There are a wide range of ferret colourations around the world. Some more common in some countries than others! On top of that, each country tends to have it's own name for each colour... it can get confusing!
Below are a list of the colours that are seen around Europe, and the names we use in the UK. All names here are what we use at Fairoak Ferretry, some ferretries may use slight variations on each one, so be mindful!
At Fairoak, our kits and adults tend to fall into the "Sandy" and "Chocolate" categories. We rarely have other colourations in our lines but they may occur as colour throwbacks.
The "Sandy" Family
In the UK and at most UK Ferret Shows, the blanket term "Sandy" is used for all these variations. They are all a light brown colour that can vary in tone and concentration. This colouration is the Fairoak favourite and we specialise in these variations!
CHAMPAGNE (Photo of Fairoak's Frenzy)
Tan/Beige legs and tail. Mask can be full or slight and light brown in colour. Light cream to white undercoat with light brown guard hairs. Nose is pink. Eye colour can be burgundy, ruby, brown or black.
CINNAMON (Photo of Fairoak's Oracle Of Ages)
Cinnamons will display a strong reddish cast to the guard hairs. A noticeable color difference exists between Cinnamons and Champagnes, they are much darker with a reddish/gingery undertone. Undercoat will be tan/golden brown. Nose is pink or a "brick" colour. Eyes can be burgundy, ruby, brown or black (Green and Blue can be noted in this colour with angora lines)
CHAMPAGNE POINT (Photo of DominoMoon's Shooting Star "Midna")
The same colour as Champagne but lighter, with no mask present and the colour focused on the points such as the legs and tail.
LILAC (Photo of Fairoak's Phantom Hourglass)
Guard hairs are a mix of champagne and silver. Very light overall with a lilac sheen in the light. The colour is often refered to as "Pastel" around Europe Nose can be pink or "brick" coloured.
The "Chocolate" Family
Chocolate is a colour that is mostly found in ferrets with Angora heritage. It is a colour that is still somewhat "new" to the UK, espacially the darker shades. In UK ferret shows, chocolates and chocolate sables tend to be placed into the "Sandy" show category, whilst the darker chocolate solid and self get placed in the "Coloured" show category.
CHOCOLATE SOLID (Photo of Amour de Furret's Calimero)
Fur is a deep, rich and dark chocolate colour that is solid from head to tail. No white visible on the face except for a very small area of white under the lip/chin. Nose is solid dark chocolate. Eyes can be black, blue or green.
CHOCOLATE SELF (Photo of Fairoak's Majora's Mask)
No largely distinguishable points across the face or body except for slight eyebrows. Fur is the same colour from head to tail. White around the muzzle and eyebrows. Nose is a dark chocolate colour and the mask must go down the bridge and reach the nose. Undercoat isn’t really visible under the dark guard hairs but it should be cream/apricot in colour. Eyes can be black, blue or green.
CHOCOLATE SABLE (Photo of Fairoak's Minty Zaki)
The same rich milk chocolatey colour but focused more on the points and across the face as a mask. The body is clearly lighter than the legs and tail but overall the colour is much darker than that of a Champagne or Cinnamon. Undercoat should be cream/apricot and the nose can be pink, brick, or outlined. Eyes can be black, blue or green.
CHOCOLATE (Photo Exquisite Ferret's Mr Wilson of Folly Bridge)
Fur is a rich dark brown chocolate colour. The colour is darkest on the legs, tail and mask with the guard hairs running dark all over the body. The undercoat can be white, cream or apricot. Eyes can be black, green or blue. Nose is chocolate in colour.
The "Sable/Polecat" Family
In the UK, the term "Polecat" is commonly used as the name of a sable coloured ferret, not as an actual Polecat! Polecats are solitary animals related to ferrets. Polecat/Ferret hybrids do exist, these are known as "EU's". Sable is simply a colour of our beloved ferrets and a much less confusing term to use! At Fairoak we do not tend to get these dark colours in our litters too often, but sometimes as a throwback!
Black SOLID (Photo of Silverfret's Extreme of Folly Bridge)
Fur is a dark, jet black colour that is solid from head to tail. No white visible on the face except for a very small area of white under the lip/chin. Nose is solid black. Undercoat is also dark almost grey. Eyes can be black, blue or green.
BLACK SELF (Photo of Fairoak's Bayonetta)
No largely distinguishable points across the face or body except for slight eyebrows. Fur is the same colour from head to tail. White around the muzzle and eyebrows. Nose is solid black in colour and the mask must go down the bridge and reach the nose. Undercoat isn’t really visible under the dark guard hairs but it should be cream/apricot in colour. Eyes can be black, blue or green.
DARK SABLE (Photo of Fairoak's Kabbage Boy)
Very dark brown/black legs, tail and mask. Light cream to white undercoat with dark brown to black guard hairs. Nose is dark. Noses that are solid black but the body retains similar, if not slightly darker features would be refered to as a Black Sable. Eye colour can vary from black, green or blue. Sable is the classic ferret colouration!
SABLE (Photo of Fairoak's Athena)
Just as the Dark Sable, but with lighter tones. The dark brown/black fur will be lighter on the points and across the body. Undercoat will be white or cream. Nose should be pink or marked or "T" shape outlined.
The "Silver" Family
Silver is a colour that can really come in all sorts of shades and patterns. Silvers are also well known for their drastic coat changes! A dark silver in time will very likely roan out to a light silver or even a Dark Eyed White. It can even go the other way, a light silver can also darken up each season across the legs and body! No doubt, they are beautiful no matter what shade.
