Hello! Welcome to the varieties page! Hopefully here you will see some of the varieties we work with and have an explanation blurb about each one!
At its very basic state, a rat genotype looks something like this: "AA BB CC DD GG MM PP RR" Each one of these sets are Loci. "A" being the A loci, B being b loci, etc.
The "A" Loci is known as the base coat loci- it is what controls what base coat the rat will have. The two base coats are *Agouti* and *Black* .
A base coat of agouti (also known as wild type.) will cause a lovely 'ticking' effect throughout the coat. Ticking has an almost noisy-photo look to it. It's caused by each hair shaft having various bands of color on it.
Alternatively, the other base coat, black, does not have these bands. Instead, the hair shaft is typically only 1-2 colors.
For comparison- here is an agouti coat (left) compared to a silvered black coat (right)
You can see the black coat has /shades/ of black due to the silvering- but it's all black. Where as the agouti coat has yellow, brown, a golden color, and almost red.
Agouti is a *dominant* coat color. While black is a *recessive* coat color.
So! Back to our genotype- you'll notice the loci are written in sets of two. That's because a rat gets a copy from both the mother and father, making a pair.
So when speaking of dominant- you will only need ONE copy from ONE parent to display this gene.
However- when speaking of recessive- you will need TWO copies- one from EACH parent to display.
When a rat gets a copy from one parent, but not the other- you will typically see the loci written as "X x" (Example: Aa, Bb, Cc)
If a rat gets a copy from both parents- you will typically see it written as "x x" (Example: aa, bb, cc)
Now! Here's where it may get confusing, and I'm sorry. It took me several books to understand this. I suggest looking at many MANY websites- as everyone explains it differently and you may pick up on it faster here- or with someone else.
So- with the base coat loci (A) - a rat who receives one copy of agouti (A) and one copy of black (a) (Written as: Aa) will display as agouti- as it is a dominant gene.
A rat who receives TWO copies of agouti (Written as: AA) will also display as agouti.
However- a rat who receives two copies of black (Written as: aa) will instead display as black as black is a recessive gene- and remember- you need two copies of recessive to display it.)
This is one of the few genes that are like this, so don't worry- the rest are easier to understand.
The "B" Loci is what gives rats the flav-errr- Color. "Chocolate".
Chocolate is a lovely rich color when bred properly. Be it on the agouti base coat [called 'Chocolate Agouti'] (Which brings out those red undertones and makes the color a deep warm tone) or be on the black base coat which makes it the color of dark chocolate.
Unfortunately this breeder doesn't have good examples of what a *good* chocolate looks like. However, I do have comparison photos of black vs chocolate.
In the photos below- on the left side you will see chocolate- while on the right you will see black.
Chocolate is a *recessive* coat color. This means if a baby only receives one copy?(Written as: Bb) It doesn't display. It must receive two. (written as: bb)
Now we're onto the fun loci! "C" can be thought of as "Color" It decides what, and under what conditions, a rat will get color. To explain further- you can thank this loci for Siamese, Himalayan, marten, and albino! the color loci is also a recessive loci!
Now- candid moment here- walk with me, talk with me. This breeder? Has no idea how C loci modifiers work. Because she admittedly refuses to work with it. She loves the look of it! Siamese rats are gorgeous!!!- but the genetics?
So we ignore the C loci in this household. It doesn't exist. If I cant see it- it doesn't see me. That's how it works, right? Right! Moving on!
"D" Stands for "Dilute". It is what gives the ever lovely color russian blue. A warm blue with various shades (The most striking being the deep heathered blue) available to choose from. On agouti? It brings out those yellows. Offering a dust bunny shade that is beyond precious.
Russian blue is a recessive gene. The baby must receive two copies.
Below you will see a russian blue with the base coat of black (Right) and a russian blue with a base coat of agouti. (Left)
"G" Is blue. It's different than 'dilute' or russian blue- but still comes in many shades. It's known under its different shade names like "Sky blue" or "American blue" or "Powder blue"
It's another lovely recessive gene.
Below, you can see an example of blue agouti (front left) and blue (right).
"M" Is Mink. Mink is a bit more diverse than the others- it has two genes (merle and pearl) that only display when the animal is mink. It is a recessive gene, and comes in not only a variety of shades- but a variety of genes.
there are three known (so far) different mink genes: - UK Mink (mm) - American mink [also known as 'mock mink'] (amam) - Aussie mink (Unfortunately I do not know the genotype for this one)
I primarily work with UK mink and american mink. Unfortunately- these genes can, indeed, display on the same rat. A breeders nightmare, really.
So. To get into the details of what mink is- there is a theory that what we know as mink now- used to be called 'fawn' and be under the genotype of 'f' - meaning it was a completely different color than the fawn we know today (which we will touch on later). Mink is one of those colors that is lucky its pretty- because it's a pain in the neck. One of the primary ways to know if a rat is mink based? Is if it has patches of different colors all over it from where the fur is molting. (Molting being- shedding out old hair while new hair grows in its place.)
Mink on agouti is called "Cinnamon" due to its coloration. I unfortunately don't have this yet- but, it should be coming soon!!! Until then- have the cutest mink baby ever- Newton. Newton is, as far as I know from his pedigree, american mink. Which has a much much warmer tone than UK mink.
"P" Is Pink eyes. Pink eyed dilute, to be specific, or written shorthand as "PED".
Pink eyes don't just cause pink eyes- they actually effect how the coat looks. I do not work with this gene, but it is absolutely lovely.
PED is a recessive gene, and is responsible for champagne (Pink eyed black) and silverfawn (Pink eyed agouti)
"R" is- you guessed it- red eyes. Also known as "Red Eyed Dilute" Or, ironically, "RED"
Ruby eyes are also a recessive gene. They are responsible behind fawn (Ruby eyed agouti), Beige (ruby eyed black) , and Havana (Ruby eyed mink).
Below you can see a fawn (left), and a beige! (right)
Okay! You made it! You made it through most of the coat colors! So go getcha'self a cookie, and lets start round two! Coat modifiers! While there are several- I'm going to narrow these down to just the ones I personally work with.
Velveteen is a dominant gene that causes the cutest, softest curls on our rats. Velveteen, while it can double (A rat gets two copies instead of just one) it doesn't become patchy or hairless like rex, another dominant curly gene. Instead- it becomes super short, feeling almost like a berber carpet. Below you can see a rat with one copy of velveteen (left) and two copies (right).
Coat types like velveteen, rex, and a few of the others you will see below are super awesome- as they're one of the few features you can tell a ratty will be from birth. Want to know the secret? Look at the whiskers!!
There are two satin varieties, but I work primarily with the one affectionately known as 'greasy satin' which is- just as it sounds- greasy looking.
Satin is a recessive gene that makes the hair shafts hollow- allowing light to pass through them easier. It makes the fur look shiny and 'wet' .
As the rat gets older, this tends to go away with a few molts, but the fur remains shiny and glossy throughout the rats life.
Satin can also modify other coat types. You can have satin rex, satin harley, satin hairless (Why though...) even.
Silvermane (And frost)
Silvermane (Also known as D'argent) is a dominant coat modifier that gives the coat a drop-dead gorgeous silvered effect. Frost is very VERY similar. (So similar in fact, it's often mistaken as being the same gene.)
Below you can see an agouti silvermane (left), a chocolate silvermane (right)
And here you can see the differences between frost and silvermane. Frost is marked with red- and silvermane is marked with yellow.