This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Shows & More
By Karen Robbins
Christine Pecor, MT, e-mail
Q I purchased some rats from a breeder here in Montana. I purchased these two rats with pedigree papers. The breeder told me that she was going to dismiss the pedigree. What does this mean and is it even possible? She claims she is a member of your organization and is working on bringing rat and mouse shows into Montana and would like to hold one in conjunction with our local rabbit club.
Being a dog and rabbit person where we raise and show both
and both have extensive pedigrees, there is no way to
pedigree. Parentage is parentage, you can’t change that. That is
where I became confused. Perhaps maybe she meant she had the
pedigree registered with your organization? All we got for a pedigree
was a computer print out, nothing that officially said registered
with AFRMA or such. I even doubt at this stage if the
pedigree she provided was true or not, because as she told me she
was going to dismiss the pedigree, she concluded that I was going
to have to make up my own.
A A pedigree is just a listing of who the parents, grandparents,
etc., were and their colors/type. Pedigrees don’t mean
an animal is show or breeding quality or any kind of guarantee
that the background is really for that rat (or mouse). Also,
I’ve found that on some pedigrees the color/variety listed is incorrect
for particular animals—these from people who don’t show or
get critiques on their animals so the listing is from guessing or
what another pet breeder told them it was. Unlike rabbits or dogs,
rats don’t come in
breeds where you would only see that one
type of animal on the pedigree. Also, there are very few
breeders of rats, not like you would find with rabbits or dogs, so
very few rats get shown/critiqued so you wouldn’t know if quality
animals have been bred and are in the background of the animals
you purchase. No matter how long the pedigree is, it just
means someone kept records of their breedings, not that the quality
of the stock you are purchasing is worthy to be bred. Since you
only get a few in a litter that are even breeding quality, the rest being
pet-only due to flaws in conformation, color, markings, poor
physical feature, etc., you wouldn’t want to purchase pet-only
stock to breed from even though they have a pedigree.
There is more that goes into breeding than just the pedigree. There is the overall conformation of the rat, the temperament, health, size/weight, etc. While there are some things that can be corrected down the line, if any of these are not right, then it doesn’t matter how fancy or long a pedigree is, as a general rule the rat in question should not be bred, no matter if the rat was purchased from a pet shop or breeder—with a pet shop rat you don’t know the colors in the background, the health or temperament history of the line, size of litters, etc., where a pedigreed rat will give you some clue when you breed the rat what the outcome of the litter as far as colors/types should be. Though with most pet breeders, they have as many colors/types in the background as possible so they can get a wide variety of babies which makes them easier to sell. Most show breeders will only have a couple colors/types throughout the whole pedigree so there are less surprises, or guesses, on a particular color that shows up whether it is a combination of others or just a too light/dark version of a color. Any pedigree should only be used as a guide as to what is potentially in the background for color/physical features, remembering that some may be mislabeled as to their color/type. While pedigrees are useful, it is not the only thing to determine if a rat should be bred.
I’m not sure what she means by
dismissing the pedigree. You
will have to ask her what she means by that.
We don’t have pedigrees registered with AFRMA. The only
registry we do is a fun Pet Registry. A properly registered animal
requires a trained official/judge to critique the animal (like in
rabbits) so you know it passes the minimum requirements and is
breeding quality. It would be impossible to travel all over the
register rats and right now all AFRMA shows are
held in southern California. There are only 3 other
clubs for rats (independent groups with their own standards,
rules, requirements for showing, etc.: one in the Pacific Northwest,
RatsPacNW; one in Michigan,
Fanciers of the Lakes (RFL)—only has two shows a year [club now defunct, 5-5-16]; and a new one in Illinois,
Club—only has one show a year in Michigan) [5-5-16: status of club unknown since they used to be affiliated with the RFL].
We have no members in Montana at the moment and no one that we know of trying to start a club there. Though getting in with the rabbit clubs to get started is a great way to share space and let others know about rats and showing them (my background is showing rabbits and our first shows were held in conjunction with rabbit clubs’ shows). Perhaps you could contact the RatsPacNW group to see if they know of the breeder you ask about or any shows getting started in Montana. If you were interested in getting shows for rats there, we have some articles online to help you get started:
How To Host An AFRMA Displaywhich would also apply for anyone else wanting to spread the word about rats (and mice)
Tips on Starting A Club
Some Ideas On Forming Your Club
Since it sounds like the
pedigrees you got may not in fact be
correct, then making your own from this point forward would be
the way to go.