Breed Standard:




Degutopia is setting out the first EVER degu breed standard.

 What is this? 
A breed standard is in effect a 'model' degu, with physiology, health, appearance and characteristics that all breeders should strive toward achieving in their own degus.
Most degu breeders will be aware of the chronic genetic and physiological problems that degus suffer from as a result of poorly planned breeding and inbreeding. By creating a goal for degu breeders to strive toward, it is hoped these problems can be greatly reduced, which will be of great long-term benefit to captive bred degus. It will also provide an opportunity for outstanding breeders to be recognised.
How can this be done?
Degutopia has worked carefully on the standards, which are outlined below. Since the project is in its early stages, we are giving breeders 2-3 years to start producing degus suitable for standard assessment. After this time, we plan to hold events where breeders can show their best degus, and have them judged. In the meantime, breeders wishing to have qualifying degus assessed can contact us to receive official certification- further details can be found below.



1. Genetics 

1.1 The degu under assessment shall not be inbred to a direct relative, including:
  • Mother
  • Father
  • Full sibling
  • Half sibling
  • Parental full or half sibling
  • Grandparent

1.2 Shall not be bred by a parent with a history of:

  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Sinus problems
  • Cancer
  • Dental malocclusion/bruxism

2. Phenotype/Visual Appearance (see pictures for reference)

2.1 Eyes: 

  • Shall be clear, open and free of discharge
  • Shall be free from cataracts and defects

2.2 Nose:

  • Shall be free of discharge

2.3 Coat:

  • Shall be agouti in colour
  • Shall be free from mites and bald patches (including feet)
  • Shall appear healthy and glossy

2.4 Tail:

  • Shall be entire with a full brush tip
  • Diffuse and compound tail flashes are acceptable
  • Shall be straight and free from kinks/breaks

2.5 Fore/hind paws:


  • Shall have entire digits free from deformity
  • Shall have healthy pads on the underside, free from ulceration or sores
  • Shall be fully furred and free from bald patches

2.6 Whiskers:


  • Shall be an appropriate length for the body size (not too short)
  • Shall be present in a suitable quantity (not too sparse)

2.7 Teeth:

  • Shall be intact and of appropriate length (incisors)
  • Shall not express malocclusion (incisors)
  • Enamel shall be a vivid orange with no hypoplasia
  • Shall not have a history of molar problems or dentistry work

2.8 Ears:

  • Shall be entire and not express deformity
  • Shall be free of discharge and mites
  • Shall be upright and not drooping

2.9 Conformation:

  • Shall have fully functional, intact limbs
  • Shall have a skeletal/body structure free from deformity

3. Physiology

3.1 Age- shall be fully adult (over 58 weeks old)

3.2 Weight- shall be 220-250 g

3.3 Respiration- shall not wheeze or sneeze repeatedly

4. Behaviour and Character

4.1 Shall be alert and active

4.2 Shall be inquisitive and express interest in the surroundings

4.3 Shall have a friendly manner toward humans and not bite when correctly handled

4.4 Shall be intelligent and easy to train



The above is the standard to which breeders should aspire, however the assessment method of these standards needs to be taken into account as some are essential for passing, while others affect the scoring of the assessment. The link below will take you to the standard assessment section, and give further details on how to get your degus assessed: 


If you would like to know the reasoning behind each each section of the standard, please go to the following section:


Please note that this project, although in its early stages, is designed to help degu breeders and their degus. If you think we've missed something that needs assessing, or have any questions about the system, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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Copyright C.V. Long BSc 2004 - 2009; Reproduction with permission only.

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