The Gerbils Color Palette
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Problems? There is a mirror site in Poland available! And this page is also in German language available!
If you would like to compare different colours: There is a split view with frames.
BTW: It works with the other linked Gerbilpages too.

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Further descriptions of gerbil colors and genes are available at
Lew Stead's gerbil page
, Karin van Veen's Gerbil Information Page and Elizabeth Heckert's Dani-Clan and you can compare it with the show standards of the National Gerbil Society, the genelist and the scientific literature there, too!

The international forum of the most engaged gerbil breeders is "The Gerbil Mailing List". Some more genetic links with nice gerbil color pages also in the German version.

Notice: Some of the genecodes aren't confirmed yet. If there is a question mark, further investigations are needed. Such genecodes are shown for discussion purpose only!




with a white belly and tri-coloured hairs (normally grey near the skin, followed by a yellow band and a black ticking at the end). You can find a very interesting table of the gerbil hair-colours in the book "De gerbil als gezelschapsdier", By Fred Petrij and Netty de Wit 

(Eva's 'Frosch', a very light wild agouti) 
A- C- E- G- P-  

(= White bellied Golden Agouti)  

On the Photo Eva's gerbil called "Frosch" ;-). This one has an atypical light colour, but so it becomes obvious, that there is some variation in the wild color, too. The color of some Agoutis tends to more grey, of others it can be more intensive often with a little higher amounts of red. Please compare it with Vera's gerbil in front of a Skinner-Box on the "Gerbil behaviour" page.

Agouti, Wildfarbig


A- C- E- G- P- Sp+

Spotted (pied) Agouti

(3 little "Arrows" ;-)) and one wild color Agouti


wildkleur bont

A- C- dd? E- G- P-  

[dd]-Agouti ?  

Maybe (but I'm not quite sure), it will become this new pale Agouti (?). You can see (or at least suspect) the enlightening effect of the new dd-gene in the direct comparision: Above it is the normal Agouti. Next crossings have to prove our expectation. See also "[dd]-Grey Aguti" and "Blue".



A- CC E- G- pp  

Argente Golden,  

The main effect of the pp-gene is lightening of all parts containing the black pigment (Eumelanin), so no black ticking at the end of the hairs is visible and it leads also to a rubin eye colour.

The colour (on the photo in front of an Argente cream) is similar to Yellow Fox (see below).
Gold, (Gold-Agouti), zimt

geel wildkleur
A- Cch E- G- pp  

Argente Cream
Do you see the little difference between Golden and Argente Creme (behind)? The pp interacts with the ch. Later on this webpage, you will see that pp interacts with the colourpoint gene cchm as well. There you can compare a more detailed Argente Golden with the new colour called 'Topas' (A-Ccchmpp), which is very similar to the Argente Cream, you can see here on the second Photo of "Helge"  taken by Eva Maisel. Thanx :-))
Gold, hell

licht geel wildkleur

A- C- E- gg P-  


The gg-gene entirely removes the yellow pigment (Phaeomelanin) and so leads to a grey coat colour. Under some light conditions you can also see, that the eyes are not as dark as compared with the G-gene (the wild colour), but the difference is very little.


A- C- dd(?) E- gg P-  


The little left gerbil seems to become a dd-Grey-agouti.(?) (the dd-gene is known to clump the color pigments to some extent. So the visible colour becomes more pale.) (The other on this photo: right: Agouti, above dd-Agouti)


A- CC E- gg pp  

(Ivory) Cream  
(white bellied creme) 

please compare it with the same looking Red Eyed Polar Fox


creme wildkleur

A- C- ee G- P-  

Algerian Fox,
= Dark Eyed Honey,
= Sooty Fawn

The intensive colour is due to the yellow, not grey, colour of the hair-base in all gerbils with the ee gene.

Notice: A younger Algerian (photos above) shows a beginning ticking at the forehead. Below an old dark eyed honey with finished ticking, so it appears darker. 

Differences to Agouti: The white eye circle and white "line" from the white belly up to the ear is more pronounced in DEH/Algerian than in normal Agoutis. So, their white belly ends higher towards the shoulder than agouti bellies. And ticking isn't as pronounced as in agoutis, so DEH appear more orangy.

(Thanks to Nienke Wijnants and Elizabeth Heckert, which point to me this differences).


(=Sooty yellow =Sable ) 


A- C- ee G- P- Sp+

Spotted Algerian Fox
(Spotted Dark Eyed Honey)

there is some evidence, that Sp has a strong lightening effect in the Algerian unusual to normal spot, which might indicate an interaction between ee and Sp(?). 

