American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Colors & Coats

New Bristle Coat Rats

By Karen Robbins

Jozzette Hagemann, Jozzy’s Rat Pack Rattery, CA, e-mail
QI had some people in Holland asking about the new Bristle Coat rats that I presented at the July 27, 2013, show for a new Unstandardized rat coat, saying in the photos it just looks like a bad Rex. What would you say?

Bristle Coat rat
A Powder Blue Blaze Berkshire Bristle Coat male RR09 JRPR NItro owned and bred by Jozzette & Mike Hagemann, Jozzy’s Rat Pack Rattery. Photo ©2013 Karen Robbins.

AYes, in photos it’s hard to see what the uniqueness is. This is one coat type that photos don’t do it justice—it has to be felt to realize this is indeed something new and different (coat is very harsh and coarse and we find adults have a minimal undercoat). The fact that the whiskers are different from a Rex or Satin and can be recognized out of the other coat types as babies in the nest by their whiskers, shows this is not just a poor example of another coat type.

My first thought when seeing photos of the first one as a 6-week-old in kitten coat was that it was a Rex with too straight whiskers, but then seeing it in person at 12 weeks old with an almost straight coat that had a harsh/coarse feel, it did not look or feel like what normal Rex coats look/feels like at that age (even poor ones). As more were produced and came into their adult coat, we realized that this was not something we already had and calling it a poor Rex was not appropriate.

Having bred the Rex gene rats since 1983, having seen and felt what others call Velveteen which is another curly rat that is supposed to have a very soft coat, seeing and feeling the Teddy Rex Nichole Royer worked on for a short time, along with breeding Satin rats since 1990, and seeing/feeling the Velvet rats (plush stand-up coats) produced by Karla Barber, this was nothing like we have ever experienced before. The literature on the various curly gene rats says they are all similar with curly hair and whiskers, but these new rats do not have the curly whiskers as described for other curly genes.

As our genetics expert Nichole Royer said when she saw them for the first time, Oh, I recognize that face, as the whiskers reminded her of the Teddy Rexes she had worked on in the past. However, feeling the coat it was not the same, as the Teddy Rexes had a very plush, thick coat where the Bristle Coats were a very coarse textured, stand off coat with minimal undercoat. With her confirmation that this was indeed something different from the Teddy Rex she had worked with, coming up with a name and standard, was the next step. The Proposed Standard reads:

“Bristle Coat – Coat 30, color 20, Bristle Coated rats to be shown in any recognized color or marking. The coat has a distinct and unique feel. This may be consistent with a wire brush–very coarse and stiff. The coat will be lightly curled/waved as very young kittens similar to Rex. It then straightens out as adults to having a harsh, rough-looking, messy coat. The whiskers will be straight to curled on the ends (similar to Satins) which is different than the curled Rex whiskers. Genetics: unknown; this is a dominant gene. Note: Males will have the harshest coat. Adults have minimal undercoat. [Accepted into Unstandardized 7-27-13]”

These rats are now going through the standardization process and should finish in a relatively short time as they are proving to be popular with local breeders. *

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August 11, 2015