How many types of ferrets are there?
Ferret colors and patterns can vary from one ferret to another. Regarding American Ferret Asociation there are 8 basic ferrets types and few patterns of ferret fur. Which one is the most common and which one is the rarest? Which one is more healthy than other or which one lives the longest? Those are the question every ferret owner or soon-to-be-owner wants to know the answer to. I know I had the same questions when I was looking for my Frida. Well, I will post here all ferret types and patterns hoping this little post will help you learn more about color and pattern possibilities and help you choose your ferret.
Let me just say, there aren’t any links between ferret’s behavior, personality, and color, but there are some ferrets that are more likely to be deaf or blind which can be linked to types of the ferret. Ferrets are one breed, meaning they share the same habbits, the same playfullness, the same high energy level when they are awake. Their personality on the other hand depends on each an every ferret. One ferret may be the most cuddly fuzzbutt you have ever met and the other one may not be interested in cuddling at all and yet, they are the same type of ferrets. Interesting thing about ferrets is that their fur changes colors during winter and summer season
So, what are basic types of ferrets?
Sable – Frida is a sable ferret. That is the most common of all ferret colors. It reminds mostly of racoon due to the dark brown mask around the eyes. The same color (dark brown) is on their legs and tail, occasionally on the upper part of the body, around the neck and shoulders. The rest of the body has the same color – light or cream brown but not yellow. They have dark eyes and nose is mostly pink with some brown coloring in the middle.
Black sable – a black sable ferret is a type of ferret that has similar color pattern like sable, but they are much darker brown color. The undercoat is mostly white or cearmy shade. Since they are black version of sable, they should be darker in color and in pattern. Their eyes are black or dark brown with brown nose or just blackish pattern. Even though it’s name is black sable, it isn’t black it is blackish brown, but with black shine of healthy fur
Black – well, when it comes to black colored ferret, there aren’t many things to say. Black ferres are ferret types that should have really black fur, not blackish brown or just dark brown. Just like the fur, it’s eyes should be really dark, black or almost black color and nose should be black or very dark brown, almost black. Nose can be speckeled black, but it musn’t be pink. Black ferrets can have some white or light brown patterns usually on the head, but in small amount. These are the darkest types of ferrets.
Albino – albino ferret is all white and with pink or red nose and eyes. Albinism is a term for every living being when it comes to abscence of pigment. Albino ferret has all white fur with pink nose and ruby red eyes, without any other colors. There is one thing about albino ferrets, but it isn’t anything big. They are more prone to hearing problems, meaning there is slighter bigger chance for albino ferret to be deaf. That isn’t a problem because ferrets can easily adapt to their condition, no matter if it’s inherited or developed due to high age. This is the lightest type of ferrets.
Dark-eyed white – dark-eyed white ferret has all white fur (this is dark-eyed white – shorten DEW) or white fur with some pattern on part of the body (this is dark-eyed white pattern – shorten DEW Pattern) Differrence between albino and dark-eyed ferret is in the eyes, as the name says. If it’s DEW than all fur must be white, nose must be pink and eyes must be burgundy. Just like albino, DEW ferrets can also be deaf or experiencing hearing problems. The most distinguish treat for these ferret types are their dark eyes.
Cinnamon – cinnamon is slightly different fur color because it has little red color in it. Cinnamon color ferrets have reddish fur with white undercoat and legs and tail darker than the rest of the body. Their eyes are red to ruby, but there can be black as well. Nose in cinnamon color ferret is beige or pink with beige pattern, or pink which is the rarest nose color. Yoda is one example of cinnamon type of ferrets.
Chocolate – chocolate type of ferret has warm chocolate brown fur with white undercoat. Eyes should be dark brown or black, but if they are burgundy it’s fine as well. Nose, on the other hand should be lighter color. It should be pink or beige with light brown pattern, not dark.
Champagne – Champagne color ferrets are very similar to chocolate, but diluted version. Fur should be lighter and undercoat should be white to cream, without yellow pygment. Since champagne ferrets are all diluted ferrets types, their eyes should be light to dark burgundy and nose should be pink or beige with light brown pattern.
These are basic ferrets colors but there are also patterns on their fur. There are many more types of ferrets which are the result of color and pattern mixture. Every ferret color can have almost every ferret pattern (except albino) and you can imagine how many combinations can exist.
What are some basic patterns? Let me show you:
Bib – bib is a type of ferrets which has a white fur on the chest, right under the neck. Sometimes it can spread little further, but usually it’s only under the neck.
Mitts – if you have, for example, a sable ferret with white fur on the feet which ends at the ankle, congratulations, you have a sable mitt. So, mitt ferret has white fur on their feet and it is really easy to recognize. Occasionally, mitts can have a bib in combination.
Blaze – blaze is, on the other hand, more complicated. Blaze is a white line in ferret fur which spreads from head to the back of the neck. It can also be in any ferret color except white. It can come in combination with mitts and white tip of the tail. This ferrets are also more prone to deafness than other colors and patterns.
Panda – panda is also easily recognized, even though it doesn’t look like real pandas. A panda ferret has white head and colored circles around the eyes (no mask). Color on shoulders and hips is darker then the rest of the body with mitts on feet and white tip of the tail.
Solid – I must admit, this one is the easiest to recognize because it is all in one color. Albino ferrets aren’t in this group, but every other fur color is in it. Solid means that your ferret’s fur is all in one color without any white fur, extremely easy recognizable type of ferret.
Roan – roan pattern means that these types of ferrets have more than half of the fur white scattered all over the body. So, their pattern roans on their fur 😀
Those unusual patterns like Blaze and Panda have one thing in common. Almost 75% of all Blaze and Panda ferrets are deaf or experiencing some hearing problems. This genetic defect is called Waardenburg syndrome and it’s present with Panda and Blaze ferrets types. This syndrome results in underdevelopment of the hearing mechanism of the inner ear. Reason for that is the white pattern on their head and face. Albino ferrets which can also be deaf or having hearing problem, are another story.
Is your ferret deaf?
If you have a DEW, Panda or Blaze type of ferret there is a chance that your ferret is (or will be) deaf. How to determine if your ferret is deaf? Well, since ferrets tend to ignore humans, you can’t call him by name, but you can stand behind him and shake your keys for example. If your ferret isn’t deaf, he’ll turn around and try to see what is making that noise. Also, observe your ferret with other ferrets and if you see all other ferrets start to run and hide, but that one white ferrets stays, minding his own bussines, that is a good sign that your ferret is deaf.
How to look after deaf ferret?
Since your ferret is deaf, he won’t be hearing you come so always come to your ferret in front of him so he can see you. If you pet him from hehind, he’ll get scared and probably bite. Carry him around, give him kisses and love him because he can’t hear your voice when you are speaking to him with baby voice (admit, we all do that). It may be a little harder for your deaf ferret learn to do his bussines in litter box or not to bite, but don’t give up. Use more your hands than your voice and he will figure it out. Remember, ferrets are smart animals, deaf or not. 🙂