Ferrets come in many different colors today, but only four are recognized as primary colors: polecat, albino, cinnamon or Siamese ferret, and harlequin. Deviations from these colors often have health problems.
Through years of breeding and taming, the wild polecat became the tame ferret. Originally, only albinos were referred to as ferrets, possibly because they were most distinct from the polecat. For a long time, albinos were recognized as the only breeding form. However, as a result of repeated crossings with the ancestor Iltis, another color type soon developed: the Iltis ferret. Selective breeding brought out the colors cinnamon and harlequin. In addition to albino and polecat ferrets, these two coat colors are also among the primary colors today. However, ferrets now come in many other patterns and colors. Angora, panda, white, almost black, and spotted little goblins create a colorful ferret world.
The albino ferret’s coat is white or light yellow. The eyes are red and the nose is pink. The reason for this unusual coloring is a pigment disorder. Albinos do not have any pigments that could give them any color.
This color is the most common. Polecat ferrets have a dark brown or black topcoat and a white or yellowish undercoat. The eyes are usually dark brown to black, and the nose can be pink or black. The most striking thing is the facial mask of these animals. She reminds me of a raccoon. The ears are also usually brightly colored in this color variety.
Cinnamon or Siamese Ferrets
These animals have a light brown topcoat and yellowish undercoat. The nose is pink, while the eyes are dark. This coloration also has a facial mask, but this is much fainter than that of the polecat ferret.
What is striking about the harlequin are the white chest and white paws. The topcoat is usually dark brown or black, but there are also lighter variants. Sometimes these ferrets also have light spots on their fur. The undercoat is yellowish or white, the eyes are dark, and the nose is pink.
In addition to the four basic colors, other colors have developed in recent years. However, these new strains should be treated with caution. Many of them are inbred and have inherited diseases, resulting in a shorter lifespan. The coloring of the panda is very light and often the animals have a white blaze or white spots on the face. Many ferrets of this coloring are prone to deafness. White ferrets look very similar to albinos but have black eyes. Ferrets with a black topcoat and dark undercoat are described as “almost black”. White spots or a mask on the face are not desirable with this color. In spotted ferrets, the fur is white with black spots. Long-haired, or angora, ferrets have long, silky coats that require a lot of grooming. Rearing is particularly difficult since many females of this breed produce little or no nutritious mother’s milk.