Prairie Clan Gerbils beginnings

updated August 8, 2016

Regina locationWe are a mother and adult daughter team of pet lovers living in Saskatchewan, a province in the western half of Canada. We live in the city of Regina, the provincial capital.

We have had quite a variety of critters over the years. It's like a small zoo. At the moment, between us, we have 6 dogs, 3 cockatiels, 1 checkered garter snake, and 2 rabbits. But gerbils vastly outnumber the others!

Mom (Johanne) acquired a love for gerbils first, with a pair of golden agouti gerbils while growing up in the 1970's. Daughter (Shayna) inherited mom's love of animals. In 1996, it was time for Shayna to have her own. We have had gerbils pretty much continuously since 1996. No gerbils in the house constitutes an emergency requiring prompt attention!

Sandy, gerbil pilot, with Shayna
Sandy, gerbil pilot, with Shayna

Shayna's first gerbil was an argente golden named Sandy. Sandy loved to crawl all over our dog (can't do that with just ANY dog). She'd go along with anything we wanted to do. Here she is piloting a cardboard plane, with Shayna's help.

For her partner, we searched far and wide for another rare colour. The best we could do was a black male we named Blacky. They were our first breeding pair, their offspring rapidly filling our house with make-shift gerbil cages! But what fun it was!

The pups were all either golden agouti or black. Sometimes the only way to tell them apart was by temperament, but Shayna always knew who was who. They were a healthy, hardy bunch, living 4 - 6 years on average. But eventually they all passed away. Then it was time for more.

Gerbils from long ago, Scribbles and Doodles

So we bought a pair of male gerbils, Scribbles and Doodles, both black with white markings. The white patterns were exciting and oh so pretty. And it was much easier to tell the gerbils apart. But two was not enough. We had to buy four more on the pretext Shayna needed them for her high school science fair project. We kept the boys and girls separate though, so they didn't multiply.

Enter our current bunch. We thought we'd breed a few gerbils again. At the time we thought 4 cages would cover our breeding project's needs (they didn't for long!). This time we were going to breed more colour varieties (painfully rare though they were around here). It was an exciting challenge, not to mention fun!

Young Sass in August 2007 We began with a trip to Saskatoon in 2007 to pick up a pair of black girls, known carriers of recessive e and p genes. We selected Crystal Water Clan Sass, the one with the best temperament, to be our foundation dam. It was a tough choice, as both had great temperaments. We could hardly wait to take advantage of those recessive genes to create all the cool colours we'd dreamed about.

Young Jorden in September 2007 For her partner, we found a mottled lilac. He had the most wonderful, calm temperament imaginable. Perfect. Sass and Jorden proved to be ideal parents, the beginning of our current line.

Farley, pied argente cream Soon enough we needed to add to the breeding population to avoid excessive inbreeding. We found Farley, a lovely pied argente cream with the great temperament we look for. It wasn't long before we faced the same inbreeding challenge. Our efforts to find gerbils with colour genes we didn't have yet were proving unfruitful. Besides, we had no way to know if any new purchases were already closely related to our current group.

That's when we met Laurence Perron, a breeder/importer in Quebec who was preparing to import some gerbils and other animals from Europe for fresh blood for her own breeding program. This was our chance to get new colour genes in gerbils virtually guaranteed not to be related ours.

3 of the gerbils from Europe As it turned out, the importing project proved more challenging than expected. Air freight costs had recently sky-rocketed, among other changes. Not to be discouraged, Laurence flew personally to Europe, touring ten countries tracking down exactly what she and those of us counting on her wanted. It ended up being a few months before our gerbils finally arrived, but that could not be helped. Fortunately, Laurence was absolutely wonderful to work with: helpful and resourceful, and always pleasant and professional. Not to mention her meticulous attention to detail no matter how many people and animals she had to juggle. What could have been a nightmare was a delight.

So here we are, combining the European gerbils (plus one schimmel gerbil from Laurence's breeding) with our lines. They are producing beautiful gerbils in a variety of popular colours including siamese, burmese, dark-eyed honey, honey cream, grey agouti, schimmel, light colourpoint agouti, slate, red-eyed honey (yellow fox), champagne, argente golden, dove, silver nutmeg, CP nutmeg, blue, underwhite cream, and many more. In addition to solid colours, we have spotted, pied and mottled and mottled steel varieties.

We are beginning to realize we have a bad habit of letting too many nice pups to leave us for new homes. That means we don't have as large a selection as we'd like to be sure we're choosing the best possible parents for future litters. We are trying to maintain our resolve to keep more pups! (Yes, that's what we really need, more gerbils.)

Email us any time at if you have any questions or would like to chat about gerbils.