These are the lines of rats that I work with here at Topi Rats. A line is a strain of rats that is developed and maintained through selective breeding. I work with a few lines but I do not consider a line "mine" unless it has been established here for a few generations. To me, an established line is one started or set up long enough ago and sufficiently successful to suggest likely continuation or permanence. In other words, if I am working with a group of rats with very little known history on them I would not consider them a line until they have been inbred for a few generations and more about them is known and documented. Breeding two random rats together and then calling them and their group of offspring a line is not correct, and that is not what I am referring to when I talk about the lines here.
Marked/Dalmatian Line - This is one of my original lines that I got from Rivenwood Rattery back in late 2001 when Brenda passed away. Because she became ill so suddenly and her memory was affected early on in the progression of her Alzheimer's any records pertaining to my original rats was lost when her daughter moved her to Florida. Even before that she couldn't remember where her records were though so I guess in the end it didn't really matter as they have proven to be healthy and very well tempered animals. It all started with a vari-berk and a sideways blazed variegated dumbo. Since then I have had black eyed white babies, *patched, dalmatians, wedge blazes, bareback, collared, variegated, vari-berks, and Irish all produced from this line. Because the markings are safe and have been tested as such against a true self (H/H) out cross and through heavy inbreeding I have not experienced any megacolon within this line. In this line there is rex, velveteen, and dumbo ears. As of 2010 this line also includes dwarf. (* patched is not a recognized marking in a lot of clubs and is most often referred to as mismarked black eyed white but in some cases it is the best way to phenotypically describe the rat's markings.)
***I also received a dominantly spotted line from her that was modified by (S). This line obviously suffered some losses to MC before I realized what was going on with the modifiers and ended the line. I'm not ashamed to say that as a new breeder back then I didn't know exactly what I was doing with the marked rats I had been given, and without Brenda there to tell me how she had been breeding them I made a lot of mistakes. It turned out that Brenda had been breeding them to self and hooded rats only (I found this out from her daughter about 4 years later during a conversation about her favorite rat when she was growing up, Brownie, a US mink self. She of course called him brown, but since I worked with the line for a short time and had produced US mink I knew what she meant.) and since she had only been breeding these blazed cap stripe odd-eyed rats to selfs she had not had the MC issues I started running in to when I bred them to her other marked line which also has Irish in it. It was a horrible experience and one that I hope other new breeders never have to experience.***
-- As of 2011 I hope to revive this line here as I have lost a lot of the dalmatian markings that I loved so much with the passing of some of my older ratties. So the plan this year is to get black eyed white and well spotted dalmatians back. This line has both black based and agouti based colors in it with red eyed dilute as well.
Pearl & Merle Line -This line originally came out of a feeder bin in Colorado in early 2006. That's right, I said it, it came out of a feeder bin. The original boy who started it all was owned by a friend of mine who was trying her hand at breeding fancy rats after years of breeding Maine Coon cats. She decided on 2 lines, both of which weren't really being worked with in Colorado at the time, and both of which came out of undocumented situations which I don't necessarily recommend doing when you are a new breeder, but that's a whole other subject. After she had them for a generation and the original boy was over approximately 2 years old I took in a sweet dumbo son of his who founded the line here. As the line did come from a questionable background I bred it for 3 generations (2 years) before even considering placing it with other breeders and when other breeders did show an interest in the line I made sure they were aware that these were a totally new line I was working on establishing with only 3 known generations of health and temperament information behind them. Since then the line has thrived. It has been out-crossed 4 times that I know of; twice by me and 1 time each for 2 other breeders and to the best of my knowledge every rat born from this line has been healthy and has lived to at least 2.5 years of age with the oldest so far being 3 years and 7 months. Not too shabby for a line that started out in a horrible feeder bin.
This line consistently throws odd-eye rats. There is a lot of speculation out there about the odd-eye mutation and it's safe breed-ability, but I have yet to experience problems with it, even when breeding two odd-eyed siblings together.
-- As of 2011 I have split this line in to two related sections. One section is comprised of mainly self rats but the Irish modifier is in there which I hope to work it out soon, and the second section has markings. I hope to be able to get the self side consistently self by working out the Irish this year as well as working on head, tail, and ear conformation.
