bigger, sweeter, friendlier or anything else because of their ears!
       

Varieties!

  1. Varieties are broken down into different aspects- Color, Markings, Eye color, Ear type, Coat type, Size & Tail or Tailess. These can be mixed/matched in a huge list of varieties. When listing what a variety a rat is you would list each of these. (note when listing my rats I may often leave off the type if it is just standard- because I am lazy lol)

    So to make this simple, lets say you ask me what variety my rat is?
    If I say its black. Well that explains the color… but what are the markings? Coat type? Ear? Size?


    Instead, I could tell you, I have a Dumbo Black Hooded Rex Dwarf Manx.

    This would tell you that the ear type is Dumbo, the color is Black, The marking is Hooded, the coat is Rex, it is a dwarf in size, and manx means it doesn’t have a tail.

    Your pet rat will have a term for each of these categories, though we often do not mention tail unless they are missing it (manx), we might not mention eye color either unless it is not obvious based on other factors. Eye color is connected to color quite a bit so sometimes the eye color will not be shared as it is a given. So unless it is something other than the normal you might not mention it. For example Beige is red on black, so they will always have red eyes but they could be odd eyed. The standard for Siamese is red eye, so I wouldn’t say red eyed Siamese but if they have the black eyed gene giving them black eyes I would say Black Eyed Siamese (or BES)


     

  2. There is no true agreed on specific order in which to list these.

     

  3. A quick note on Standards of Varieties.

    • As rat breeding & showing began clubs were created to form standards for the varieties. They created a definition of each variety, named it, and set the standard for it. These standards are to be the ideal of that aspect.
       

    • There are many different clubs and even different countries may have different descriptions, names or even in some countries different genes/varieties all together!
       

    • Standards are important. They are not just about looks but often health-related. A certain structure or shape can cause health issues. Ideally, standards are set to help us together as a community breed better rats. They can help define a type, shape and clarify it. Some may help breeders recognize genes and get us on the same page. Some standards can help us protect and save genes so they do not get muddled or lost even.
       

    • There is really no right or wrong, choose a club you agree with and like and go with their definitions or it will be very confusing. How can we grow as a community or explore learn about these varieties if everyone is on a different page, doing their own thing?
       

    • Do not make up your own names. It is deeply frowned upon for someone to make up their own names. I highly caution anyone to avoid someone selling a variety with an odd name, this is usually used as a marketing ploy to get ignorant people to think the person has something different or special and charge more for it. Or the person is just ignorant themselves and too lazy to learn genetics or terms and so they make stuff up. Either way, it is worrisome and a huge red flag.
       

    • I like, follow, and am registered with AFRMA standards (American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association) This is their show standards: http://www.afrma.org/stdsrat.htm
       

 

The following is not yet completed. Come back soon!

Colors 


 

  1. There are two base colors for rats. They are either Agouti (AA  A\-) based or Black (aa) based.

  2. Agouti Based Colors (A/-)

    • Agouti + RED = Fawn (A/- rr)

    • Agouti + PINK = Amber (A/- pp)


    •  

  3. Black Based Colors (aa)

    • Black + RED = Beige (aa rr)

    • Black + PINK = Champagne (aa- pp)


    •  

  4. It can be extremely difficult to judge colors sometimes. If asking for color advice you need to take clear well-lit pictures of your rat. Indirect natural light is best. show multiple angles – this will get you a better shot at a correct answer.  Too often people ask “What is my rat?” and the picture is in a dark room, it shows a blurry half a rat and everyone is like umm?? I can’t even be sure it is a rat much less tell you what variety!

    Check out this facebook page to ask- What Color is My Rat (remember to use the best clearest well-lit pics or no one can help!)


     

Markings

  1. Markings refer to the placement of white vs color pattern. Because of this, we don’t list white as a color but instead as the markings.

    For example, if you have a Black Hooded rat, they would have black color on their head, chest, shoulders and a line down their back and the rest of their body is white. But you just call it black hooded not black and white.


    The majority of rats do not fit the exact standard of markings. So your hooded rat may not look exactly like the picture of a hooded you find online.

    Most markings are often mismarked, undermarked or overmarked. 

    Overmarked = more white then it should have according to the standard,
    Undermarked = less white than it should have according to the standard. 

    Sometimes markings can be way off and you can’t really be sure without knowing the genes involved.

    There is also:

    Self (all one single color) or
    Unmarked (no white but a “color” that has shading, ticking, etc… such as Agouti or Siamese)

     

  2. Marking genetics is a little bit more complicated than colors.


     

Eye Color

  1. Black the standard eye color for most rats.

  2. Ruby (rr) a dark red. This is often mistaken for black! It can range from a light red to a deep dark red that seriously appears black.

  3. Pink (pp) a bright pink color

  4. Black Eyed Gene (be)- This gene is different from the standard Black eyes. It only works on the C Locus creating Ivory, Black eyed Himalayan, Black Eyed Siamese, Black Eyed Marten, Black Eyed Tonkinese.

  5. Odd Eyed- this is when a rat has two different colored eyes.

     

Ear Type

  1. Standard Ear (DUDU or Dudu)

  2. Dumbo Ear (dudu)

    Note: Dumbo rats are still simply normal fancy rats. Their ear type does not make them any larger, sweeter, friendlier, or dumber. 


     

Coat Type

  1. The coat type is a gene or genes together that affect their fur/coat.
    The genes for coats can be combined so you could technically have a Rex, Velveteen, Satin, Silvermane Harley. (I am sure a breeder out there somewhere is crying at that thought lol)

    A list of some of the common coat types but not all

     

  2. Coats:

    • Standard

    • Rex

    • Double Rex

    • Hairless (multiple types)

    • Harley

    • Velveteen

    • Bristle

    • Satin (multiple types)

    • Silvermane (D’Argent) -yes this is actually a coat type! It makes for a very soft coat as well, By far the softest.

    • Frost

    • Patchwork (Werewolf)

       

Size

  1. Standard. The size/weight of rats can vary a ton based on their individual line. Some rats can be very petite and others can be huge! It is kind of like with people where one person is 6’11 and someone else is 5’1
     

  2. Dwarf. Dwarf is not just a small rat, it is a specific recessive gene that causes dwarf and reduced growth hormones. They are quite small around 80-120g fully grown. They also have cosmetic features that let you know they are a dwarf- smaller feet, thinner shorter tails, sometimes larger eyes or a squished body shape. Be aware of people passing off sick, runty, or rats with stunted growth as dwarfs. It is very rare that one would stumble upon a dwarf on accident as well, you would really need to go through a breeder who would tell you it was a dwarf.





 

What Varieties do I breed?

You can find my lines and what varieties I have on this page.

 

 

 

It is also important to note that different computer monitors can make colors appear differently.

 

Lighting also plays a MAJOR role.

 

These photos are of my girl Siamese baby Bella. All 4 photos are of the same rat, taken on the exact same day. The ones on the left were taken in natural light vs the ones on the right taken in artificial indoor lighting.

 

What a crazy amount of difference that makes right?

 

So when asking for color help, get clear full body pictures in indirect natural light!

 

 

Also the rat pictures has Ruby eyes! But look how dark they are?