Syrian hamster : Types and colors

The Syrian hamster is undoubtedly the most robust of all. Its average lifespan varies between 1.5 and 3 years, even if some of them may live 4 or even 5 years! It is calmer than the dwarf hamster, and let itself tame more easily, even if exceptions exist. It should be noted that a hamster is not born “tamed”, everything remains to be done.

Agouti colors

The agouti colors are all composed in the same way. The animal has a cover color, a under-color (on the skin, a bit like an undercoat), and sometimes a ticking (the tip of the hair that takes a darker color). The belly is always clear. The agouti animal has jowls (a dark band at the jaw level), and just above it a crescent often lighter. On the top of the head, it has a triangle of the same color as jowls.

Agouti (gold and wild)

This is the natural color of the Syrian hamster. This color varies greatly in intensity from an one to the other, ranging from light to dark depending on the lineages, and the genes carried. The coat is rich reddish brown, with a rich fairly pronounced black ticking (animals not selected for the standard tend to have a ticking lighter brown) and a dark grey undertone. The ticking is also concentrated around the eyes. The belly is ivory, and the croissants almost white. Jowls are black (grey-brown on hamsters not selected). The ears are grey, the eyes are black.

Rust color

The coat is distinctly orange-brown, with a grey-brown undertone and a light brown ticking. The belly is ivory; the jowls are brown. The eyes are dark brown, the ears are brown.

Orange (cinnamon, cinnamon)

The red-eyed mutation of agouti. The coat becomes cinnamon orange with a slate-grey undercoat. The belly is ivory with a bluish hue. The eyes are dark ruby colored and become almost black with age. The ears are flesh-colored.

Light grey

Mutation that is not common, physically quite similar to the heterozygous pearl grey but in addition creamy.

The coat is creamy grey, with a dark grey undertone and a fairly pronounced dark grey ticking.The belly is light creamy grey. The eyes are black and the ears are grey.

Pearl grey (silver grey, silver grey)

This dominant mutation has two phenotypes: in the heterozygous version, it strongly resembles to the light grey. In the homozygous version, the animal is clearer. The coat is silver-grey with a grey undertone dark slate and a ticking marked black. The belly is silvery grey, the jowls are almost black. The eyes are black and the ears are dark grey.

Dark grey (dark grey)

The coat is pearly grey, with a dark grey undertone and a pronounced black ticking (identical to agouti, it is also concentrated around the eyes).  The eyes are black and the ears are grey.

Silver rust

The coat is silver-grey with a cream undercoat and a reddish-brown ticking. The belly is ivory, jowls are brown. The eyes are dark brown and the ears are light brown.

Blond

Combination of light grey / pearl grey and orange. The coat is light blond grey with light grey jowls. The eyes are ruby and the ears are flesh-colored.

Lilacs

A red-eyed version of the dark grey, the lilac has a lilac grey coat with a touch of pink. They are medium grey. The ears are pinkish grey, the eyes are ruby. The belly is ivory.

Solid colors

The solid colors are, as their name says, uniform from root to tip. There is therefore no under-color, no belly of another color, no crescent, no jowls. The belly is sometimes a little duller. United animals can have a thin white list that runs from the chin to the belly and sometimes also a little white on the belly. However, the standard requires that there be as little white as possible.

Black (black)

Uniform black color. The eyes are black, the ears are dark grey.

Chocolate (chocolate, brown)

Uniform chocolate brown color. The eyes are dark brown, the ears are brown.

Dove

Uniform grey-brown color (like turtle doves). The eyes are ruby; the ears are flesh-colored.

Blue (diluted black)

Uniform slate bluish grey color. The eyes are black, the ears are grey.

DEW (dark eared white)

Completely pure white coat. The ears are dark grey, the eyes are red. Wrongly called “albino”, as the ears are colored and albinos do not exist in Syrian hamsters.

PEW (pink eyed white)

Completely pure white coat. The ears are flesh-coloured and the eyes are red.

BEW (black eyed white)

Completely pure white coat. The ears are grey. The eyes are black.

Champagne

Fawn grey coat, slightly pinkish. It is a dove with the rust gene, which therefore reddens the color. The eyes are ruby, the ears are flesh-colored.

Lavendel

It is a diluted chocolate. The coat is bluish brown. The eyes are dark brown and the ears are brown.

Dingy black

It is a black diluted by a grey gene. The coat is slightly washed black (often only visible in comparison to pure black). The ears are dark grey and the eyes are black.

Silver dove

Dilution of the dove with pearl grey. The animal is slightly grey, fairly pale, lighter and less brown than champagne. The eyes are ruby; the ears are flesh-colored.

Chocolate silver

Dilution of chocolate with pearl grey. The animal is lighter chocolate, a little silvery. The eyes are brown dark, the ears are brown.

Cream base colors

The cream masking the black, and being very dominant on all genes, the cream base colors are a little bit special. Combined with the umbrous gene (which colors the tip of the hair – this is called ticking), it will form a group of colors which has a whole variation of tones according to the genes that come into play. Like solid colors, you can find a white list and possibly white spots on the belly.

Black eyed cream (black eyed cream)

The coat is tan yellow, and pulls towards orange when it is mature. The eyes are black, the ears are dark grey.

Red-eye cream

The coat is light tawny yellow. The eyes are ruby. The ears are flesh-coloured.

Ivory with black eyes

The coat is light cream, the eyes are black, and the ears are grey.

Red-eyed Ivory

The coat is a light creamy, slightly pinkish, almost white. The eyes are ruby. The ears are flesh-colored.

Dark sepia (sand)

The coat is dark grey almost black, with a well defined cream undertone. The eye area is creamy. The standard requires an animal as black as possible, but because of the umbrous gene, many sepia are brown, or brown with age. The eyes are black, the ears dark grey.

Light sepia (silver sand)

The coat is silver-grey with an ivory undercoat. The eyes contour area is ivory coloured. The eyes are black, the ears are grey. The animal can quickly turn brown because of the umbrous gene, but the standard prefers a very grey animal.

Chocolate sepia (chocolate sand)

The coat is milk chocolate in color, with a cream undertone. The eye area is creamy. The eyes are dark brown and the ears are brown.

Mink

The coat is orange brown, with glasses and a pinkish cream undercoat. The eyes are ruby, the ears are flesh-colored.

Blue mink

The coat is brown with a slight purple hue, an under-color and cream glasses. The eyes are ruby, with flesh-colored ears.

Silver mink

The coat is reddish brown with silvery shades, the undercoat and glasses are ivory. The eyes are ruby, the ears are flesh-colored.

Blue Sepia (blue sand)

Very close to dark sepia, the coat is dark bluish grey, with an under-colour and cream glasses. The eyes are black, ears grey. The animal can turn brown quite quickly because of the umbrous gene.

Copper (copper)

The coat is a deep coppery red to the base of the hair. The eyes are ruby, the ears are colorful flesh.

Yellow (melanistic yellow)

The coat is tanish brown, with a yellow undercoat and a dark brown or black ticking (which, like agouti, can vary greatly in intensity). The belly is ivory. Jowls are brown, ears are grey and eyes are black. The mutation is called “sex-linked” and is placed on the X chromosome.

Find out in this article best cages to choose for your hamster. Click here

References :

“The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – Golden Hamster”IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

“Notes on the current distribution and the ecology of wild golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus)”Journal of Zoology. Cambridge University Press. 254 (3): 359–365. doi:10.1017/S0952836901000851.

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