Distinguishing the particular color of your ferret can be quite confusing if your ferret’s color doesn’t belong to their two natural color categories, “sable” or “albino”. Ferrets have a huge range of color and pattern to their coats, each with their own uniqueness.
Ferret Colors and Patterns
To differentiate color from pattern:
“Color” is the actual color tone of their coats (guard hairs and undercoat), eyes and the nose.
“Pattern” on the other hand means the distinctive color distribution and markings around the ferret’s body.
Ferret colors originally consist of only four known colors which are albino, white, black and silver. Other variety of colors and patterns available are products of mutations by selective breeding. Ferrets are naturally born with white furs or what they call ” guard hairs” and as maturity approaches, its either they retain their white color or start to darken that results to either one of their two natural ferret colors, ” albino” or “sable”.
Ferrets that are categorized as “albinos” have no pigmentation. They result in an all pure white coat or yellowish white coat with reddish to pink eyes and noses.
Ferrets that are in the “sable” category are the most common ferret coat color. It resembles a dark brown to black coat with an undercoat of cream that may show a lot through their dark guard hairs. A sable ferret has distinctively brown to black eyes with dark mask surrounding the eye area. Their noses can be pink, pink with brown patches or black.
More Ferret Colors:
Black Sables on the other hand, have very dark guard hairs. Their guard hairs are almost black with cream undercoat that barely shows. Their eyes are either dark brown or black, the usual color of their noses are ash or blackish brown and some occasional black or brown patches.
Another variation to the sable is Chocolate. Because of the distinct milk chocolaty-ish brown shade to their guard hairs did they get the name Chocolate. They too have undercoats with a different shade to it, usually white to light golden. Their eyes are usually brown to dark burgundy with noses that are pinkish, brown or a patchy combination of the two.
Another popular ferret color is Champagne. Unlike Chocolates, Champagnes have tan or diluted chocolate tone to their furs with undercoats of white or cream. Their eyes are usually light to dark burgundy. Their noses are pink, beige or combination which is preferred by many.
Cinnamons are a quite rare breed of ferret color. Their guard hairs are of brown color with a very distinctive red tone to it. It can vary from reddish brown to almost a blonde tone too. Cinnamons have tails and legs that are a bit darker than their body color with masks that could be a shade or two lighter. Cinnamons’ eyes are usually dark burgundy with noses that are either brick colored, beige, light brown or pink.
Dark-Eyed White or DEW, these breed of ferret color are commonly mistaken for albinos.
However, DEW’s unlike albinos do not lack color pigmentation and their guard hairs and undercoat are mostly white or cream colored. Their eyes are usually burgundy, noses that are brown or black, black with pink or speckled.
One of the most common colors in ferrets is Silver. It also has quite a variety of color tones. Silvers may appear to be almost grey as well. Silvers usually lose their silver markings and eventually evolve into a Dark-eyed White.
Most Silvers will have distinctive silver patterns along their bodies while others will only have silver rings around their tails. They usually lack full masks around their eyes, only shades of dark brown to black. Their noses are usually pink, black or erratic.
Ferret colors can really be very fascinating especially with the wide range of colors you could actually come up with selective breeding. However, most ferrets have the tendency of changing their colors throughout their lifetime. Choosing a particular ferret color has no guaranty that it will stay that way.