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Syrian Hamster PortalSyrian Genes

Please feel free to contact me with questions regarding colors and genetics. An - is a wildcard. It's not known whether the dominant gene or the recessive gene is at that location. A ? means the gene has not been given an official letter designation yet. Genes are listed alphabetically and in order of dominance. You can see some of the colors by clicking on the color name. It's all pictures and will take time to load.
Snowy Desert Gerbils is putting together an online gene calculator. I'll post a link when it's up and running. Pedagogica Explorer is an excellent, free genetics teaching program.
Genetics Tutor Program Genetics Tutor Program
Click the coin to see how nature decides who gets which gene.

Because of the number of genes for a Syrian it is common practice to list only those genes that affect the color of the animal. A Syrian that has no mutations is listed as ++.

Banded Dom Spot Cinnamon - This is a lethal combination. During the development of the fetus, the part of the cells that produce color (melanin) also affect the development of the intestines. The hamster pup I have pictured died soon afterwards.

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Agouti Colors are based on the wild (agouti) coloring of the hamster. The belly color runs from ivory to off-white. The hair shaft has two to three colors on it. There are cheek flashes and crescents on the head.

Agouti Genetics
Golden (Wild) ++
Rust bb
Dark Gray dgdg
Light Gray1 Lglg
Cinnamon2;3 pp
Silver Gray Sg-
Yellow4 ToTo or ToY
Beige bb dgdg
Black Eyed Blonde bb Lglg
Black Eyed Honey4 bb ToTo or bb ToY
Lilac dgdg pp
Smoke Pearl4 dgdg ToTo or dgdg ToY
Blonde Lglg pp or pp Sg-
Light Pearl4 Lglg ToTo or Lglg ToY
Honey4 pp ToTo or pp ToY
Silver Pearl4 Sg- ToTo or Sg- ToY
Lilac Pearl4 dgdg pp ToTo or dgdg pp ToY

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Self Colored are the same color on the belly as the back. The hair shaft is one solid color. There are usually white faults of white paws and a white chin that sometimes extends to a zipper as far as the genitals.

Self Colored with Black Genetics
Black5 aa
Chocolate Black aa bb
Dingy Black aa Lglg or aa Sg-
Dove aa pp
Yellow Black4 aa ToTo or aa ToY
Champagne aa bb pp
Silver Dove aa pp Sg-
Honey Black4 aa pp ToTo or aa pp ToY

Self Colored with Black Eyed Cream Genetics
Black Eyed Cream5 ee
Pale Eared Cream bb ee
Black Eyed Ivory ee dgdg or ee Lglg or ee Sgsg
Red Eyed Cream ee pp
Black Eyed White ee SgSg or ee Whwh or ee Dsds
Sable ee U-
Chocolate Sable bb ee U-
Gray Sable dgdg ee U- or ee Lglg U- or ee Sg- U-
Red Eyed Ivory ee Lglg pp or ee Sg- pp or ee dgdg pp
Mink ee pp U-
Copper bb ee pp U-
Blue Mink dgdg ee pp U-

Other Self Colored Genetics
Umbrous3 U-

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Partial Albinism is responsible for siamese cats. The development of color is heat dependent so the five points have the darkest color: ears, nose, paws, tail and genitals. At this time there is no true albino. The FEW is often called the false albino.

Albinism3 Genetics
Dark Eared White6 cdcd P-
Pale Eared White6 (False Albino) cdcd pp
Extreme Dilute Heterozygous cdce
Extreme Dilute cece

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Colors should be the same as for non-pattern colors. The genetics are the same except for the pattern genes.

White Patterns Genetics
Banded3 Ba-
Dominant Spot1 Dsds
Banded Dom Spot2 Ba- Dsds
Recessive Dapple rdrd
Roan7 ee Whwh
White Belly7; 8 E- Whwh
Anophthalmic White7 WhWh
Piebald11 ss

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Tortoiseshell is a gene linked to the X chromosome or X-Linked. As such a female XX can have non-yellow toto, Yellow ToTo or Tortoiseshell Toto. Tortoiseshell is a pattern of Yellow and non-Yellow colors. Where the non-Yellow is the base color is seen (like Golden or Black). Where the Yellow is the Yellow combination color is seen (like Yellow or Yellow Black). Tortoiseshell combined with either Dominant spot and/or Banded creates a Tri-color hamster. There is work being done to produce Tri-colors with the recessive dapple pattern. Mosaic is a variable sized patch of darker colored fur. It's random and not able to be reliably reproduced.

Other Patterns Genetics
Tortoiseshell4 Toto
Mosaic ??

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

Coat types can be combined with any color. Satin darkens the color. Long Hair lightens the color.

Coat Types Genetics
Short Hair3 L-
Hairless9 hrhr
Long Hair3 ll
Rex rxrx
Satin3; 10 Sa-

Agouti | Self Colored | Albinism | White Patterns | Other Patterns | Coat Types

  1. Homozygous form is lethal - fetus dies in utero and is absorbed by the mother without harm.
  2. Banded Dom Spot Cinnamon has a problem with the lack of pigment in the intestine area during fetal development. This usually causes an early death.
  3. There are three pairs of linked genes in Syrians. There can be recombination but at different ratios. The pairs are: Banded & Hair Length with a 9:1 ratio; Dark Eared White & Cinnamon 2:1; Umbrous & Satin 16:1. They are explained in detail on the Linked Genes page.
  4. Yellow is linked to the female sex gene or X-Linked. This is explained in detail on the Linked Genes page.
  5. Black Eyed Cream masks Black.
  6. Dark Eared White masks all colors.
  7. Homozygous form is an eyeless white.
  8. White Belly is masked by all of the other White Pattern genes including the carried Recessive Dapple and by Dark Eared White gene.
  9. Hairless mothers are unable to lactate enough to successfully raise litters.
  10. Homozygous Satin has thin brittle hair.
  11. Piebald is believed extinct.
This page was last edited on October 14, 2011
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