Now That's A Rat Of A Different Color : Fancy Rat Varieties
Rats have become a popular pet. They are excellent little creatures for both children and adults. Pet rats, often called fancy rats are intelligent, clean, friendly, and trainable. Their popularity as pets has lead to the development of many coat colors and types. Like any other domestic pet most coat and body features have been developed, while some appear at random. Rats can be defined by many factors; one individual rat may be defined by 1 or more factors. These include, color, coat type, markings, and body type. Some rats may be specifically defined by many factors. New varieties are still in development but some of the standardized factors and varieties can be found below.
Solid ColorsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Flecked ColorsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Eye ColorsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Coat: Fancy rats can be found in a wide and varying array of colors; most commonly seen in solid colors or with hooded markings.Some fancy rats will retain the wild brown agouti color, 3 tones on a single hair; others have black based hair, one color on one hair. Some common agouti shades include agouti, cinnamon, and fawn. Black based shades include black, beige, and chocolate.
Mink: Soft grey
Black: Jet black
Pink Eyed White: Solid white with pink eyes, commonly mistaken as an albino.
Champagne: Soft cream or off white
Dove: Very pale grey
Blue: Soft pale blue
Powder Blue: Pale blue/brown
Agouti: mixture of brown, black and red.
Cinnamon: Agouti with more red flecked throughout coat.
Blue Agouti: Agouti hairs with blue shades
Argente: Tan or orange agouti with a grey undercoat.
Fawn: Orange agouti with a cream undercoat
Silvered: Any of the colors above with silver tipping on the hair.
Eyes: Eye color is another factor in defining a rat’s variety. Eyes can be found in black, pink/red, ruby, or odd eyed. Ruby eyes refer to eyes that normally show a black color but show a red color under bright light. Odd eyed rats have one eye that is one color while the other is another. Often certain eye colors will accompany particular coat colors.
Another factor in determining a Rat’s variety is its markings. Fancy rats can be found with many markings and color combination. Often the markings refer to patterns and ratios of colored hair to white hair. Two of the extreme markings would be self rats, having one solid color that is not white and Himalayan, being white with gradual blending towards the nose and feet. This coloring is called points just as with the Himalayan and Siamese cats. Show quality rats will be bread to strict marking standards. Many of the rats sold at pet shops will not be bred to such standards and many will have imperfect markings.
Self: As mentioned above self rats are a solid color other than white.
Hooded: These rats are white and have colored hair on the head and shoulders with a stripe down the spine.
Caped or Bareback: Like hooded rats but without the stripe down the back.
Variegated: Again like hooded rats except with spots down the back instead of a stripe.
Dalmatian: Once again like hooded rats but with spotting over most the body.
Berkshire: Colored on top with a white belly.
Irish or English Irish: Are a solid color with a white triangle on the chest.
Blazed: White stripe running between the eyes and down the nose.
Downunder (DU): Have a strip that runs along their belly or underside.
DU Berkshire: Like hooded rats but with a strip running down the belly as well as down the back.
DU Spotted: Have spots rather than stripes down the back and belly.
Himalayan and Siamese: Himalayan has a white base coat with gradual blending towards the nose and feet while Siamese have a beige base.
Despite the large amount of color and marking variations the number of coat types is relatively small.
Normal or Standard: Most common straight hair coat type. Differences between genders are allowed with males typically having a course, rough, thick coat while females tend to have softer, finer coats.
Rex or Rexed: All the hair is curly, this includes the whiskers.
Satin or Silky: Have extra long soft, silky guard hairs.
Velveteen: Softer versions of Rex and satin/silky coats.
Harley: Long straight hairs.
Hairless rats are a coat type defined by having little to no hair. Some may have no hair while others may have very short patches of hair on the body. This coat type is derived from the Rex coats. The Rex coat is a dominant trait so it only takes one Rex parent to affect the offspring’s appearance. However when 2 Rexes are bred together something odd happens; hairlessness. Hairless rats are also known as Double-Rexes. Even hairless rats will still display markings on the skin; you could have a hairless hooded rat. Hairless varieties are created by combining different genes that produce the Rex coat. One such hairless variety is known as a patchwork rat. These rats will lose and regrow hair in different patches on their body throughout their lifetime.
Rats tend to be pear shaped but 2 of the most prominent features are the ears and tail. Through selective breeding 2 body types have developed, the Manx and Dumbo rat. Manx rats, like manx cats, have no tail. Dumbo rats have large round ears that set low on the sides of the head instead of on top like most rats’ ears.
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