The Burmese was named for its resemblance to Burmese cats, in a move that proved premature once we discovered that sable rats are actually much more like Burmese cats, and our Burmese rats are actually closer to Tonkinese cats.

Burmese rats are a warm toffee coloured rat, with bold and contrasting deep seal brown points. To breed a Burmese rat that looks like that, you need to cross them with very, very pale Siamese, or ideally Siamese-bred Himalayans, which are unfortunately not very easy to find.

It’s quite common to see Burmese that are rather dark and with a very cold overall tone, and they are also prone to silvering. These faults are mainly caused by using darker, shaded Siamese when breeding – the Burmese is a pointed variety rather than a shaded variety, so shouldn’t be crossed out to shaded rats. I also think that since the black eyed gene tends to give a colder tone to Siamese and Himalayan rats, having that in the lines also probably makes it harder to breed Burmese of the correct warm colour.

Crossing Burmese into true Himalayans or albinos can sometimes give a paler body colour, but this comes at the expense of the points, which end up being paler or lacking the strong contrast needed.

Genetics: Non-agouti, plus one copy of the Burmese gene, plus two copies of the Himalayan gene (aa Bebube chch)

NFRS Standard: To be an even, rich mid-brown, devoid of dinginess, silvering, or patches, with darker points of the same shade. There is to be a strong contrast between the points and body colour. Eyes black.