I imagine that as soon as there was an organised rat fancy, there was confusion among fanciers about what colour minks were meant to be. There are such a huge range of shades they’re found in that it’s not surprising we see so much variation in the colour – especially as there are so few specifically colourbred for the show bench.

The standard for mink calls for a brown-grey rat with blue tones to it. In real life, minks vary from cool stormcloud grey, to a deep, rich, warm brown. Their colour either goes to the roots, as you’d expect, or has a white undercoat which some will swear is down to a half-expressed mink gene, and other people will insist is just part of the mink gene. And it doesn’t really matter, to a large degree,. what particular shade of mink they end up being – they’re going to end up with bizarre moult marks, rusting, and swirling of different shades of mink over their body for most of their life.

A further confusion to the mink story is that there’s two minks. As well as the classic UK mink gene, there’s a mink gene brought in from American imports that give a similar mink colour in many instances. Generally American mink rats have a warmer tone to their colour and don’t have the blue sheen.

Genetics: Non-agouti with the mink gene, or the American mink gene (aamm, or aaamam)

NFRS standard: To be an even mid-grey brown, devoid of dinginess, silvering or patches and having a distinct bluish sheen. Foot colour to match top. Eyes black.