The European Husky
Little is known about the early history of the Husky. Some claim they originated in Russia, others say Eastern Europe.

They were first seen in the UK approximately 3-4 years ago, and have been turning up in pet shops from time to time. They are shown at NFRS shows under the name "Roan" and "Striped Roan".

In Europe they are very popular, particularly in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and France. At the 2000 Knagerfestijn [Rodent Festival] in Holland, 18 Huskies were on show. Two litter brothers of the winning Best Husky at this show were brought to the UK for breeding, and bred to Huskies we already had, gave all Husky litters, indicating that the Husky we have in the UK is genetically identical to the Husky found in continental Europe.

Most Huskies are black-based, though it is possible to breed other colours. The main problem with developing other shades is that lighter colours bleach out ofter time, leaving a white rat.

All Huskies have a white pattern.
Banded, also known as Striped, resembles a Hooded with an extra-wide saddle. When the rat is viewed from the side, this band is so wide that the rat appears half white and half coloured.
BERKSHIRE PATTERN is usually similar to Berkshire, with a very large part of the stomach white.

There is also always some kind of facial marking, which may be as small as a star, or as much as an inverted V-shaped blaze.

The babies are born black, (on black-based ones), which fades to a deep "navy" blue, and get their silvering at the first change of coat, completing by 6-7 weeks. It's quite an amazing transformation and happens almost overnight. One minute you have plain black and white rats, the next you have dark blue rats that look like they're wearing a coat of frost or a blanket of rain.

They continue lightening throughout their lives, and vary a lot in the speed of it Some can be very light, heavily-silvered as kittens, and others are dark and barely-silvered as adults. Most adults end up an uneven grizzled dark blue brindle on the top of the head and back only. Many that start life with a full V-shaped blaze end up with the entire face white.

Tail markings are an interesting feature of this variety. Babies in the nest have pied tails, but by 14 weeks the pigment has gone, leaving an unmarked pink tail.

Young Husky
This baby Banded Husky is aged about 1 month, and has yet to get his silvering, though his black colouring has already faded to a dark blue.

Kee Noo Two, bred by Marion Benham

Adult Husky
This is the same rat, aged 16 months!

The silvering has spread over his entire body and etched away the coloured markings on the side and face.

Kee Noo Two, bred by Marion Benham

Adult Husky
Another view of the same rat, showing the brindled grey. The dorsal line is often darker than the sides, resembling the coat pattern of a lemming.

Kee Noo Two, bred by Marion Benham

Young Husky, changing coat
A Husky in the intermediate stage, changing out of his baby coat. The silvering can be seen spreading up the sides and rump.

This Husky will probably be too light as an adult.

Furgle, bred by Marion Benham

Adult Husky
This shows the colouring. The dark blue colour goes right down to the skin, with no ticking.

The silvering is composed of a blend of dark and white hairs, sometimes with extra-long silver hairs protruding beyond the main coat.

Kee Noo Two, bred by Marion Benham

Siamese Husky
This young rat was an unusual rich golden colour with red eyes at about 1 month old.

It later developed into a Siamese Husky, and by the time it was fully grown turned almost completely white with pink eyes.

Bred by Marion Benham

Berkshire Husky
A heavily silvered young Berkshire patterned Husky, which has already lost almost all of its colour. the sides of the rat are pale silver, not pure white.

Note that the brownish tint of the darker areas is due to a trick of the photo, and is not representative of the rat's colour.

Pinto, bred by Marion Benham

The genetics of the Husky are still being explored, but it appears - to date - to be incompletely recessive to alleles on the H locus. It has been observed (but not yet explored) that many F1 Husky crosses are silvered. This may merely mean that the Husky can hide a certain degree of regular silvering under its own unique roan-type silvering.

Test matings

Banded Husky x Self Mink produced a litter of mainly black and Himalayan rats (the mink was carrying albino, and the Husky carried Siamese). These rats all had white feet and a white patch on the navel, earning them the nickname Tummy Irish.

Tummy Irish x Tummy Irish resulted in: 2 Self, 1 Tummy Irish, 1 Hooded with an unusually wide saddle, 1 Berkshire Husky, 1 Banded Husky.

Banded Husky x Hooded
Mismark hooded and Hood/Band i.e. halfway between hooded and banded. Irregular hood, wide band which flares out on rump (gives impression rat has a big white rectangle on each side).

Banded Husky x Hood/Band
Hood/Band & Banded Husky

Banded Huskyx Berkshire Husky
Banded Husky & Berkshire Husky

Banded Husky x Banded Husky
100% Banded Husky

Under Construction - more information to be added later!

copyright Sue Brown/Marion Benham 2001