Introduction to gerbil colours - Meet some of our gerbils

Please click thumbnails for larger images. Each gerbil is listed by name, colour, genotype, date of birth, gender, naming theme, and parents. In naming by theme, it's easier to remember ages and siblings. Of course, we do keep proper records as well.

Along the way, we'll introduce some of the many colours gerbils come in, along with the genes that make them (ignore the gene information if you prefer). It can all be confusing sometimes, especially as there can be several different names for a colour.

Solid Golden agouti:
A- C- E- Uw- P-
Spotted, pied or mottled Golden agouti:
A- C- E- Uw- P- Sp
Argente golden:
A- C- E- Uw- pp
Argente cream:
A- Cc(h) E- Uw- pp
Spotted, pied or mottled Argente golden:
A- C- E- Uw- pp Sp
Spotted, pied or mottled Argente cream:
A- Cc(h) E- Uw- pp Sp

Wild gerbils are golden agouti (or just agouti), a mixture of black and orange striped hairs with a white belly and a grey undercoat. The colour genes that make a golden agouti are all dominant.

Spotted, pied and mottled gerbils vary in the amount of white in the coat, but the genecode is always Sp. White markings also lighten the rest of the coat.

Give the golden agouti gerbil the genes for red eyes, pp, and not only do the eyes turn red, but the fur is also lightened. This is called argente golden (or just argente). Argente cream is even lighter than argente golden with the addition of one himalayan gene, c(h). The tips of the hairs are silver.

gerbil
Prairie Clan Sputnik
Golden Agouti
Aa C- Ee UwUw Pp
08/19/2009 - male
Farley
X
Prairie Clan Grace
gerbil
Prairie Clan Sunny
Golden Agouti
Aa Cc(-) Ee(f) P- Sp
01/16/2012 - male
Prairie Clan Champ
X
Prairie Clan Harley Quinn
gerbil
Prairie Clan Dazzle
Golden Agouti
Aa Uwuw(d) Pp Sp
03/05/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Bilby
X
Prize (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Cherokee
Argente Golden
A- CC Ee Uwuw(d) pp
11/14/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Hush
Argente Cream
Aa Cc(h) Ee Uwuw(d) pp
09/15/2011 - female
Prairie Clan Hot Toddy
X
Prairie Clan Salacia
gerbil
Prairie Clan Zircon
Argente Cream
Aa Cc(h) Ee Uwuw(d) pp Sp
11/07/2011 - male
Prairie Clan Hot Toddy
X
Prairie Clan Salacia

Solid black:
aa C- E- Uw- P-
Spotted, pied or mottled black:
aa C- E- Uw- P- Sp
Lilac:
aa CC E- Uw- pp
Spotted, pied or mottled Lilac:
aa CC E- Uw- pp Sp
Sapphire:
aa Cc(chm) E- Uw- pp
Dove:
aa Cc(h) E- Uw- pp

Take a golden agouti gerbil, change A- to aa, and you have black. A solid black will usually have just a little bit of white, typically on the chin or paws. It'll have even more white with the addition of white markings, Sp.

Give a black gerbil red eyes, pp, and you have a lilac. The gene that turns the eyes red washes out the colour of the hair, turning black to grey. Add spotting, Sp, and the hair will lighten even more, though not a predictable amount.

Lilac can also be lightened by a single chinchilla medium gene, c(chm), to create sapphire. Add spotting, Sp, and the shade may vary so much it can be hard to tell the difference between spotted lilac and spotted sapphire.

A single himalayan gene, c(ch), lightens more than c(chm), and will make a dove gerbil. A spotted dove will be lightened to almost white.

gerbil
Prairie Clan Absinthe
Black
aa Cc(chm) Ee Uwuw(d) P-
06/18/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Ace
X
Prairie Clan Amber
gerbil
Prairie Clan Ariel
Black
aa E- Uwuw(d) P- Sp
09/09/2010 - female
Prairie Clan Dazzle
X
Prize (Europe import)
gerbil pup
Prairie Clan Claire
Lilac
aa CC E- UwUw pp
12/27/2010 - female
Prairie Clan Mimas
X
Prairie Clan Morgan
gerbil
Prairie Clan Hint
Lilac
aa CC Ee Uwuw(d) pp Sp
09/15/11 - female
Prairie Clan Hot Toddy
X
Prairie Clan Salacia
gerbil
Prairie Clan Lulu
Sapphire
aa Cc(chm) Uwuw pp
03/03/2014 - female
SCG Zen
X
Prairie Clan Organa
gerbil
Prairie Clan Malcolm
Dove
aa Cc(h) pp Sp
07/21/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Dylan
X
Munchkin (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Selena
Dove
aa Cc(h) E- UwUw pp
12/27/2010 - female
Prairie Clan Mimas
X
Prairie Clan Morgan

