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Black (aa)

All "Self" colours in Syrian hamsters are based around one of two naturally occurring recessive mutations. One is "Restriction of Eumelanism", (e), which creates Black Eyed Cream and the other is "Melanistic Black", (a).

The Black hamster was imported in the UK in 1991. Until that date, the darkest animals available had been Sables. Unlike the Sable, which has very dark brown fur with a paler under colour and eye rings, the "true", melanistic black has fur that is jet black to the roots. The colouration is uniform all over the animal, although some white on the paws and belly is common. In the USA Black Syrian hamsters are sometimes referred to as "Black Bear hamsters"; not only are they black, but, (coming from show stock), many of the original imports were larger than the hamsters that the purchasers were used to.

Black is a simple recessive and breeding Black to Black produces all Black young. Crossing Black with Golden produces Golden young carrying Black; mating these youngsters amongst themselves will produce around one in four Black young in the resulting litters. Mating a Golden carrying Black to a Black animal produces roughly equal numbers of Blacks and Goldens, (carrying Black).

The Black gene combines with Cinnamon, (p), to produce Dove and with Rust, (b), to produce Chocolate. A particularly striking animal is the Black Tortoiseshell and White hamster. These are invariably female, (as are all Tortoiseshells), and have a coat boldly marked with patches of Yellow, Black and White. To breed this colour from scratch you would first mate a "patterned" Black male, (either a Banded or a Dominant Spot), to a Yellow female. This results in Yellow males, (with and without "patterning"), and Golden Tortoiseshell females, (again, with or without "patterning"). Mating one of the "non patterned" Golden Tortoiseshell females back to her father will result in a litter which may contain Black, Golden or Yellow males, (with or without patterning), and Black, Golden, Black Tortoiseshell and Golden Tortoiseshell females, (with or without patterning). Once a Black Tortoiseshell and White female is obtained, she should be bred to a Black male; this mating would produce Black males and females, (some patterned, some not), Yellow males, (some patterned, some not), and Black Tortoiseshell females, (some with and some without white).

More information about this can be found under Yellow.

NHC Standard
BLACK (aa)
TOP COAT Black; white feet are permissible, and shall not be penalised. All other markings shall be penalised.
BASE COLOUR Black
BELLY FUR Black
CRESCENTS Absent
TICKING Absent
CHEST BAND Absent
CHEEK FLASHES Absent
EYE COLOUR Black
EAR COLOUR Black
NOTES Genetic details; This is a melanistic black, produced by a simple recessive gene, and is capable of true breeding. The genotype for this colour is "aa".
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