Australian Colours and Markings Guide

This is a guide to the types of rats you can get in Australia currently. This guide is NOT to be taken as any official standards or showing guide, rather it is an informal guide that most pet rat owners can look at to determine what their rats are. Photos will be added soon, but please be aware that due to lighting conditions and the contrast of your monitor, the real colour may not look much like the photo.

Markings

  • Hooded: The hooded rat has colour covering the head, throat, chest and shoulders, with a stripe running from the hood down the spine to the tail. A perfect hood is extremely rare and most hoods are broken up and don’t reach the tail.

  • Berkshire: A berkshire looks like a self, until you look at the tummy and legs. Berk’s should have an even and symmetrical coverage of white on their bellies, and little white socks on all four legs. The white on the tummy shouldn’t touch the white on the legs, but this happens a lot with non-show quality rats. Many berks only have uneven splotches of colour on their chest and tummy region, but they are still berks, just not show quality.
  • Cardigan: Very much like the berkshire markings, however the white on the belly extends to touch the white on the legs.
  • Downunder: Unique to Australia, these rats have not only a hood with a stripe down their back, but they have a stripe running down their tummies as well.
  • Downunder Berkshire: These guys are almost totally a solid colour, apart from 4 white socks, and dappling down both sides of the tummy.

  • Downunder Spotted: This Downunder variety have a very large amount of spotting all over their bodies, almost akin to “dalmation” or “variagated” types that overseas rat fanciers have.
  • Capped: As the name suggests, these rats have only a “cap” of colour on their heads, and the rest of the body is white.
  • Bareback: Almost capped, except the region of colour extends down the throat, chest and shoulders as well. They are like a hood without the stripe running down the spine.
  • Irish: Almost entirely a solid colour, apart from an inverted triangle of white on the chest. Also has white socks on the front feet.
  • Blazed: This marking is even newer than the downunder marking. It was developed here in Queensland by Barry Axelson. A triangle of white extends from the nose up to the forehead. In many cases a triangle extends from the chin down to the chest as well.

Non-Agouti Self Colours

  • Non-Agouti Selfs are rats that have all the one colour from the root of the hair to the very tip. Selfs do not have white patches anywhere.
  • Mink: A grey/brown rat with a distinct bluish sheen and black eyes. This colour can also come in ‘silvered’ which means they have silver hairs through their coat.

  • Black: A deep shining black coat and black eyes. This colour can also come silvered.

  • Champagne: A very light beige coat and pink eyes.
  • Albino (PEW): An entirely white coat and pink eyes.
  • Dove: A soft grey colour with ruby eyes.
  • Powder Blue: This is not related to the ‘blue’ family like Russian Blue or American Blue. It is believed to be a mutated form of dove. The base of the hair is white and the tips of the hair is grey giving a peppered cloudy look. Despite the colour change on the shaft, this variety is non-agouti.
  • Blue: This is a very new mutation in Australia! It is a very attractive colour which is most certainly blue to the extreme. It appeared in pet shops in Brisbane, Queensland and has since been snaffled up by excited breeders.

Agouti Variety Self Colours

  • Agouti varieties have “banded” fur. That is, they have 2 or more bands of colour on each hair.
  • Agouti: Chestnut brown fur with dark slate at the base. Ticked with black guard hairs, and a silvery grey tummy. Black eyes.
  • Cinnamon: A reddish brown colour, ticked with black guard hairs. Medium slate at the base of the coat, belly fur is a light silvery colour and eyes are black.
  • Silverfawn: A rich ginger colour with silvery guard hairs and chalky white undercoat. Tummy is a creamy white colour and eyes are pink.

  • Topaz: A much darker ginger than silverfawn with dark ticking. Has a greyish brown coat base, and a light greyish brown tummy colour. Eye colour is ruby.
  • Argente: Light grey undercoat, ginger fur with dark tips, silvering throughout the coat and ruby eyes. The tummy is a offwhite to light grey in colour.
  • Blue Agouti: Even more recent a development than blue and also developed here in Queensland (by Tracey York of bRatpack Rattery). In fact it’s so new that I haven’t been able to see one yet to give you a description! Coming soon.

All the above colours can also come in all the markings outlined at the top of this document. I merely described the self colours as the agouti varieties in particular have different undersides to their top colour that needed explaining. An agouti hooded, for instance, would not have any colour on their tummy and this part of the description could be ignored.