Manx Line - This line is still very new to me as I only received it in 2008 from Cory at Historic Rats Rattery. This line is a very fun one for me as the temperaments are out of this world. They are sweet, playful, kissy, little monsters and in my opinion are what every line of rats in the world should be like. The manx mutation itself is a tricky one. So far what I have learned about it is that it's not a gene that can easily be carried and predicted, such as dumbo or red eye dilute. You can inbreed for it though with successful reproduction and it seems the more tightly inbred the line is, the more manx are consistently produced. There are different ways that the manx mutation can present itself: rumpy, rumpy riser, stumpy, longie, tailed manx, and tailed carrier. I use the term carrier lightly since it is not a gene it can't really be carried but the offspring of a manx rat may posses the manx mutation capable of reproducing manx offspring when bred to another rat also possessing the manx mutation. The severity of the mutation all depends on the amount of it that is possessed by the parents, in my opinion, and from what I have seen while working with this line. Myself and other breeders with the manx mutation have also proved at this point that it IS compatible with other manx lines and the manx lines do not need to be related to produce manx, as some breeders believed in the beginning.
* A safe rumpy manx rat is completely lacking of a tail but when the hind end is palpated you can feel where the spine extends one vertebrae past the pelvis. If the vertebra stops right at or before the pelvis this rat *may* experience some muscle control issues in their hind end. This is why it is crucial to only breed manx rats that are completely formed in the hind end and are not lacking any vertebrae above the pelvis. If you are not able to feel it but would still like to breed that rat please have the rat x-rayed by a veterinarian to find out if the rat is fully formed or not. Rumpy manx females can be safely bred if they are completely formed, in my opinion and experience. But again, you need to have experience so that you know what you are feeling when palpating the spine. Because of the difficulty and experience needed to work with this variety I don't believe it is one for breeders new to the fancy. *
-- As of 2011 this line has produced agouti, black, Russian blue, and Russian cinnamon, but no mink or Russian blue agouti yet. Because of the two out crosses I did when I received my first manx from HSTR recessive blazes and other recessive markings have started to pop up in the line. Rex and velveteen are both in the line and so far everyone is healthy and wonderfully sweet. I only recently lost the founder of this line, HSTR Brillo TOPI, and he was nearly 3 years old, so the lifespan so far is decent but could be longer.
For more information on the manx mutation please click HERE.
New Lines to Topi Rats
Australian Cinnamon Line - So far this line is great, but it is still very very new to me. As I have not yet bred a litter here, here is a link to the original breeders page about the line and her experiences with it : http://dreammtnfarm.com/rattery/aussiecinn.htm
-- I plan to work with the recessive blazing that is in this line and eventually have blazed Aussie cins. This line will only produce offspring once or twice a year.
Roan Line - This line came from Becky of CAVE. She personally brought the foundation rats of this line over with her from Germany when she moved back to the states and has kept the line completely separate from any of the roan lines that can currently be found in the US. Because of this, this line does not present with the aggression and health issues that the current US roan stock do. Though this line is still new to me I spent a lot of time with Becky and her roans and I have been completely won over. I ended up bringing back a UK mink roan dumbo girl and her black roan brother, both of which are very playful, sweet, good natured, and get along great with other rats and people alike. I am very excited to work with this line and I plan to have my first litter of roans in Spring of 2012.
Dwarf Line - This line is wonderful! They are very squishy and calm, which is contrary to what you normally hear about dwarf rats. They do tend to be very active and playful as babies, but they calm down around 4-5 months of age and from there on out they are very docile. So far in the line everyone is very healthy and there is black based colors with American blue and Russian blue as well as dumbo ears.
-- As of 2011 I added rex to the line. I hope to add dalmatian to this line later this year as well as pearl and merle.
Downunder Line - I got this line from BAR via GPR in 2009. The ratties in the line are very active and are stunning to look at. They love their wheels and love to be out for free roam time. In this line there is agouti and Russian blue as well as the manx mutation. The health in this line is stellar so far and I look forward to getting it more established here.
-- As of 2011 I have bred in rex, siamese, and burmese. I hope to work more on calming down their temperaments while working on their conformation at the same time this year.
Pink Eyed Dilute Line - This is another very new line to me. I have not yet produced a litter of my own from it but from the original breeder (DCR) and others who have worked with it (Dmtn) I know that there are black based colors including Russian blue, American blue, and Chocolate in the line. So far only Irish have been bred in to the line as far as marking modifiers go.
-- As of 2011 I hope to work the Irish out and get them back to self as well as pull out the chocolate.
Harley Line - Yet another very new line to me and the rest of the fancy as it was only discovered back in 2002 by OFR and since then has had to have a lot of work done on it as far as health and temperaments go. So far they seem healthy and are sweet and docile. After inbreeding them for a few generations I would like to out cross them in to my pearl line as well as they are healthy and would be a safe and beneficial out cross.
-- As of 2011 I hope to do an co-breeding with Dmtn to produce more Harleys so I can start my own Harley program with them here.
I hope in the future to be able to combine a lot of these lines so that I am only working with three or four lines total. That of course will take some time to get there, so please understand that while it looks like I work with a lot I have the time, space, energy, and funds to work with as much as I have and I'm working towards specific things with each line. If you have any questions for me about the lines I work with please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)