Burmese:
aa c(chm)c(chm) E- Uw- P-
Siamese:
aa c(chm)c(h) E- Uw- P-
Dark-tailed white (Himalayan):
aa c(h)c(h) E- Uw- P-
Pink-eyed white:
-- c(-)c(-) E- Uw pp
Colourpoint agouti:
A- c(chm)c(chm) E- Uw- P-
Light colourpoint agouti:
A- c(chm)c(h) E- Uw- P-

The chinchilla medium, c(chm), and himalayan, c(h) genes are controlled by temperature. The warmth of the gerbil's body will cause the body hair to be light, while the cooler parts of the body, the "points" (nose, ears, feet and tail) will darken with age. Pups are more uniform in colour. Only in the adult coat is the full effect revealed.

A Colourpoint gerbil has a double dose of the chinchilla medium gene, c(chm)c(chm), and will influence all other colours. An especially attractive variety is the colourpoint black, called Burmese. A Light Colourpoint gerbil has a both a chinchilla medium and a himalayan gene, c(chm)c(h), again affecting all colours. Perhaps even more attractive than Burmese is the light colourpoint black, the Siamese.

A double dose of the himalayan gene, c(h)c(h), has such a drastic effect only the tail will retain any colour. It even strips the colour from black eyes, giving the appearance of red eyes. This even though the gerbil has genetically black eyes. The gerbil will start life looking like a pink-eyed white gerbil, and it can take several months for the colour in the tail to appear.

Pink-eyed white covers a variety of different genotypes. Any combination of chinchilla medium c(chm) and/or himalayan c(h) genes, along with red eyes, pp, leaves a uniformly white gerbil. Note that there is no such thing as an albino gerbil. An all white gerbil with pink eyes is a pink-eyed white, not an albino.

gerbil
Prairie Clan Surfer
Burmese
aa c(chm)c(chm)
07/26/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Marvel
X
Veronica Lodge
gerbil
Prairie Clan Tequila
Burmese
aa c(chm)c(chm) Sp
06/12/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Marvel
X
Veronica Lodge
gerbil
Prairie Clan Phoenix
Siamese
aa c(chm)c(h) Uwuw(d) Pp
09/10/2011 - male
Prairie Clan Malcolm
X
Prairie Clan Elena
gerbil
Prairie Clan Aslan
Siamese
aa c(chm)c(h) Sp
10/13/2012 - male
Prairie Clan Phoenix
X
Veronica Lodge
gerbil
Prairie Clan Chilli
DTW
aa c(h)c(h)
04/04/2014 - male
Chance
X
Prairie Clan Venus
gerbil
Prairie Clan Fredrick
PEW
a- c(chm/h)c(h) pp
07/19/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Solar
X
Prairie Clan Safari
gerbil
Prairie Clan Andrew
CP Agouti
Aa E- c(chm)c(chm) Uw- P-
07/29/13 - male
Prairie Clan Ace
X
CWC's Altaglow
gerbil
Prairie Clan X-Press
LCP Agouti
Aa E- c(chm)c(h) Uwuwd P-
09/14/11 - male
Prairie Clan Marvel
X
Prairie Clan Lolo
gerbil
Prairie Clan Flopsy
CP nutmeg
aa c(chm)c(chm) ee
02/06/2013 - female
Prairie Clan Ouzo
X
Prairie Clan Absinthe
gerbil
Prairie Clan Brandy
CP slate
aa c(chm)c(chm) uw(d)uw(d) Sp
06/12/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Marvel
X
Veronica Lodge

Dark-eyed honey:
A- C- ee Uw- P-
Red-eyed honey (yellow fox):
A- CC ee Uw- pp
Nutmeg:
aa CC ee Uw- P-
Red Fox (saffron, argente nutmeg):
aa C- E- Uw- pp

Take a golden agouti gerbil, change E- to ee, and you have a dark-eyed honey gerbil. The lighter shades are "extended" beyond their usual places, replacing some of the black in the coat, extending the white further up the side of the gerbil, and lightening the area around the eyes. The really fun part of these gerbils is the dramatic colour change as they grow up. They start out orange, and when they molt into their adult coat, some darker hair appears.

Give a dark-eyed honey gerbil red eyes, pp, and you have a red-eyed honey. This will dilute what little black remains on an adult DEH, leaving a brilliant shiny orange.

Give ee to a black gerbil, however, and you get nutmeg. Like a black gerbil, nutmeg is the same colour all over. No white belly. The pups start bright orange all over, and molt into a mix of black and orange all over. The change is very dramatic, moving across the gerbil in a specific order.

