Hooded Rats are a distinct breed of marked rats that are immensely popular due to their unique markings. They are easily recognised by the distinctive colouring which is white on the body with any solid colour pudding the head and shoulders with the same colour running all the way down the spine.
This pattern is the result of the distribution of pigment cells being impeded in embryonic rats. These cells originate in the spinal column thus the head, neck throat and shoulders and spine remain pigmented boss the areas further away from the spinal column left white. The feet of us always white never coloured or speckled with colour
The markings follow the spine up until the tail of the rat, without any breaks or dullness. The markings need to be even and sharp. The markings do not merge into the normal coat, but remain distinct. The marking on the spine needs to be sharp and thin. The pigmented area should not cover too much of the back, forming just a single thin line all along the spine. Spots, breakages and other deformities are not allowed for the line, according to the breed description
The tail of the hooded rat is also a continuation for a certain distance, beyond which it is just the normal colour it was meant to be. If you are looking for a good quality competition hooded rat and are thinking to breed them, then the markings on the back need to be extremely sharp and the colour of the markings may extend up on the tail as well. On the spine, the markings should not be wider than a 3/4cm and the line needs to be as straight as possible.
If you are looking at breeding hooded rats, remember that you are not going to take to rats with markings that we is an undesirable pattern and breed them to obtain offspring is markings meet the breed standard. When seeking out a breeding pair you need to look for specimens that are as healthy as possible but also which demonstrate markings exactly as described above.
You are unlikely to source such a rat from a pet shop more likely you will need to contact other rat breeding enthusiasts and obtain stock from them. This also gives you the advantage of being able to see the rats that contributed to the genetic makeup of your new rats.
Hooded rat owners described as fun loving inquisitive and gentle rats that make great pets so if you’re looking to breed them all simply for a companion consider the hooded rat. Whilst they are somewhat rare in Australia there are some niche breeding programs in existence the best place to start would be the Australian rat Forum here http://australianratforum.com/forum/forum.php