|Question & Answer
What's My "Rare" Hamster Worth?
By Linda Price
would you happen to know what a Copper Teddy Bear would sell for? And we have other rare colors and were just wondering. Could you possibly send a price list of what certain colors are worth in Syrians? And what we should sell them for. For instance... Blue roan, Smoke Pearl, Mink, etc.
I will give you my philosophy. I view a new or less common color as an opportunity – not to make money but to offer people variety and get them excited about the species. If you have been to my site, you will see that I have documented two new genes in the Campbells. There was only one breeder in Moscow with one of those genes. I do not believe it was anywhere else in the world or that she was going to continue breeding it. I brought it back to the US (at my expense) and have since made it available to everyone. I actually gave a number of them away free to other breeders so that they could play around with the gene. I never charged more for them than the going rate for a common normal Campbells. I saw it as a way to get more fanciers interested in dwarves. I take a fancier’s or hobbyist’s viewpoint. (You can see pictures of these animals at www.geocities.com/AAAHamsters.)
I have approached the second gene I am documenting (the mock chinchilla or silver gray) in the same manner. I have never charged any more than I do for any other color even though no one else has these animals. On top of that, I have combined colors that no one else in the world has. Again, I do not charge by the number of genes that hamster has or by its supposed “rarity.” I make sure people receive a quality hamster who is friendly, healthy, and will suit their needs. I also make sure I know what it is genetically and do not make up cute names to promote them.
So you ask about a few colors in particular. First, some of those are very common here. I have them and/or see them all the time in pet stores. If they aren’t as common in your area, you can easily promote them and make them more popular. I would say that the appropriate price is the exact same price that you charge for your other syrians. Why would you charge more? I assume they are equally healthy and friendly as your others. These will make no better and no worse breeders or pets, so you should charge the same.
I would also think that, as a responsible breeder, you would want to check the genetic make-up of your hamsters to make sure you are providing the appropriate information to your buyers. As best I know, there is no such thing as a “blue” roan. (There is, however, a blue mink roan although I have not heard anyone just call it a "blue" roan.) Yes I know some breeders who use the term "blue" roan. From what they have told me, it is actually a sable roan. A sable roan does have a blue coloration (I’ve bred dozens of them myself) so they use “blue" roan since it is more appealing and makes them sound more exotic. Fine, but please let your buyers know that they are purchasing a sable roan genetically and that you use the nickname “blue" roan since you like it.
I would certainly make sure you do the same with your other colors. I have some hamsters that I could easily sell to unsuspecting buyers as “copper” hamsters even though they are not genetically copper. Some breeders are even labeling hamsters “copper” even though they are definitely not copper. They don’t even have the right eye color so they clearly are something else entirely. I find that unethical. I always make sure I know and tell them what they are getting – or tell them the research I have done so far on that color if things are not finalized. So please do that before using these terms and promoting your hamsters as “rare.” Hamsters are only “rare” in certain regions. Everything you talk about is easily found in different regions.
So instead of trying to find out how much you can make off your more unusual colors (at least in your area), I would suggest you look at what opportunities you have to get others excited about hamsters. I have found time and time again that breeders who focus on money make the wrong decisions for the hamsters. So in my opinion you should re-consider the whole assumption behind your question.