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Old 07-11-2017, 01:53 PM   #1
Almi
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Default Our Hybrid Babies

Somehow I've ended up raising dwarf hamsters. It's always something I've wanted to do, but I always encountered problems. I live in an area that doesn't really have any professional breeders close by. I've always been limited to choosing pet store stock or from someone who happened to have a litter of babies. (Or spending hundreds of dollars getting them shipped and I don't know what I'm getting for sure...no thanks.) It was hard to find hamsters who were friendly and also had good health and good type.

This time everything just fell into my lap, and all I had to do was say yes. Still, I am limited to pet stores and anyone breeding pet store hamsters...but every now and then you get a few individuals that are a cut above the rest, even among the pet store hamsters.

We are breeding hybrids, but we're breeding them as though they're a normal thing of nature - we look at their traits individually without grouping them into the "Campbell's" or "winter white" category. I think I mused before that I think dwarf hamsters could just be polymorphic, but still of the same species. Research showed no definitive answers as to their actual genetics - they just haven't been studied enough. (Or they have, and someone is hoarding this information, lol.)

The only thing that was obvious when I researched was that two different groups of people collected hamsters from two different parts of the same country. It really reminds me of how us polymorphic humans differ greatly depending on where we live - but we can still all interbreed and have the same number of chromosomes.

It also reminds me of the error of human perspective. To me, I just see slight variations in genetic traits, not two separate species. (Don't worry, 10 years ago I would have insisted they were separate species.) I really think the humans who collected these groups years ago just thought they had two different species because they looked slightly different - the main thing being that one group developed a different coat type than the other (the winter white coat). If you actually read descriptions of each "species," it honestly sounds like they are describing the same animal, but describing small differences that could occur in either group.

From what I can tell, either there aren't two different species, or else breeders have been hybridizing them since the beginning (probably without knowing it). Just my two cents. I'd love to discuss more about that with anyone who is willing. One thing is for sure: if hybrids are sterile, then I don't have hybrids.

Surprisingly, things are going well. You always expect hamsters derived from pet store/pet mill hamsters to have all sorts of problems. These guys aren't picture perfect, but they are breeding readily with little to no problems, and we have had a few really nice individuals pop up in litters. We were able to isolate good traits, and it really seems like it's only going up from here. I'd really like to keep improving them, and learning about what's going on genetically. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on that, too. Research uncovers basically nothing.

So here is our recent litter. The grandparents of this litter are the four we began with, so this is exciting for us. The parents were selected especially for type, but we also paid attention to demeanor. The result was a litter of 6 who are all super laid back, and they look like they're going to have much better type than what we started with! That is exciting. I am hopeful.





There are six in this litter, 4 boys and 2 girls. There is one agouti, and the rest seem to be different variations of the same color. The least orange one (with the heaviest brown ticking) might be a different color gene than the other four orangies. The main difference between these four is their undercoat. The more brown ticking there is, the more gray undercoat there is.

The lightest orange guy (we named him Swirly) has a totally white undercoat; it maybe gets to be light, light gray the closer you get to his head and stripe. It's really hard to say what's going on there because I literally can't find anything for reference. I've been documenting these traits, especially because this coloration tends to moult into different shades. It makes me wonder if these differences I can see when they're babies will disappear once they are adults.


Here's daddy Squidgy. And yes, Squidgy is round and squidgy. :3







Here's mama Ivy. She has such a nice coat and a pretty face. Just can't seem to get a good shot of her. Lol



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Old 07-11-2017, 01:55 PM   #2
Almi
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

Ivy and some babies enjoying fresh grass, herbs, and flowers. The little guy on the brick is Swirly.











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Old 07-12-2017, 11:12 AM   #3
Almi
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

So apparently Photobucket just changed and now I have to pay them to post my pictures here. Lol. Sorry guys.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

You can just upload pictures from your computer etc direct. They may need resizing before uploading them though or they stretch the threads.

Winter whites and Campbell's are separate species. Pet shop sell mainly cross breed hamsters (especially the big chains). Unless you get a pedigree certificate then the hamster should be classed as a hybrid.

Last edited by CMB; 07-12-2017 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:41 AM   #5
Almi
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMB View Post

Winter whites and Campbell's are separate species.
Prove it?
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:00 AM   #6
Vectis Hamstery
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

Here's information about the scientific names of both species and their wild ranges (useful maps) -
Campbell's: Phodopus campbelli (Campbell's Hamster)
Winter whites: Phodopus sungorus (Dzhungarian Hamster)

The NHC explored the issue of Campbell's and Winter Whites some years ago when the issue of hybrids first came up, including information from the people who first crossed the species. The NHC does not support breeding of hybrids and hamsters suspected of being hybrids are disqualified from shows held under NHC rules. I appreciate this may not matter to you, but as a member of an NHC-affiliated club it matters to me. Campbell's and Winter Whites do look very different to each other, and have different behaviours also.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:26 AM   #7
AprilPearl
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

As Vectis says, WW and Campbells are different species and should not be bred. Further,ore, breeding from hybrids can lead to a myriad of health problems (including diabetes). I don't mean this unkindly, but if you would like to breed I'd suggest that you first do lots of research and then find a pair of WWs OR a pair of Campbells to breed from. You will have to go to breeders girl this - pet shops only stock hybrids.

This thread will help you attach photos without Photobucket:
How To Embed Photos
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Our Hybrid Babies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Almi View Post
Prove it?
Looks like others beat me to proving it.
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hamsters, species, pet, litter, traits, type, good, thing, breeding, white, squidgy, hybrids, coat, store, problems, babies, gray, research, polymorphic, undercoat, ticking, lol, brown, separate, differences

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