Ferrets make excellent pets for people who have the time for them, and who bond well with animals. Ferrets are naturally quiet, friendly, inquisitive, intelligent, and companionable. At certain points in the day, they are also exceedingly active and capable of getting themselves into trouble unless they are supervised.
There is only one breed of ferret, but they can come in many colors and patterns. All of them are identified by the American Ferret Association (AFA).
- Albino: The guard hair and undercoat are either white or cream. The true albino will has red or pink colored eyes and nose is pink.
- Black: The guard hair is true black and the undercoat is white. The eyes are black and the nose can be black, near black or speckled black.
- Black Sable: The guard hair is dark ash blackish brown with no warm brown tone and the undercoat is white/cream. The eyes are dark brown or near black. The nose is blackish brown and can be solid, mottled or heavily speckled.
- Champagne: The guard hair is tan or a diluted version of chocolate and the undercoat is white/cream. The eyes are light to dark burgundy and the nose is beige/pink or pink with a beige or light brown ‘T’ outline
- Chocolate: The guard hair is warm milk chocolate brown and the undercoat is white. The eyes are brown or dark burgundy and the nose is pink, brick, beige or pink with a light brown ‘T’ outline.
- Cinnamon: The guard hair is rich light reddish brown and the undercoat is white or white with a golden hue. The nose is brick, beige or pink with a light brown or brick ‘T’ outline.
- Dark eyes White: The guard hair and undercoat is either white or cream. The eyes are burgundy or black and the nose is pink. This is non albino type
- Sable: The guard hair is warm deep brown and the undercoat is white/cream/light golden. The eyes are brown to near black and the nose is light brown, speckled/mottled brown or pink with a brown ‘T’ outline.
Sable ferrets are the most commonly seen ferrets.
Now that you know the basic ferret colors the fun begins determining your ferret’s pattern. Trying to identify all the possible color patterns in ferrets can make you crazy. Ferrets can and regularly have multiple patterns.
First you’ll need to know some more terms in order to determine your ferret’s pattern.
- Bib: White patches under the neck.
- Mitt: White feet where the white stops at the ankle.
- Point: The ferret’s legs, shoulders, tail and mask.
- Roaning: A mixture of white guard hairs scattered throughout the coat, like salt and pepper usually in a uniform mixture.
- Stocking: White feet where the white extends halfway up the leg.
Next let’s talk about masks. There are three different styles of masks. Standard mask is a solid band of color around and between each eye while T-Bar is a solid band of color around and between each eye up to the top of the head. There is also V shaped mask which is a thin strip of color around each eye and down to the nose.
- Blaze: A blaze pattern can be any color except white and is a streak of color running from the back of the head down the neck. Blaze ferrets have dark red or brown eyes, the nose is pinkish, and white tips to the tail, feet, and knees are usually present. Other variations also exist with a white bib, spotted bellies, and some occasional white guard furs.
- Mitt: The mitt can be any coat color except white and has white feet with a contrasting leg color and a white bib.
- Mutt: The mutt can be any coat color with mismatched roaning, dots, spots, and patterns. Mutts have multiple colors and/or no distinct color pattern.
- Panda: The panda pattern looks a lot like it sounds. Much like a panda bear, a panda patterned ferret has a contrasting head and body color. Darker colors are found around the hips and shoulders and mitts are present on the feet and sometimes the tail. Occasionally panda ferrets also have small color rings around their eyes.
- Point: The point can be any coat color except white and will show a distinct difference in color concentration between the body color and the points. The mask will be a thin ‘V’ mask for black, black sable, sable, cinnamon and chocolate, not a full or ‘T’ bar mask. Champagnes can have a thin ‘V’ mask or no mask at all. The nose color will be lighter than the colors listed for each of the basic colors.
- Roan: The roan can be any coat color except all white. There should be 40% to 60% of white guard hairs present (body and points only) for the pattern to be considered a roan. The colored guard hairs should be evenly sprinkled throughout the body.
- Solid: The solid can be any coat color except all white. The percentage of colored guard hairs should be ideally 100% in relation to white guard hairs which should be realistically 0% in the body and points. This pattern gives an appearance of solid color concentration from the head to the tail. Masks are either full or ‘T’ bar.
- Standard: The standard can be any coat color except all white. The percentage of colored guard hairs should be ideally 100% in relation to white guard hairs but the color concentration is not as heavy as in the Solid pattern. The body will appear lighter in color concentration and the points will be easily discernible. Masks are either full or ‘T’ bar.
- Striped: The striped can be any coat color except all white. The pattern should have a minimum of 90% white guard hairs with either a sprinkling of colored guard hairs throughout the body, or colored spots and/or a colored stripe down the back.
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