Overview of Campbells Dwarf Genetics
The genetics in the Campbells are fairly easy.  The main thing to remember is that the patterns are dominant and everything else is recessive.  There are two pattern genes.  They are the platinum and the mottled genes.  There are up to nine color gene mutations depending on how you count them..  They are albino, opal, argente, black-eyed argente, black. Moscow, dark gray, and Umbrous.  There is also the normal agouti color which is just referred to as the normal and is the color of the animal in the wild.  There are three coat genes which are the satin coat, the wavy coat, and the rex coat.

In many ways, the dominant genes are easier to work with than the recessive genes.  You only need one parent to have that gene mutation present to produce babies with that pattern.  Let's take an example.  Suppose you have a platinum dwarf.  You want to mate him to an opal even though no other hamster in her line has been platinum.  Since platinum is dominant, you will still get approximately one half platinum babies from this pairing.

Because opal is recessive, though, the opposite is not true.  If you have an opal who you want to mate to a platinum with no opal in his line (i.e. none of his ancestors were opal), you will not get any opal babies.  All babies will carry opal but will not themselves have the opal coat color.  If you then breed two of these babies which carry opal, approximately 25% of your babies will be opal.  You can raise your chances by breeding an opal son back to his mother.  In this circumstance, approximately one half of their babies will be opal.  So getting babies who show the gene with a dominant gene mutation will usually happen in the first pairing while getting babies who show a recessive gene mutation usually requires two pairings if you do not have two hamsters of that color.
Many of the colors on this site are two-gene colors.  These include colors like blue and beige.  Since all colors are recessive, each of these hamsters must have two of each of these two gene mutations.  For example, blue is the combined color of opal and black.  That means that a blue has two opal genes and two black genes.  This then gives the blue color.

Because many people don't have this color, they start with an opal and a black.  If you breed the opal and the black, all babies will be normal but carry both opal (having gotten one opal gene from the opal parent) and black (having gotten one black gene from the black parent).  Some people call this a normal split for opal and black.  Since neither parent carries both opal and black, you must breed two of these babies together to get blues.  With this pairing, 9/16ths of your babies will be normals, 3/16ths black, 3/16ths opal, and 1/16th blue.  Some of the normals, opals, and blacks will carry opal and/or black, but you will be unable to tell which just from their appearance.  Only by breeding them can you be sure which hamsters carry which genes.

In the Campbells, there is only one pairing to avoid and that is breeding ruby-eyed mottled to ruby-eyed mottled.  Let me explain.  There are two mottled genes.  One is the regular mottled gene and one is the ruby-eyed mottled gene.  The regular mottled gene does not cause any problems.  The ruby-eyed mottled gene does, though.  It is a dominant gene.  Both black-eyed hamsters (like the opal mottled) and red-eyed hamsters (like the argente) can have ruby eyes.  The ruby eyes are hard to see on the red-eyed hamsters but fairly easy to see on the black-eyed hamsters.  You need to use a flashlight (torch) to look in their eyes.  A ruby-eyed mottled will have a red glow in his eyes.

The reason to avoid this pairing is that the 25% of the babies from this pairing will be defective.  They will be undersized white hamsters that are eyeless and toothless (or at least only have rudimentary eyes and teeth).  This means they usually cannot survive the weaning process and die at 2-3 weeks of age.  Since the mottled is dominant, though, this can easily be avoided.  You can get approximately one half healthy ruby-eyed mottled by breeding a mottled to a non-mottled.  If in doubt as to whether yours are ruby-eyed or not, be safe and only breed mottled to non-mottled.
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