This article is from the WSSF 2011 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Colors & Coats
By Karen Robbins
Shawna Behm, e-mail
Q I have a dove-colored mouse with a cream-colored belly, not tan, but an off-white. Is there a standard for this? Or is it considered undesirable?
A I would need more information to give you an appropriate answer. Do you have photos of your mouse? Does it have black or red/pink eyes?
We have standards for Tan mice with an orange belly that can range from a light tan to the correct very dark orange for show. As babies, Tan mice can have pale tan bellies—what is the age of your mouse? Fox mice are the same gene but with Chinchilla added to change the tan/orange belly color to cream/white. You can see good examples of Tan and Fox mice on our Standards page.
In the U.S., Dove is a chocolate-blue (a.k.a. dilute Chocolate) mouse with black eyes (aa bb dd), whereas in the U.K., Dove is a pink-eyed gray mouse (aa pp) that we call Lilac here in the U.S. [“Lilac vs. Dove”] So yes, we have standards for Tan and Fox mice as well as Dove and Lilac so it just depends on what your mouse is.
Carol Lawton, Blue Shuze Rodentry, CA, e-mail
Q The litters with my Champagne sisters to their Chocolate dad, Allister, are both beautiful. The one Champagne has some very nice kids, just what I expected. But her sister’s litter (my light Champagne) has two odd-balls. The Chocolates are obviously Chocolate and the Champagnes are obviously Champagnes, but I have two babies with no color and dark eyes (looked like PEW at first but the eyes are dark). I looked at Allie’s pedigree again, his dam is out of an Ivory so I assume that’s what these kids are. Since my light Champagne mom is Cce, it makes me wonder if that’s why she’s so light, because of the Ivory in the background.
A I haven’t noticed this being the case when I breed Champagne to Ivory to make Chocolate, more being if you have light Champagne, they will produce more light Champagne. Modifiers will cause lighter extremities and the genes on the C locus come in a broad range of shades.
Sarah Paterson-Farrand, North American Rat Registry (NARR), e-mail
Q As you may know, we maintain a database of over 21,000 rats in the US and Canada, and have been operating since 2001. We pride ourselves in having a detailed and accurate database using universal and accepted terminology from the major show clubs and organizations. However, we have had some discussion and debate amongst members as to the use of Blue-Beige to indicate a rat that is Russian Blue and RED [ruby-eye dilute/ red-eyed locus]. Several organizations are now, and perhaps more appropriately calling this dilute Russian Beige to indicate the Russian Blue gene rather than the American Blue one. We have always deferred to Blue-Beige as it was established first as show standard with AFRMA, but do you also accept either term or have any interest in the naming of this color being more obvious? Karen Robbins answered a similar question a while back [“Blue-Beige Rats”], but I guess for sake of a cohesive database, we’d like only one term to appear rather than two for the same genetic color. Do you as a club also accept Russian Blue Beige as an appropriate term for a Russian Blue RED rat, is essentially the question. Thank you for your time.
A For AFRMA shows, Blue-Beige is the correct term. However, since other clubs and breeders will come up with their own terminology for the many colors and varieties out there, we understand Russian Beige is what they refer to as our Blue-Beige. It is just a matter of keeping up with all the various names being used for the same genetic colors and varieties as well as the various genetic codes being used for the same colors. There are very few colors and varieties that are universally known by both breeders and clubs by only one name.