If a nutmeg has red eyes, pp, the sprinkling of black disappears and you get a gerbil that is orange all over: red fox (also called saffron, or an older term, argente nutmeg).

gerbil
Prairie Clan Amber
DEH
A- ee Uwuw(d) Pp
10/09/2010 - female
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Puck
REH
A- CC ee pp
3/10/2011 - male
Prairie Clan Apollo
X
Prairie Clan Racy
gerbil
Prairie Clan Cupid
REH
A- ee pp Sp
3/10/2011 - male
Prairie Clan Apollo
X
Prairie Clan Racy
gerbil
Prairie Clan Fairy
Nutmeg
aa Cc(chm) ee
11/18/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Ouzo
X
Prairie Clan Absinthe
gerbil
Prairie Clan Fire
Nutmeg
aa Cc(chm) ee
11/18/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Ouzo
X
Prairie Clan Absinthe
gerbil
Prairie Clan Tamarind
Red Fox
aa CC ee pp
09/06/2008 - female
Prairie Clan Mimas
X
Prairie Clan Trix

fading colours

Updated February 3, 2015

Schimmel:
-- C- e(f)e(f) Uw- P-
Spotted schimmel (champagne):
-- C- e(f)e(f) Uw- P- Sp
Lightened DEH:
A- Cc(chm) ee(f) Uw- P-
or A- Cc(h) ee(f) Uw- P-
Spotted, pied or mottled DEH (honey cream):
A- CC ee(f) Uw- P- Sp
or A- Cc(chm) ee(f) Uw- P- Sp
or A- Cc(h) ee(f) Uw- P- Sp
Spotted, pied or mottled nutmeg (honey cream):
aa CC ee(f) Uw- P- Sp
or aa Cc(chm) ee(f) Uw- P- Sp
or aa Cc(h) ee(f) Uw- P- Sp

Also on the extension locus is the fading gene, e(f). In double dose, e(f)e(f), the gerbil will be Schimmel. Again, the babies start out orange, but the stronger effect of the fading gene causes almost all the colour to eventually disappear, except for on the tail and a bit on the nose. On A- schimmels, the tail is pale orange. On aa, it's a darker orange.

A spotted Schimmel (sometimes called Champagne), is unusual in that the pups start out nearly white and fade even more with age.

Spotting, Sp, may have additional effects on gerbils with ee, ee(f), ee c(chm) or ee c(h). Instead of the usual pattern, the white may extend even further up the sides, to varying degrees, giving a "racing stripes" effect. This is sometimes called Honey cream because the pattern is different from the usual spotted, pied and mottled appearance.

When chinchilla medium, c(chm) or himalayan, c(h), are added to ee or ee(f), the colour may be termed "lightened". Combined extension genes, ee(f), tend to fade over time, but not as much as e(f)e(f).

gerbil
Prairie Clan Shimmer
Schimmel
A- e(f)e(f) P-
10/27/2010 - female
Spook
X
Prairie Clan Pinta
gerbil
CEIL Spook
Schimmel
AA e(f)e(f) PP
02/15/2009 - male
 
 
 
gerbil
Prairie Clan Palinka
Champagne
Aa e(f)e(f) Sp
06/18/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Mab
X
Prairie Clan Sizzle
gerbil
Prairie Clan C. Robin
Honey Cream
Aa ee(f) P- Sp
08/23/2012 - male
Prairie Clan Mab
X
Prairie Clan Sizzle
gerbil
Prairie Clan Calais
LDEH
A- CC ee(f)
07/18/2010 - female
Spook
X
Prairie Clan Strelka
gerbil
Prairie Clan Sugar
Light nutmeg
aa Cc(-) ee(f) Sp
12/02/2012 - female
Prairie Clan Gothar
X
Prairie Clan Palinka

Grey agouti:
A- C- E- uw(d)uw(d) P-
Slate:
aa C- E- uw(d)uw(d) P-
Ivory cream (white-bellied cream):
A- C- E- uw(d)uw(d) pp
Polar fox (dark-eyed honey cream):
A- C- ee uw(d)uw(d) P-
Silver nutmeg (blue fox):
aa C- ee uw(d)uw(d) P-
Apricot:
A- C- ee uw(d)uw(d) pp
Cream (satin):
-- C- E- uwuw P-
White (funky white, dark-eyed white):
-- C- ee uwuw --
Azure slate:
aa C- E- uw(d)uw P-

The gene originally named Gray, G is suffering an identity crisis. A new colour has appeared that turns out is located in the same place as gray. In order to have a name for the new allelle the gene has been renamed to match a similar gene in mice. The old gray - g is now underwhite dense - uw(d), and the new allelle is underwhite - uw.

uw(d) takes out most of the yellow in the coat, transforming the golden agouti to grey agouti, a gerbil with a pale cream undercoat ticked with dark tips.