I'm not sure if the Photo of Janelle's gerbil called "Pheonix" might be such a spotted DEH or something else? Vera means, its more likely a spotted Nutmeg, because it is too dark.


see below at the selfcolored Red-Fox for a photo
A- CC ee G- pp  

Yellow Fox
(= Red Eyed Algerian-Fox)

notice: The difference to the Argente Golden (see above) isn't very obvious. If you blow the hairs aside, you can see a yellow undercoat in the foxes (ee), whereas it is (normally) grey in colors without the ee genes.


roodoog Algerijn

A- C- ee gg P-  

Polar Fox  

Notice: Ticking becomes more pronounced in older Polar Fox gerbils. 
Under some light conditions, the retina of all P-gg seems to be of wine-red color as shown on the photo of the younger Polar Fox (in the middle), but the difference to normal dark eyes is hardly to recognize.

You can see a young polar fox in comparision with a young blue fox later on this page.

Many good photos are on Joerg Eberbecks album page "Polar Fox".

And you can find a page full of pictures of Elizabeth Heckert's polar fox (called 'Mary-Eben':-) growing up:

    ...  ... 


=Zilver Algerijn,  
(=zilver sable)

A- C- ee gg pp  

Red Eyed Polar Fox
(= Cream Fox) 

On the right side you see the Red Eyed Polar Fox (on the photo with the netherlands name "Apricot". <hm?>
OK, at very young age, they are obvious darker then ivory creams, but I think, they never were as dark coloured as apricot fruits... ;-)

Later on - as on the photo here - nearly no difference to (ivory)-cream is visible (on the photo with the german name "Elfenbein").

Polarfuchs, (rote Augen),
= Elfenbein
(mit Fuchsfaktor)

apricot  ;-(


Caused by the aa gene. Normally with coloured belly and with one-coloured hairs.
Notice: Self-colored gerbils with extended white areas caused by the dominant spotting gene (Sp) sometimes has a white belly.  The same white spot is sometimes abbreviated with W+ and probably there are additional subordinated "pied" genes involved, when the spot area is widely spread on the body. Please compare the different examples on this page and see Julians page with pied and patched gerbils.

aa C- E- G- P-  


Many good Photos are on Joerg Eberbecks Albumpage "Black gerbils".

(Yes, it is a glossy black, and I must say, it isn't quite easy to get details visible on photos with black in black gerbils... ;-))




aa C- E- G- P- Sp+

Spotted Black

The photo shows a black gerbil with very extended spot areas. So it is called Pied Black too.

Breeders can select for more pied gerbils, so under the control of Sp additional subordinated (poly- or modifying-) genes are postulated, to explain this variation.


zwart bont



aa C- dd? E- G- P-  
new: Blue

This new gerbil colour is probably caused by a further "dilution" gene called "dd", which is already known in some other rodent species. This colour mutation was discovered in 1998 at the Osnabrueck university in Germany. The coat colour is a metal-bluish black, the eyes and nails are black too. Of course, the graphic here is only a product of my phantasy ;-))! Please look at the GIP for the first photos of true "Blue" gerbils. Probably other gerbil colour variants will be diluted to some extent too. Recently, Vera has already had success in breeding with the new dd-gene. Look for Photos of the first offspring under the Color names [dd]-Grey-Agouti and [dd]-Agouti.



aa C- E- gg P-  

formerly sometimes called 'Blue' too, but it isn't)

The color is a dull charcoal black.
Here on the picture an old one, already with some grey hairs.


donker sepia

aa C- E- gg P- Sp

Spotted Slate

donker sepia bont
= vlekken donker sepia
= donker sepia Canadian White Spot

aa CC E- G- pp  


Notice: On the lower photo you can see a Dove (Silver) in the background. 

(=Lilac, =Grau)


aa CC E- G- pp Sp+

Lilac with spot 

lilac bont
= vlekken lilac
= lilac Canadian White Spot (= lilac CWS)

aa Cch E- G- pp  

(= Silver) 

Notice: Because pp has a diminishing influence mainly on the dark Pigment Eumelanin, the lightening interaction of ch with pp becomes much more obvious between Lilac and Dove, as compared with the difference between the Argente Golden and Argente Cream (see above), which are coloured by the yellow Phaeomelanin-pigment.

Half between Lilac and Dove is Sapphire (due to a similar lightening interaction of cchm with pp).

Platin, hell
(=hellgrau, =silbergrau)


aa C- E- gg pp  

Ruby-Eyed-White (REW) 

Notice: On the second photo you can see an animal (on the right side) which looks like Ivory Cream. Due to the genotypes of its parents aaPpGgCCEef x aappGgCCEef) it must be something different. It is possible, that the Schimmel ef gene is involved. Compare it with Red Eyed Polar Fox, too.

(Augen rubin)

ivoor creme



aa C- ee G- P-  


Nutmegs have a yellow undercoat, because of the ee, but a very long dark End of the hair (because of the aa), which dominates the visible impression.
Ticking (= the tips of the hairs become dark or black) always becomes more pronounced in older gerbils. So, the yellow undercoat in young Nutmegs shimmers through more and they appear lighter.
There is a great variability, too.

