Marking

Hooded downunder

The name of the downunder rat varieties neatly allude to both the origins of the marking (being the first new variety of rat to appear in Australia, the land “down under”), and the marking itself – a stripe on the underside of the rat. This very distinctive and striking variety first appeared in 1998 in an Australian rattery, and was soon exported to the US and Europe.

The hooded downunder is still a fairly uncommon variety in the UK. It is difficult to produce a marked rat of show standard, and even harder with a downunder marked rat as there are twice as many markings to perfect. Although there were originally health issues in the downunder lines (the marking originated in a strikingly unhealthy hairless line, and issues such as small or missing eyes persisted in the lines after export from Australia), these have long since been bred out, and a downunder rat is no different from any other type of marked rat health-wise.

Genetics: hh (hooded) plus dominant downunder modifier. There is no agreed symbol for the downunder modifier, however this is dominant and not on the H locus.

NFRS standard: The hood: The hood should be unbroken and clean cut covering the head, throat, chest and shoulders except in the case of light coloured rats where a pale throat is normal. The hood shall be continuous with the saddle, extending down the spine to the tail with as much of the tail coloured as possible. The saddle: The saddle width shall be 2 – 3.5 cm in the adult (proportionately smaller in the kitten) , as even as possible and unbroken. Under: The belly stripe should be 2 -3.5 cm wide and unbroken (proportionately smaller in the kitten). Side areas should be devoid of spotting. Colour: Colour to conform to a recognised colour variety. The white areas shall be devoid of a yellowish tinge or staining.