If you’ve seen pet rats before, you’ve most likely seen some of the different pet rat breeds. There are many different pet rat types, such as the coveted dumbo variety. Pet rats are called fancy rats, and there are many different appearances and pet rat types to choose from when you’re deciding on which to own. It would help if you considered the different types of needs and behaviors of these pet rats before selecting one.
Even if you’ve seen or are familiar with some types of pet rats, chances are you haven’t seen or heard of all of the pet rat breeds out there. So, we’ve compiled this information in one spot on pet rat breeds and pet rat types, including dumbo pet rats, which are generally more popular and talked about.
Pet rat breeds
Contrary to popular belief, not all types and appearances of rat are different pet rat breeds. In fact, many appearance qualities can be intermingled in a single rat, and the pet rat types are more commonly referred to as varieties of a rat. Pet rats are all from the same subspecies, so whether it’s pet rats, dumbo breed, or a specific coloration trait, or so on, these rats can be bred together regardless. Since pet rats are subspecies under the wild rat species, technical terms don’t actually consider different varieties to be individual pet rat breeds but instead different traits that are bred for.
The different pet rat types that most people consider to be pet rat breeds were discovered and bred over time as breeders of pet rats noticed some babies had different types of fur, ear positions, color patterns, etc. When breeders found these desirable traits, they bred those animals together or to normal-looking rats to have a higher likelihood of getting that pet rat breed that they wanted. Since pet rat types are not technically considered breeds, even in dumbo pet rats, we’ll be referring to them as pet rat types or varieties.
Ear positions and Dumbo pet rats
Dumbo, or Fancy Dumbo rats, are a type of rat that is very commonly sought after and bought, their change in pet rat types being the ear position. Most normal rats and breeds have what rat breeders call normal or top-eared positions. This means their ears are on the top of their head and usually stick upwards unless the rat is stressed or otherwise upset and may flatten them against their head.
Pet rats dumbo refer to the dumbo rats which have ears on the sides of their head that tend to stick out in an endearing and goofy way. Dumbo rats often have more rounded ears, and their head shape looks different because their ears aren’t positioned in the normal way. Both of these pet rat types, top-eared and Dumbo, are traits that can come with or be bred alongside other colorations, fur types, and more.
To start with the actual pet rat types, often called pet rat breeds, you should understand the normal or standard type of rat. Most breeders refer to them when they call a rat a fancy rat or pet rat. Standard rats have the top-eared trait and usually have smooth and glossy fur that can stick out slightly when a rat is ill or otherwise bothered.
Their coat also depends on the diet they have. These pet rats types have long and straight or slightly curved whiskers, and males and females have some differences in how their coat feels.
Rex rats are a pet rat variety that has some specific traits to them in their fur, whiskers, and eyelashes. Rexes fur is considered crinkly or curly and feels very soft, their whiskers are often coiled or curled, and they can have too curly eyelashes or even fewer eyelashes than they should have which can cause eye health issues.
These pet rats types are genetic and can be differing in severity depending on how much of the rex genes they have. Rex is a coat type, which means it can be bred alongside other pet rats types for combination traits.
Hairless or sphinx rats are pet rat types with some concerns about health and well-being. This variety refers to a rat with no fur on its coat and short curly whiskers. The only hair that sphinx rats have is usually around their whiskers, and their skin can be one color or multiple colors, depending on what type of color and pattern they are.
Hairless rats are one of the pet rat types with some suspicion involving their lifespan and health, similar to how pet rats dumbo are thought to live longer but don’t prove to be. Their lack of coat worries owners and experts to some degree because they may struggle to regulate their temperature and stay clean to prevent infections and a lack of eyelashes, making them more prone to eye health issues.
Albino rats are the pet rats types that refer to those with little to no pigment, resulting in red or pink eyes and a white coat. Albino rats can have different genes such as rex, hairless, different ear positions, and so on. They can also have colored or marking genetics, but the albino gene essentially overwrites these genes and results in the lack of pigment you see.
Albino rats often have poor eyesight and easily damaged eyes, which means they tend to resort to smelling and hearing for their main senses. Since this type of pet rat breed doesn’t have the best eyesight, albinos can be jumpy or skittish if they’re not handled early in life.
There are some names for the different colorations that you can find on different pet rat types and varieties. The rats that are all one color are referred to as self rats. Marked rats refer to any type of rat with white marking or colorations in their fur, which can have many different types depending on the placement and amount of the white in their fur.
Some marked rat types are capped-only on the head, Irish-a white triangle on their chest, Berkshire-white tummy along with whitetail ends and white feet or legs, and so on. Black-eyed whites are a type of marked rat with almost all white fur or all-white fur but still have black eyes, and they are prone to many health issues due to the lack of pigment in their skin and coat. Markings and self rats can all come alongside many other traits and in different colors.
Besides the pet rat types that include specific markings, ear positions, and more such as the pet rats dumbo above, standard, marked, and more, there are specific names for the colors you can find on rats. Like the markings, colors in rats are across all different varieties and pet rat breeds. Some colors that rats can have include black, beige, blue, or Russian blue, which is a grey that appears silver or blue in color, mink which refers to some grey tones, cinnamon which is a rich brown color, agouti which is brown with black eyes but the brown is made up of many different color ticks along with the hairs, and much more.
This information is helpful for you to classify your already owned pet rats if you’re not sure where they fall in pet rat breeds or pet rat types. It can also be helpful for those thinking about a pet rat to figure out more about what they would most like to have if they decide to get a pet rat, rather than just seeing prevalent pet rat breeds such as pet rats dumbo and getting one without thinking about the other options.
While not all of these pet rat types are as common as some like the pet rats dumbo are, they are interesting to learn about, and if you find one you particularly like, you can try to find pet rats with that type. There are more than just these as well.