On the second pic from Elizabeth Heckert, you can see an about 8 weeks old half molted nutmeg. The rear half of the body is still without ticking, but the area with new dark fur will proceed to the end in the next few weeks.
All gerbils change the fur ("moult") for the first time at this age (between ~8 to ~12 weeks), but in most colors, the difference isn't as obvious as in nutmegs. In other colors, sometimes a slight two tone effect or a clear line is visible between the old and new coat.




aa C- ee G- P- Sp+

Spotted Nutmeg

As you can see, a spotted Nutmeg is (beside the white spot areas) obviously lighter on the whole body too! So there seems to be a additional sort of lightening interaction between ee and the Sp.


Nootmuskaat bont


aa CC ee G- pp  

Red Fox,
(=Argente Nutmeg)

similar to Argente Golden and Yellow Fox, but self-colored (on the photo on the right side) 
On the left side you can see a Yellow Fox (with a white belly!). Please compare it with the Argente Golden above.


roodoog nootmuskaat



aa Cch ee G- pp  

Pale Argente Nutmeg 

Only little difference to Argente Nutmeg.



Blue Fox
aa C- ee gg P-  

Blue Fox,
Silver Nutmeg

Typical for the Foxes (or Nutmegs) the young Blue Fox on the left doesn't have ticking, whereas it becomes very determinative in the older one (the second Photo).


Zilver Nootmuskaat



-- C- efef(?) G- P-  

(Orange Siam, Orange Mold) 

Notice: There is only a suggestion to postulate a new ef gene at the ee location. Further investigations are needed! 

Notice: The 'f' in ef means, the color "fades out" with increasing age, but especially the tail of the old Schimmel (below) remains still orange and near the nose you can see little remainders of the orange colour too.




-- C- efef? G- P- Sp+

Spotted Schimmel
(= Champagne)

On the neck of the three weeks old spotted Schimmel (above), you still can recognize a few remainders of the orange colour, whereas the Schimmel is intensive coloured.

Later on, colour fades totally in the spotted Schimmel (second Photo on the left side, on the right side, it's the just fading unspotted Schimmel).

Elizabeth Heckert breeds Schimmel and Champagne too, as you can see on the third photo. There is a nice Schimmel website with many cute photos and don't miss the "GML gerbil pic contest winner 1998" as "Best Group":

(= Champagner)

Schimmel bont,
(= Champagne)


-- C- efef(?) G- pp  

Red Eyed Schimmel  

Notice: The typical ruby-red eyes of all pp-types. The younger resembles creme agoutis, but as like as Schimmel's the red-eyed Schimmel's fade out, too, when they become older. 

Rotaugen Schimmel

(rode ogen)



These new colours are characterized by an lightened body and dark extremities. This "acromelanism" is similar to the "Dark Tailed Himalayans" caused by the ch on the same gene location. The "chm" in cchm means "chinchilla medium", a colour already known in rabbits. NB, fanciers have for some time refered to this mutation as Burmese (symbol cb).]

Reference: Petrij F, van Veen K, Mettler M, and Brückmann V. (2001): "A second acromelanistic allelomorph at the albino locus of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)". Journal of Heredity, 92(1), 74-78.


A- Ccchm E- G- pp  


The appearance of the Topas (above) is a little bit paler than the Argente Golden (below). But as a typical sign of the colorpoints, the region around the nose of the Topas is obviously darker than the body. Please compare it with the similar Argente Cream too. Both colours are hardly to distinguish.



A- cchmcchm E- gg P-  

Colourpoint Grey Agouti (=Smoke, =Pearl)

The appearance varies and is very similar to 'Polar fox' (?)
The Photo of Janelle's gerbil called "Abbey" might be a Light Colourpoint Grey Agouti, but she isn't quite sure.

Colourpoint Silberaguti

Colourpoint Zilveraguti



aa cchmcchm E- G- P-  

Colourpoint Black (Burmese)

Notice: You can understand this new color as a black gerbil with a lightened body, only the extremities remain nearly black. The lightening effect of the Colourpoint gene varies to some extend. So, sometimes, you will see lighter, sometimes darker colored Burmese's. Some breeders believe, there might be a so called "UD"-gene (a modifying(?) UltraDark-gene) involved, too, when Burmeses and Siameses are obvious darker.
Please compare it with some UD-photos, you can find at Kelly Christenson's gerbil pages.
Look at Joerg Eberbecks very good Burmese photos, too.




aa cchmch E- G- P.  


Siamese is a Colourpoint black, which is additionally lightened by the Himalayan gene ch.

©: We have got the two lower photos from Julian and Jackie from the National Gerbil Society, Thx! 

