American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2005 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Colors & Coats

Question About Siamese Rats; Where To Start

By Karen Robbins

Question About Siamese Rats

QI have been doing some genetic/breeding/show research on the Seal Point Siamese rat, and I was wondering if you could possibly help clarify some questions I was contemplating.

  1. In a text I read it said using a Self Black bred with a Siamese will produce better offspring, they will have darker points and a richer coat. Is this true?
  2. Is it possible to take a pet quality or breeding quality Seal Point Siamese and produce (over time) show quality offspring (possibly by mating the Siamese to a Self Black)?
  3. Does the diet of the parent and offspring affect the coloration and points of a Siamese rat?

Seal Point Siamese rat
A Seal Point Siamese rat, Tarot’s Simply Dapper, owned and bred by Nichole Royer. Photo by Nichole Royer.

AYes, using Black should improve the point color and, yes, you could take a pet quality Siamese and with a lot of work and a lot of generations of baby rats, produce a show-quality rat. However, if your original rats do not have good type and other physical features along with poor color, you will end up with rats that may have correct coloring, but will not stand up on the show bench to others with better conformation. There are a lot of marked Siamese out there in pet shops and many breeders homes that would not be suitable to use, as a lot of the markings on a marked Siamese cannot be seen as to what they are. It would be easy to accidentally breed these types of rats and several generations later find out they have a major disqualification when shown. For a test breeding, if you were to take your pet quality Siamese and breed to a Black Self rat and the resulting Black babies had white anywhere on them, then you would know your Siamese was actually a marked Siamese—not suitable for show!

Siamese are temperature sensitive, so the physical ambient temperature will have more affect on color than diet. All rats should be fed a high-quality balanced diet for optimum growth and potential.

Where To Start

Marion Marshall, Cocoa, FL
QI am a hobby breeder mostly of albino mice to supply the local pet stores. However, I have seen pictures of some of the unusual color variations that are now available. For the purpose of breeding some colored mice for pets for myself and for a hobby, I have purchased a dark brown female, a natural/white spotted female, a white/black spotted female, and a yellow male. Is it possible that I could get started from here? I would very much appreciate it if you could send me some information (in lay terms) as to what to cross with what to get some of today’s desired colors. I am most interested in the Siamese variety. Also, how many generations of a color must you produce before the animal is considered purebred? I would also like to know which colors do not produce viable purebred offspring. Thank you very much for your time.

AIt’s hard to tell by your descriptions exactly what colors you have. The dark brown could be Chocolate, Siamese Sable, or dark Agouti—all very different genetically. If by natural you mean the wild-colored mouse coloring, then you have an Agouti/white. The yellow sounds like a Fawn/Gold color. Most people find the spotted mice cute pet mice so you have a good start with the Broken Marked females you obtained.

You must have the Siamese gene in order to get more. This is not a color that you can create by breeding two other colors together.

In rats and mice, it is not a matter of breeding a color together so many generations before it is considered purebred. Most breeders will only breed certain colors together because genetically they are compatible and to keep the color the correct shade. This will also limit the colors produced to the known expected ones in the litters. As long as the color conforms to the written standard for its particular type, then you will be able to show it. Many times, exhibitors have gotten very nice show-quality animals from pet shops or from pet breeders.

With marked mice you obviously will only want to breed the same type of marking to each other to produce the proper markings, i.e. Dutch to Dutch, Broken Marked to Broken Marked, etc. With pet mice, any kind of marking that is cute will be sellable. For show marked mice, they must follow a strict written standard as to the type and placement of the markings. *

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May 28, 2015