|A ferret in the sable coloration, the wild phenotype and the one most commonly seen.|
|This ferret is albino.|
Any of these colors may be seen in combination with several patterns possibilities and white markings. Patterns include standard, roan, point/Siamese, and solid. Standards show the shading that would be expected, while solids should have little to no color variation on the body. Roans will have white evenly distributed throughout the body. Siamese will have a more obvious difference between their body and limb colors. White marking possibilities are blaze, panda, and mitt. All three will show white "mitts" on all four feet, with the blaze having an additional white mark on the face and pandas having completely white heads.
When it comes to the genetics of these colors, I was unable to find as much information as I would have liked to find. There has likely been little research done, with only some breeding data showing a hint of the inheritance patterns. Overall, it seems that the darkening of color, such as black, is dominant in nature while the lightening of color, such as albino or cinnamon, are recessive. This appears to be the case in basically all animals, with few exceptions. Also, the spontaneous appearance of new coloration in domestic forms of animals are likely a result of increased homozygosity that results from creating a close population. The genes were probably already in the species, but in such a low concentration that they may go completely unnoticed. The selective inbreeding caused by the domestication process can easily bring them out, whether intentionally or not.
|One of the images of Rousseau provided to me by Dave. The dark areas are not always apparent. What color is this ferret?|
My best guess as to this ferret's coloring is champagne roan panda or a dark eyed white pattern. The champagne roan panda seems to be more fitting, due to the completely white face and legs and the presence of color on the shoulders. However, since I am not very familiar with ferrets I may very well be wrong.
Sources are Weasel Words, Animal Diversity Web, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, American Ferret Association, Small Animal Channel, Doctors Foster and Smith, Ferret Central, and this image. First two images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two. Third image is copyright to Dave of Prick-Eared.