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I'm a new rat mom. I've been trying to learn as much as I can about rats in the past few months.

One thing I've been struggling with is the different 'types' of rats. I'm using the word 'type' loosely because I'm not sure of the proper word for this phenomena. By types, I mean the colors and patterns that are used to differentiate between rats. One of the 'types' I see a lot is Berkshire... but what defines a Berkshire rat? What would you call a grey rat with a white belly and a tuft of white on his head? I've struggled with learning these things because I have yet to find a clear cut guide listing quality or markings commonly seen on rats. If anyone could explain these types to me or point me in the direction of a post or website with this information, I would be extremely grateful.

Additionally, I have a question about hairless rats. At first I was off put by these hairless creates... but I've recently been charmed by them. However, do they need special treatment because they are hairless? I live in New England so we get the cold winters and hot summers. My rats are kept in quality living conditions and I pay attention to them closely to make sure they are not cold. Would a hairless rat need to be kept at a higher temperature or provided some kind of warming element when the temperature drops substantially?
 

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I just wanted to add that any legitimate strain or morph of rat should theoretically breed true. In other words, if both parents are truly of the same morph their offspring should look pretty much just like the parents. Certain strains are morphs our bread and maintained by certain breeders.


The vast majority of the rats that we see in the fancy are actually of questionable genetic background. While it's true that they may resemble a purebred strain, they are most likely not purebred rats. For the most part when we say that we have a certain type of rat, what we are really saying is that our rat looks like a certain strain of rat.


For example you could own a German Shepherd or a dog that looks like a German Shepherd. An actual purebred German Shepherd comes from a long line of only German shepherds, while a dog that looks like a German Shepherd might have genes from another dog variety mixed in.


Certain rat morphs come with higher risks of health problems, vision problems and even auditory problems. Some people claim that certain rat strains have different temperaments, but rats are all individuals and for the most part temperament varies more from rat to rat than it does from morph to morph.


There's a building body of evidence that different strains bred by different breeders have different risks of health problems and lifespans. This doesn't mean that they are a homogeneous morph, it just means that their genetic makeup contains a better gene combination than another strain.


In the long run, it's more important to get rats from a strain with a history of good temperaments, good health and long life spans than it is to find rats with a particular color pattern.


Best luck.
 

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"What would you call a grey rat with a white belly and a tuft of white on his head?" without seeing a pic i would call that a blue headspotted berkshire

I usually refer to this site:
http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm

Rat Daddy--that really isn't true, the marking names just refer to the markings. A blue merle dog can be any breed (in which it's acceptable) and a black berkshire rat can be any "strain." There are not different breeds of rats like there are in dogs. All rats are "purebred" in that sense because there are no breeds.
 

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The different types of rats are called varieties.

All of our pet rats are the same rat = fancy rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Then there are just different varieties.

You can have different fur type, eye color, fur color, ear type, and markings.

The biggest issue you will have at understanding varieties is that different clubs and parts of the world call the same thing by different names sometimes. It can be alittle confusing. I suggest picking one and just going with it. I prefer AFRMA standards myself as it is a very old, respected club in the US.

As well as some iffy breeding you will have some mismarked or not show standard markings often.

In the rat world we do not have grey, it is called blue. Cuz we fancy lol

i highly suggest this site: http://www.afrma.org/fancyrm.htm
http://www.afrma.org/idlrats.htm

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/263882859393264952/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/263882859393264911/

I also really like http://ratvarieties.com/

I am not completely sure I get what rat daddy means, but there are "clean lines" such as only breeding siamese to siamese perhaps and there are times when lines are outcrossed such as if you wanted to breed a siamese with a black self to darken the points. There are also times when you need to combine lines to create specific colors i.e. mixing mink and Russian blue to make Russian dove. There are breeders who keep nice neat lines to perfect them, some mixing is ok and even needed in some cases. Some people do go alittle bit overboard or sadly just toss rats together. Not everyone is a responsible breeder.

It is really nothing like dog breeds. For example my current litter mom is RB siamese, dad is RB hooded. The babies that are siamese are siamese period. They can carry other other things but they are still siamese. But with dogs if you have two different breeds the baby could look like a germain shepard but not be one, it would be a mutt. If a rat is black berkshire it is black berkshire. There is a difference in genotype vs phenotype. And there are times you will not be able to tell what a rat is by its looks alone. For example siamese vs himalayan. if you just see an adult rat that looks siamese/himi u have no way of truly knowing what it is without knowing what it looked like as a baby and its history. Perhaps that is what Rat Daddy meant?


I personally am not a fan of hairless and have never owned one so I can't help u there.
 

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That's probably a better job of explaining things than I did... I come from a background of breeding tropical fish and other animals and we usually call the various 'varieties' morphs.
 
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