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White, Dark Eared

The white coat of this variety of hamster is misleading. It is a result of a naturally occurring, recessive mutation called the Acromelanic gene, which restricts colour to areas of the body that are below normal body temperature. It is therefore similar in action to the Himalayan gene in rabbits, rats, gerbils, cavies and cats. Like the Himalayan gene, it also restricts the development of eye colour, producing red eyes, (as is also the case in rabbits and cavies). In other species of animal, the colour is restricted to the "points"; the nose, ears, paws and tail. Hamsters, however, have short tails, blunt faces and small paws, all of which are close to the body core, and thus warm. As a result, the only areas of this type of hamster that actually darkens and shows colour, (grey or black), is the ears. The ears are pink when the hamster is first born, and usually don't start to darken until they become erect at around three weeks of age. The darkening then continues until the hamster is around twelve weeks of age.

When breeding this colour it is important to remember two things.

Firstly, the Acromelanic gene is recessive. This means that the hamster has to inherit it from both parents. Mating White to White will only produce White youngsters.

Secondly, the gene will mask any colour, since the "colour" would only be shown on the cooler ears, not the warmer areas. This means that a "White" hamster is genetically a coloured animal in a "white overcoat". Although the young from a White to White mating will have white coats, they will have inherited appropriate combinations of the colour(s) their parents were showing or carrying "under" the white, and can pass these on to their own young.

Due to the above, mating a White animal to a non-White one can produce surprising results. Since the resulting young only inherit one Acromelanic gene, they don't show the white coat, but they may show some of the colours that were "masked" by the white. This can lead to surprises!

Dark Eared White hamsters with patched ears, (pink and coloured blotches), are Banded or Dominant Spot individuals, and can produce, (visibly), Banded or Spotted youngsters when bred to non White animals.

A final note; this colour should not be bred to any animal that carries, or may carry the Anopthalmic, (Eyeless or White Bellied), gene. Due to the coat colour it is difficult to determine for sure whether White animals are carrying this gene, which produces eyeless white-coated animals when inherited from both parents. To avoid the accidental breeding of such eyeless animals, all Whites of unknown ancestry should be treated and bred as if they where possible carriers.

NHC Standard
TOP COAT White to the roots
EAR COLOUR Dark grey, almost black
NOTES Eyes darken with age
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