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Dwarf Hamster Confusion

Author: Tina Shahoody

From Issue 34 Jul 2000

To avoid the spread of misinformation and to help avoid embarrassment by those passing on misinformation, let's clarify a frequent misunderstanding in terms.

Platinum is a colour. It looks like a light, dull, washed-out natural agouti. Platinum may come with a dilute gene. The dilute platinum has a lighter undercoat than the pure platinum and has a blotchy appearance . The extreme dilute platinum resembles a black-eyed white but usually has colour on the ears and a few side hairs with colour.

Pearl is a marking (pattern) not a colour. Pearl means the even ticking and tipping of hairs with a colour (any colour) on a lighter background. There can be natural pearls, argente pearls, opal pearls, dove pearls, black pearls and yes, there can be platinum pearls.

A state of confusion exists because some people don't know the difference between a true platinum, a dilute platinum, a platinum pearl or an extreme dilute platinum. Oh, and yes, there can be a dilute platinum pearl.

The dilute platinum pearl resembles the dilute platinum except that it has an even-looking tipping to the coat of the colour platinum and is not blotchy-looking.

Having seen these animals in Holland and England and in the USA, and having bred and judged them, it is upsetting to know that people breeding them are spreading misinformation. Please try first to know the difference between a colour and a marking (pattern) and then teach others.

Tina is a US hamster judge and geneticist. She is a director of the American Rat, Mouse and Hamster Fanciers, a member of the SHC and has judged in Holland.