Here is the lovely Linnaea, daughter of Toby and Lady Grey, and Best In Show winner. She is a Black-Eyed White, or BEW. This means that her genes for marking/white spotting are so extensive that they have caused her to be entirely white except for her eyes. If you breed heavily marked rat to heavily marked rat and keep selecting for more and more white, eventually you will get BEW's.
Here is my son, Nathan, with his rats. Lickety Split is on the left, Lady Grey (aged 4 years old!!!) is on the right. Lickety Split is a marked hairless. You cannot see the markings on a hairless rat unless the rat's color is genetically black, blue, mink, or some other dark color. If the hairless is genetically some lighter color such as beige or champagne, the skin will not be pigmented enough to notice.
Lady Grey is an example of a patch/stripe marked rat. You cannot see her markings very well in this photo, but essentially she has colored patches over her eyes and spots running down her back in a loosely organized line. I have read that if you breed patch/stripe to patch/stripe or cap/stripe to cap/stripe, some of each litter will die before birth because apparently if you double up on this gene it is lethal. I have yet to try this myself and am a little concerned about it, though apparently death occurs early enough in gestation that the double patch/stripes or cap/stripes are never born.
Yup, you guessed it....Tasja again, with her big rat buddy, Cappy, son of Linnaea and the beloved but deceased Danny.
Cappy is halfway between a capped and a bareback. A capped rat has color on the head only but not the neck. The color ends at the jawline and behind the ears, and the cutoff should be smooth and not ragged (see //www.rmca.org/ for detailed standards). A bareback rat is essentially a hooded rat with no stripe. Bareback rats, from a genetic standpoint, are hooded rats with more modifying genes (polygenes) for white. You can select for larger amounts of white by accumulating polygenes. Bareback to bareback will generally give you bareback in the same way that hooded to hooded will generally give you hooded. Of course there are exceptions.....
Finally, here he is.....Toby, finest rat in the known universe. Pet par excellance, rattie ambassador, and all-in-all fine fellow. To know him is to love him.
Toby's one of those exceptions I was referring to. He is blazed, which means that he has a white wedge-shaped marking on his face, starting at his nose and ending near his ears. It appears that by breeding rats together who have any kinds of white markings on the face, even small ones, one can eventually produced blazed rats. It appears to me that polygenes again play a role, but I also know that there is a specific gene for face spotting/marking. I believe it is incompletely dominant. For all practical purposes the best way to get blazes such as Toby's is to breed together rats with lots of white markings, especially those who have face markings of any kind. However, one must always remember that markings, color, etc. are only the icing on the cake. An unhealthy rat or one who has temperament problems should never be bred, no matter how beautiful or well-marked. Temperament problems and health problems are hard to breed out of your stock, and you will end up most likely with several generations of rats who will not make good pets. Why bother with that mess?
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