Posted: March 20, 2012, 9:40 p.m. EDT
Although the name “Golden hamster” suggests a particular color for Syrian hamsters, mutations create a variety of coat colors, types and patterns, such as black-eyed cream, dominant spot, chocolate and tortoiseshell. By mixing up fur length, color and patterns, Syrian hamster breeders create an endless variety of possibilities!
What Kinds Of Syrian Coat Types Are Available?
Syrian hamster coats come in several different types. Their coats can be short or long, though long hair is more pronounced on males. Some coats have an extra sheen, known as “satin,” and wavy or curly coats are called “rex.” Breeders can mix up these genetic traits to produce a longhaired satin rex hamster.
What Kinds Of Syrian Colors Are Available?
Although the first hamsters that came from Syria were the standard golden brown with black cheekflashes and white feet, the range of colors has since exploded.
Syrian hamsters exist in white, several types of gray, dove, cream, yellow, honey, cinnamon, sable and chocolate, as well as jet black. Looking closely at a hamster’s coat will often reveal two colors: one at the tip of the fur and another at the base. Understanding what color combinations exist can help you identify the correct name of your hamster’s color.
Nonpatterned hamsters have no white except on their feet, chin and sometimes belly.
Patterned hamsters, such as the banded ones, are banded with white around their bellies.
Dominant spot hamsters have distinct splotches of white with another color.
Roans have darker hairs sprinkled into a lighter base color.
Splotches of three different colors make up a calico coat, while two different colors make up a tortoiseshell coat.
Recessive dappled Syrian hamsters almost always have a white blaze extending nearly all the way down the nose and have color concentrated around the head and tail areas with white covering the rest of the coat.
Cheekflashes (a swipe of color on each side of the hamster’s face) start under the chin and go up toward the ear. It’s typical to find a lighter-colored swipe (crescent) below it.
Regardless of what kind of color or coat pattern, all Syrian hamsters have the same inquisitive nature and love for adventure. While an exotic color may seem appealing, remember that every hamster deserves the chance for a loving, lifetime home.
Excerpt from the Popular Critters Series magabook Hamsters with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Hamsters here.