|Match Making: Silver Shine|
|by Linda Price|
The goal of breeding is always to improve on the parents. Each animal should be carefully analyzed to determine its strengths and weaknesses. Breeding should take place when a good match can be made which improves on the strengths of the parents without accentuating their weaknesses.
In May, I received a number of hamsters from Sweden. They were brought in to improve type and other characteristics as well as to add genetic diversity to our local animals. Among them was a Silver Gray short-haired female named Angshojdens B’ Silver Shine. She’s a heterozygous Silver Gray, and my goal is to breed homozygous Silver Grays. For that, I will need a male. From her, I could only produce another heterozygous Silver Gray male, but I would then be able to breed him back to his mother or to a sister to get a homozygous Silver Gray. The BHA standards which we use were written for a homozygous Silver Gray.
Heterozygous Silver Gray Angshojdens B' Silver Shine
Let’s assess her before discussing the males I considered for this breeding. She’s a fairly stocky and well-boned hamster of medium size (160 grams at four months of age). She has very nice temperament. I had never personally seen a heterozygous Silver Gray, but I’m told her color and markings are good. Overall she is a very nice hamster.
|Analysis of Possible Mates for Silver Shine|
|My intention was to mate her to a golden male which I also received from Sweden. He has few other genes in his pedigree and is closer to a pure golden than I can find in this country. I wanted to create as pure of a Silver Gray line as I could. He also has better color and agouti markings than we see in this country. His biggest disadvantage is his size. He’s 130 grams at four months of age. He is also rather lean and not nearly as stocky as she is.
Upon closer examination of the Silver Gray’s pedigree, though, she has a lot of genes in her ancestors. Her mother was a Cinnamon Tortoiseshell while her father was a long-haired Silver Gray. Both have other genes in their backgrounds, too. With the gene mix in her pedigree, I decided to consider other males. A pure Silver Gray would not be possible for many generations regardless.
|The other male that I considered was a Yellow Black named Dusty. He’s long haired (and she carries long hair), fairly large (190 grams at 6 months), and has a relatively large build. His coat is rather uneven, but he comes from a line with an even coat (and I don’t know anything about the coat of Silver Shine’s father). He has nice eyes and very good temperament. He is not a proper Yellow Black, though, since he carries Cream. His father is Mr. Nibbles who was a Cream Best in Show winner a number of times here in Southern California. With a mating to Dusty, I would be guaranteeing that all females were tortoiseshells and that all males and females carried black. About half would also carry cream. Although Cream is not optimal in this mix, I knew that Silver Shine had a 67% chance of carrying cream herself since she had an Off-white littermate. The only new gene I would introduce would be the Yellow gene, and it’s dominant and fairly easy to identify.
Since she already had a number of genes in her pedigree, I decided to use Dusty for this first mating due to his superior size. I hoped he would also better maintain her stocky build.
|Silver Shine's Pups|
|Two Silver Gray pups who were kept. The top one is a Het Silver Gray Tort like her mom. The bottom one appears to be a Silver Gray Pearl Black pup.|
|Progression of unknown Silver Gray pup|