BLACK ROAN MITT (Photo of Fairoak's Togepi)
Fur is predominently black on the legs, but flecked with white and grey across the body. Undercoat should be white/cream and the nose should be dark or black.
SILVERMITT/DARK SILVER (Photo of Fairoak's Yonah)
Mask can be present or just eye splotches. The colour will be dark black/grey with white/cream flecked through. The legs tend to be dark and mostly present with mitts or a bib. Nose will be pink or marked. Eye colour can be Ruby, Burgundy, brown, black, green or blue.
LIGHT SILVER (Photo of Fairoak's Grimoire Weiss)
Mask is not clear or in some cases not present at all. The overall body is white with grey guard hairs flecked though, similar to a Lilac but without the cinnamony colouration. There will be no clear solid colour on the points as they are likely to be roaned. Eyes can be ruby, burgundy, brown, black, green or blue. Nose will be pink or marked.
DARK EYED WHITE aka DEW or BEW (Photo of Fairoak's Filippa)
Coat is white or cream. There can be a tiny sprinkling of silver on the tail but shouldn’t be obvious. All white or cream is preferred. Most light silvers end up becoming this colour after a year or two. Eyes can be burgundy, black, green or blue. Nose is pink or sometimes speckled.
The "Colours" Family Pt. 1
The "Colours" are Patterns and markings that can be found in any of the basic colour families above. All ferrets with markings like these are considered special and in a UK ferret show would be placed in the "Coloured" class. The ferrets featured here are all bred by us at Fairoak and are all from the same litter; Austin and Midna's "Viva Pinata" kits!
BIBBED (Photo of Fairoak's Bunnycomb)
Fur can come in any of the base colours from champagne to black. The bib is a large white or cream chest area that looks like a child's bib. Can vary in size from a full round chest piece to a medium jagged marking. Usually the bib will be accompanied by mitts but this is not a rule.
PANDA (Photo of Fairoak's Mallowolf)
Fur can come in any of the base colours from champagne to black. Most commonly seen in the silver coloured ferret family. The body retains its colour while the head is totally white except maybe for a few coloured circle markings around the eyes like a panda. Panda markings are usually accompanied by mitts.
HARLEQUIN (Photo of Fairoak's Roario)
Fur can come in any of the base colours from champagne to black, but is most noticable in chocolate and black coloured fur. The harlequin pattern is an irregular pattern of "splotches" all across the tummy like a paint splatter. The spots will be either white or cream. Usually the harlequin pattern will be accompanied by mitts.
MITT (Photo of Fairoak's Roario)
Fur can come in any of the base colours from champagne to black. Most of the silver ferret family will have mitts as standard. Mitts can range from full white socks that cover all the feet and ankle/wrist, to just small toe tip markings like the ferret has dipped its toes in white paint. Mitts tend to come with a bib or marking on the chest but this is not the rule.
The "Colours" Family Pt. 2
There are many types of patterns and markings in ferrets. Over the years many have been selectively bred to bring out "Special" colours such as these above. Markings like this are commonly seen in the USA at ferret mills and ferret fur farms, however some can be found in European ferretries too and now the UK. At Fairoak we do not aim to breed for colours such as Blaze or Badger as these colours are often accociated with problems such as Waardenburgs Syndrome (Deafness and neural crest deformities). If you are purchasing a ferret with large white markings on the head/neck, please ensure your breeder has done hearing tests and has paperwork to hand.
PINTO PANDA (Photo via Google Search)
Pinto Panda is a mix of various patterns and colourations. Commonly seen in black, they can also come in silver and chocolate. The patterns are not usually symetrical, usually one mitt will be longer than the other, head markings are usually just dots under the eyes. The tail colourations also tend to be broken with patches of white. Pinto has similarities to the Harlequin pattern but is much more exaggerated all over the body. Eyes can be ruby, burgundy, green or blue.
MILK MOUTH (Photo of Angelcastle's Soraya)
Fur is usually black or chocolate. There isn’t a mask present but sometimes a very slight mask is allowed, usually just eyebrows. The muzzle is white all the way around with no colour coming down the bridge of the nose, thus giving the ferret the illusion that it’s face has just been dipped in milk! A small bib is usually present.The nose must be pink to accentuate the appearance of being dipped in milk. Eye colour can be burgundy, black, green or blue.
BLAZE (Photo of Angelcastle's Orion)
Can come in any base colour from champagne to black. There will be a long white blaze from the forehead, between the ears, down the back of the neck, usually to the shoulders. Mask will vary depending on the colour concentration. Minor colour rings around the eyes and small masks are also seen. Eyes can be ruby, burgundy, green or blue. This colouration can be derived from the animal having Waardenburgs Syndrome. If in doubt please ensure your Blaze ferret is BAER tested with papers before purchase.
BADGER (Photo of Angelcastle's Evy)
Fur can be any of the base colours, from champagne to black. A wide white or cream line will be running from the muzzle and between the eyes and ears down the back of the neck, just like the markings of a badger. This marking usually has mitts and a bib. Sometimes white knees and tail tip. Eyes can be ruby, burgundy, green or blue. This colouration can also be derived from the animal having Waardenburgs Syndrome. If in doubt please ensure your Badger ferret is BAER tested with papers before purchase.