Temperament and health?

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Temperament and health?

Post by Simba on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:09 am

Are there, or do there seem to be, differences in temperament or health between varieties?

Just thought of something Zoundz said about how she would have chosen "something much simpler and more suitable for novice owners." I'd imagine that particular temperaments or diseases could become more likely in rats of certain colours purely by accident, and then there's the research Belyaev etc did where breeding solely for temperament tends to produce different markings in rats and foxes.

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by katherine on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:33 am

I couldn't tell you I'm afraid, but I'd be very interested to find out. I know certain lines are definitely better for temperament and if they're from different breeders chances are they'll be different varieties (unless it's a very popular variety) so it's quite possible that the lines will be separated enough to make a difference between varieties.

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Zoundz on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:18 am

Certain varieties have problems linked to them (pretty much exclusively health problems - so far temperament problems seem to be correctable by good breeding and selection). For example, in all species, the blue gene (British blue to us, rather than Russian) is very weak. It seems to go hand in hand with a poor immune system and a tendency to sickness, also occasional clotting trouble has been seen. Same goes for Red Eye Dilute (mainly Topaz), especially when marked, such as capped/hooded etc. Generally British blue based rats (like my Russian Silvers) tend to have shorter lives and be less healthy. We are doing everything we can to improve it little by little, which is why we still struggle on with it!

Also, adding a lot of recessive genes into a line can cause more problems health wise as the rat is not as robust.

xx

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Simba on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:29 am

So what varieties would you recommend for novices? Is that why you have the agouti and black? Or is my brain making random connections again? Laugh

Speaking of which, that little black rat is just adorableness personified.

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Zoundz on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:41 am

I am trying to create a separate line of straight Agouti and Black for more novice owners, but it's a work in progress. I think perhaps I've always worded it wrongly, I don't mean that novices should never have silvers, rather that silvers are more heartbreaking, and rats from our line so far don't usually do the best. We do get a few in every litter that make it to two, and are healthy throughout, but it's to be expected that they won't - and it can be very tough on new owners. We never make a secret of it though.

xx

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Simba on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:57 am

The wording is clear, or at least what you've said there was what I got from it previously.

It's very much to be admired that you don't make it secret. Not everyone would, even most people with very good hearts and intentions- ""The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." as Feynman said.

Gah, everything I post today sounds vaguely insulting or belligerent, and it's not the intent. Sorry!

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Re: Temperament and Health

Post by lmc on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:13 am

That is quite interesting, that British Blues tend to have shorter lives. Luna was a British Blue and that might have something to do with her being quite young when she died. Just because I was wondering...
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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by SaraBloo on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:16 am

Gosh, this never really occurred to me.
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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Zoundz on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:32 am

Yes Lucy, her variety could well be why she passed away young Sad it could be that her immune system was just not up to standard - that she picked up a minor infection that took hold of her. This is sadly all too common.

Don't worry Simba, I don't think you're being insulting at all! Smile

I always said, from before we started breeding, people need to know about the rats they're taking on, I make no secret at all of the fact that silvers are not healthy, and we are doing what we can to improve the variety over time - of course, it can take many years of hard graft, and we may not ever get there, but I'll keep trying until I've lost all my fight.

In the mean time, thank you to the owners out there, who allow us to keep doing this, because otherwise I would have to cull, and I couldn't do that, so I wouldn't breed.

xx

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by SaraBloo on Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:03 am

What kind of difference in lifespan is there between silvers and other kinds? Just out of interest. The silvers always catch my eye, I'd really love one some time in the future.
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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Zoundz on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:08 pm

There can be no difference. I have had silvers make it to well over 2. Having said that, they can really break hearts by dying at 10 months old. I would say average is about 20 months - but really, they're a bit like a ticking time bomb. Having said that, any rat can die young... it's just that if silvers pick up some illness, it's harder for them to get over it Sad

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by SaraBloo on Tue May 01, 2012 1:45 am

I think for one of those beauties I'd take the chance!
And like you said, if you didn't have people willing to take them on you'd have to cull.
And nobody wants that. <3
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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Simba on Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:27 am

http://www.ratbehavior.org/CoatColor.htm
This was what I was thinking of, knew I'd read something somewhere.
https://moodle.hampshire.edu/pluginfile.php/25650/mod_resource/content/0/Coat_Color_and_domestication_in_rats_and_deermice.pdf

Of course that just roughly says that coat colour and tameness are linked in that you tend to get one if you select for the other, for particular colours. Not that this will necessarily affect already-established strains of agouti rats or anything.

Having said that some people have found no link between spotting in the coat, and tameness: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2691762/


This is old news probably to everyone here, I just had another outburst of reading about rats.

Does anyone breed purely for longevity and temperament, ignoring colour? Because it would be interesting (if they did it strictly enough) to see what colours they would end up with most frequently.

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Zoundz on Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:35 pm

I think there are people who do - but I couldn't be sure who, and certainly not sure of what varieties they get. I still don';t think variety has anything at all to do with temperament - If you only select for best temperaments in rats, chances are they'll come out in whatever variety you breed Smile

xx

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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Simba on Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:21 am

I know, that's why I said "Not that this will necessarily affect already-established strains of agouti rats or anything." Sorry, my first post was a bit ambiguous in that respect, but I'm definitely not trying to say that all varieties except for x have inferior temperaments or anything. If you select for colour and temperament, you'd expect to see both, but it would be interesting to see what colours you'd get if you selected purely for temperament.

You'd probably get something related strongly to what's most common and what's most dominant, again that would be interesting to see. But it would be cool to see if there were any unexpected results.

The handy thing is it's not like, say, speed- there's no single, objective, quantifiable test for it, and you can't really pick out one objectively 'best' temperament, so it's easier to get when you breed for varieties.


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Re: Temperament and health?

Post by Jem on Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:00 pm

Recessive genes can lurk in lines for literally years then pop out when you least expect them (hi, champagnes lol). There are very few pure agouti/blacks because they can be difficult to home when there are "prettier" varieties around.

We select for varieties (to keep them from carrying everything under the sun) but not really for show standard colour, which is why it's taken 6 years to get our SFs and chams to a standard where they win BIS sometimes. Health and temperament are priorities, but we also select for good type when it won't compromise health or temp.

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