In a black gerbil, adding uw(d)uw(d), has a lesser effect as there is very little yellow left to be removed. The coat is lightened slightly to slate, also slightly lightening the black eyes (shine a light and you'll see a shimmer of red), and lightening the toenails.

If a grey agouti has red eyes, most of the black is again removed, leaving a very pale orange gerbil, ivory cream.

If a grey agouti also has extension, ee the result is polar fox, which is a delicate orange as pups. Grey tips will appear on the hairs when the adult coat comes in. If a slate has extension, ee, you get silver nutmeg. Silver nutmeg goes through a dramatic molting process much like nutmeg.

A polar fox with red eyes, pp, won't have the gray tips. It is called apricot, and remains a very pale shade of orange throughout life.

uw in double dose has a very drastic effect on colour, lightening black eyes to dark red and the coat to a very pale cream (lighter than ivory cream). ee uwuw turns the coat entirely white. All pink eyed uwuw gerbils will be white. With most gene combinations turning the gerbil either cream or white this can be very challenging to work with. A single uw will slightly lighten the gerbil. In a slate gerbil with one uw(d) changed to uw, a beautiful colour called azure slate is produced.

gerbil
Prairie Clan Lolo
Grey Agouti
Aa Cc(h) Ee uw(d)uw(d) PP
05/19/2011 - female
Spirit (Europe import)
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Waboba
Slate
aa Cc(chm) Ee uw(d)uw(d)
07/28/2012 - male
Prairie Clan Ace
X
Prairie Clan Amber
gerbil
Prairie Clan Splotch
Slate
aa uw(d)uw(d) P- Sp
02/05/2011 - male
Prairie Clan MiniMunch
X
Munchkin (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Rodeo
Ivory Cream
A- Ee uw(d)uw(d) pp
11/14/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Timber
Polar Fox
A- ee uw(d)uw(d) P-
11/14/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
Prairie Clan Gothar
Silver nutmeg
aa CC ee uw(d)uw(d)
03/14/2012 - male
Prairie Clan Tristan
X
Prairie Clan Mina
gerbil
Prairie Clan Sea Filly
Silver nutmeg
aa C- ee uw(d)uw(d) Pp
02/16/2013 - female
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Prairie Clan Lolo
gerbil
Prairie Clan Hot Toddy
Apricot
A- ee uw(d)uw(d) pp
11/14/2010 - male
Prairie Clan Rem
X
Chelsey (Europe import)
gerbil
SGC Zen (import)
Cream
aa C- E- uwuw P- Sp
08/16/2013 - male
RT Nate
X
SGC Kate
gerbil
Prairie Clan Amelia
Azure slate
aa E- uw(d)uw P-
06/22/2014 - female
SGC Zen
X
Prairie Clan Wendy

Blue:
aa C- dd E- Uw P-
Dilute agouti:
A- C- dd E- Uw- P-
Dilute nutmeg:
aa C- dd ee Uw- P-
Smoke:
aa C- dd E- uw(d)uw(d) P-

Dilute, D, is a relatively new gene that controls the depth of the black pigment in the coat. The yellow or golden portions of the coat are affected very little.

In a black gerbil, adding dd, dilutes the black to blue. Blue comes in many shades, with some a solid dark blue, but a lighter blue with ticked tips is also possible. Indeed blue gerbils often change shades over time. In addition to the effect on coat, the eyes will be slightly lightened, revealing a red shine in bright light.

Since dilution affects mainly the black pigment, its effect varies depending on how much black is in a given colour. In some colours it makes very little difference. It is quite significant in the darkest colours, the biggest change being in black gerbils (blue) but also has a strong effect on nutmeg (dilute nutmeg), agouti (dilute agouti) and slate (smoke).

gerbil
Prairie Clan Organa
Blue
aa Cc(chm) dd E- Uw- P-
8/25/2013 - female
CWC's JB30
X
CWC's Honeywood
gerbil
Prairie Clan Elvis
Blue
aa dd Ee Uw- P- Sp
11/9/2013 - male
Prairie Clan Fisher
X
Prairie Clan Bay
gerbil
CWC's JB30
Blue (ticked)
aa CC dd Ee Uw- P-
1/14/2013 - male
Zazzy
X
Blue
gerbil
Prairie Clan Saturn
Dilute agouti
Aa CC dd E- Uw- P-
11/23/2013 - male
CWC's JB30
X
CWC's Evron
gerbil
Prairie Clan Casper
Dilute nutmeg
aa CC dd ee Uw- P-
11/9/2013 - male
Prairie Clan Fisher
X
Prairie Clan Bay
gerbil
Prairie Clan Zeddy
Smoke
aa CC dd uw(d)uw(d) P-
07/30/2014 - male
WBC Zags
X
Sheila

 

All possible gerbil colours are not included in this brief introduction. See also: