The poor Himalayan is one of those varieties that lives on a tightrope. Even the slightest deviation from standard is punished with a cry from the judge of “that’s not a Himalayan!”, and a move to the Siamese class (or a disqualification, if the judge or show sec is not in the mood for class moves). And of course, if you’re lucky enough to get the class move rather than the disqualification, you will inevitably come last in the Siamese class.
The Himalayan rat should be a sparkling white rat, with deep seal points on the extremities. As with all white rats, the main battle keeping them in show condition is keeping them clean – but one point in their favour is that they should have dark tails, which at least makes them a little bit easier than pink eyed whites.
Genetics: Not as easy as you might hope. There are two types of Himalayan seen, and both have their own problems with maintaining the correct colour.
The first is the “true” Himalayan – this is made with one copy of the Himalayan gene and one copy of the albino gene (cch). These rats have the sparkling white body colour and pinky-red eyes, but their points tend to be too pale – a mid brown rather than the deep sepia that’s desired.
The second is the Siamese-bred Himalayan, which is probably the most commonly bred for show. This has two copies of the Himalayan gene (chch), and is selectively bred for a white body colour. Points on these Himalayans are the deep sepia that you want to see, their eyes are red to ruby, but they often have an off-white body colour.
Both varieties of Himalayan can end up with shading on their back, but this is much more common in the Siamese-bred variety. It’s this fault which gives rise to the DQ/class move scenario that so fustrates a Himalayan exhibitor.
Both types of Himalayan can also be bred with black eyes. This is done by adding at least one copy of the dominant black eye gene (so Be-chch or Be-ch). The addition of the black eyed gene tends to give the rat a slightly warmer, creamier colour to the points and body.
NFRS Standard: Body colour to be white, free from stains and even throughout, with points a rich dark sepia. Eyes red or black. Note – Colour areas: 1. face – not to extend upwards from eyes. 2. ears – not to extend downwards from the base. 3. forelegs – not to extend upwards beyond the elbows. 4. hind legs – not to extend upwards beyond the ankle. 5. tail – not to extend beyond the tail root. 6. feet – to be solid colour throughout, devoid of any white.