Notice: Vera's very young siamese gerbils (above) don't have the characteristic dark nose yet (what you see is only a shadow on the photo), but the tail is already dark. 

In older Siameses the dark nose is very obvious.

Siamese, (=heller Marder)




aa cchmch E- G- P. Sp+

Spotted Siamese


aa Ccchm E- G- pp  


The appearance is half between Lilac and Dove.




aa cchmcchm ee G- P-  


Elizabeth has a nice page with more pictures of her "Lilith"

(isn't it a cute and artistic Photo? I'm totaly fascinated ! :-)))

Notice: You can get lively cheerful depth photos with indirect back light ("contre jour") and the choosen background harmonize very good together with this little Lilith.



aa cchmcchm ee gg P-  


We have thankfully gotten this Photo from John Starr. Look at his "The Ridge Road Gang"- Website.


You see, with the new Colourpoint-gene cchm, there are many new combinations with other genes possible -- with the Agouti gene too --. Perhaps you can find some more photos of these new colours on the Gerbil Information Page from Karin van Veen.



The ch gene removes nearly all colour pigments (in the fur and in the eyes too), but it isn't causing an absolute true "Albino", because the tail still can be coloured to a more or less extent. This sort of acromelanic albinism is called "Himalayan Albinism" by scientists.
Both, the Himalayan ch and the Colourpoint cchm are located at the same gene location and both are acting the same way, too, but ch is much more effective in bleaching all of the coat colour of the body.

(Notice:The eye color is a diluted pink, even if it seems not to be visible on some photos taken without direct flashlight)


-- chch -- -- P-  

Dark Tailed White (DTW)
Notice: The young (above) has a white tail, but in older Himalayans (from an age of ~ 6 months on) the tail is coloured to some extent. 
Hermelin Weiß (=Himalaja-Albino, aber mit dunklem Schwanz)

himalayan (donker staart wit)

aa chch -- -- P-  

(very) Dark Tailed White (DTW) with [aa](?) 

Only some older Gerbils (especially those kept at lower temperatures) developed such dark tails. Probably the nonagouti-gen aa causes darker tails than the [A-] (Not visible on the photo, but the end of the tail is dark too)


-- chch -- P- -- Sp+

Dark Tailed White with White Spot(!) (notice the typical white end of the tail)


-- chch -- -- pp  

Pink Eyed White (PEW)

Notice: The tail remains white even in old PEW's . Looks like the young Himalayan.
 Rotaugen Weiß (=Himalaja-Albino, Augen pinkfarbig)

 wit rood oog



A- f- ri- C. an ;-)

 An African gerbil?   ;-) 
 No: It is really a Mongolian gerbil: This colour was formerly thought to be such a genus from North Africa, so it was named 'Algerian' by Michael Mettler. The color is also known as 'Dark Eyed Honey' in the USA (see above)

But you will find webpages of the other species of the order Gerbillus on Julians webpage of the NGS or ask Fred Petrij 


"Two-way traffic"
  "Good morning! ;-)" "The strong attraction of tubes"

© 1996-1999 by Vera Brückmann (member of the "Gerbil Genetics Group") and Ehrenfried Ehrenstein. All parts, especially all photos on this page, are protected by copyright!

Gerbil Genetics Calculator A nifty and easy to use downloadable program to figure out which colors you can expect in the offspring. Just put in the genotypes of the two parents and voila! (win95 Version, sorry, no mac's!).
The "Gene-Speculator", by Dr. Klaus Grün (Germany). A new gerbil-calculator for Windows
Elli's Online Gene-Predictor works platform-independent with a CGI-form.


To the best GERBIL LINKS

Jilluns gerbil pics with a nice made gerbil FAMILY TREE. Try to figure out, which genes might be involved :-))

More gerbil pics with a lot of colors at

  My Felicitas
the old black gerbil female with her family in 1987. She was Ehrenfrieds very first gerbil. Not on the photo: Her mate 'Felix', he was a Pink Eyed White, so we've got a lot of different colours in the following generations. The reason for this page...

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Created: 10. March 1996, Last Updated: 14. May 1999

The News of 14. May 1999:
Out of 31 pages selected as Key Resources for the Gerbils topic, this page was objectively ranked first by "Links2go". :-)) Schimmel Champagne Spotted Siamese (Older) Blue Fox Young Blue Fox and Polar Fox Colourpoint Nutmeg Topas Red Fox Red Eyed Schimmel Agouti Dark Tailed White (DTW) Pied Black Siamese Burmese Spotted Nutmeg Nutmeg Argente Golden und Argente Cream Ruby Eyed White (REW) M.u. Milne Edwards (Ivory) Cream Dove Sapphir Lilac pied Agouti Polar Fox Algerian Fox = Dark Eyed Honey (DEH) Grey Agouti (Chinchilla) Spotted Slate Slate Black