The best thing that’s happened to me so far in 2020 is being given the opportunity to breed the incredibly beautiful black eyed white Roborovski.
We know next to nothing about this colour that only pops up from time to time in some UK pet shops and a couple of continental breeders.
Having bred a white mum to an agouti pied dad I got a white boy and a husky pied girl. This pairing gave me limited information as the agouti pied dad had white in his pedigree but it did give me a boy to breed. Mum, Ida, was getting on towards a year old and needed to be bred straight away.
It did show me that this is nothing to do with a homozygous dominant gene as only mum would have been able to give dominant husky or another kind of dominant dilution gene to her son. If it is a dominant dilution gene then it can produce white with just one copy of it.
Her son, Blizzard (pictured below) will certainly be busy! I’m also breeding his sister, Lady Marmalade, as getting white from her might go towards proving a recessive gene.
Both are being paired with agouti carrying no other genes except a slight chance of recessive husky. We already know that two recessive husky genes just makes more husky so this shouldn’t affect any results.
– In Chinese hamsters, black eyed white is achieved by pairing two dominant spot hamsters that carry the right modifier for white.
– In mice, black eyed whites are usually genetically marked mice, you just can’t see the pattern. However, in roborovski we already know that pied hamsters have markings on their ears. White robos have pink ears which would suggest that it’s not a case of a patterned animal with just one agouti hair somewhere. It is thought that headspot roborovski could be produced by this same method of selecting out animals with less and less colour, these hamsters seem to retain the markings on their ears
– Interestingly, black eyed white rats are produced in the same way as the above point and these do have flesh coloured ears so the jury is very much still out on this theory
-According to the AFRMA, some black eyed white mice are produced when you combine an extreme dilution gene to a red/fawn gene. In this case I would have to be able to find and separate the extreme dilution (called beige in mice) to show this.
Only by breeding sensibly will we see exactly what is going on with this new colour.
Exciting times afoot for the previously underestimated Roborovski!