I think the very existence of hamster shows, complete with breed standards, is a wonderful sort of oddity. It’s not what you’d call rigorous–today’s show was held in someone’s living room and virtually all the hamsters came from about three breeders–but it is a lot of fun.
Upon discovering that Pinky, Inky, and Blinky were a standardized color (red-eyed argente), I decided it would be fun to show Pinky. Clyde is dove, a carrier of both the red-eyed argente and the black gene, but he’s far too skittish to do a show and he’s got some scarring on his nose and tail from the others fighting with him. Inky has better size and fur quality than Pinky, but he’s a nasty biter. Blinky, of course, has gone to the big hamster wheel in the sky.
Seeing Pinky alongside the show-quality hamsters, the difference is immediately obvious. He’s smaller, skinnier, and has a thinner and duller-colored coat. The judge immediately pegged him as a pet-quality hamster, but hamster fanciers are the sort of people who just like hamsters in general and see the good points in every specimen, so she complimented his personality. He came in last among the standardized Campbell dwarves, but she awarded him Best Stripe in the pet/fun awards, and he also came in third in the dwarf hamster ball race.
The ball races were held by laying out a blanket, setting all the balls in the middle, and seeing who makes it off the blanket first in any direction. If you think Syrians have an advantage in the ball race, think again. The dwarves took off immediately; Pinky would have been first, but he decided to stop and groom himself about six inches from the end. The Syrians, even though they’re bigger, are much more leisurely, and a few of them were content to just sit in the middle of the blanket the whole time.
Jordan and I think it might be nice to get a Syrian next. For those who don’t know, those are your regular teddy bear hamsters. They’re less manic and easier to handle than our dwarves with their penchant for fearlessly leaping off of high objects, and I just love the banded pattern. Or maybe a pair of rats or a pair of guinea pigs, or, if we leave the Draconian state of California, sugar gliders…
Ah, the possibilities of the future.