For White-Bellied & Algerian Hedgehogs
This revised 2004 International Hedgehog Association Standard of Perfection for African Pygmy Hedgehogs is the most comprehensive and complete guide to showing and judging hedgehogs yet produced, yet the changes from the original Standard, produced over
8 years ago are relatively minor.
Most of the changes are in the area of colour identification. Our understanding of hedgehog colours has grown dramatically over these past years and this is reflected in the highly detailed description of each colour now provided. As well, the list of recognized colours has grown from a mere 7 to 38 and includes both White-Bellied and Algerian colours!
The Point System has been revised to include a more detailed breakdown of the points allotted and adjustments have been made to the standard colour classes.
A standard of perfection can best be described as the ideal, or perfect goal that breeders attempt to see reflected in their animals. This standard should reflect the goals and desires of all breeders and hobbyists as they work to improve the quality and appearance of the animals they produce. The ultimate objective of this standard is to produce an ideal pet animal.
Although relatively new to pet and hobby breeders, hedgehogs now have a standard of perfection that has gained widespread acceptance across North America. Being the first standard of its kind, the IHA Standard of Perfection is very simple and, while addressing the immediate concerns of the hobby, is intended to be a basic introduction to selective breeding and exhibition. It has been designed in such a way that all breeders will be capable of reaching itsí objective quickly. Once that has been accomplished, further additions and changes can be made that will reflect the desires of the breeders of the future. For now, however, this standard has been developed to address the immediate needs and concerns of breeders and pet owners.
Temperament of hedgehogs is extremely important and is something that all breeders need to concentrate on. In order to be shown, a hedgehog must be tame and easy to handle with quills laying flat. Not only does this emphasize the importance of good temperament, but it is essential if the judge is to determine the animal's form. When the quills are raised erect, it is impossible to accurately determine the body shape of the hedgehog beneath.
Face: 5 points
The face is to be wide and deep with the eyes spaced well apart. From above, the face shall proceed from the quill line to the nose in as straight a line as possible. From the side, the bridge of the nose shall proceed along an imaginary line to the top of the eye. The chin is to be deep and flow smoothly into the chest.
Eyes: 2 points
The eyes are to be large and bright widely spaced. Animals with missing or injured eyes (not recent) may be shown but will be faulted.
Ears: 2 points
Ears are to be large and well spaced. From front view, they shall not extend above the level of the top-line. Hedgehogs with torn, chewed or damaged ears shall be faulted. Ear tags are acceptable.
BODY SHAPE (FORM) 25 points:
From the side, the top-line shall proceed in a smooth and flowing curved line from the forehead to the base of the rump. The rump shall be spherical over the top with a straight drop to the skirt. Steep or straight rumps are not preferred. Shoulder humps, hip pockets and other characteristics that break that flow are not preferred.
From the front and back, the top-line shall present a smooth and rounded appearance from the base of the skirt, across the top of the back, and down to the base of the skirt on the opposite side. Peaked or dipped backs are to be faulted. From above, the sides shall flow smoothly from the tip of the nose, along the skirt, to the base of the rump. Characteristics such as hip pockets and shoulder humps that break that smooth flow are not preferred.
Obese hedgehogs will be faulted.
Legs and Feet: 5 points
The legs are to be well spaced apart from front to back and from side to side. Hockey and bowed legs are not acceptable. Feet are to be small but in proportion to the legs. Front feet must have five toes and the back, four.
Colour & Pattern: 18 points
With the exception of open classes, all animals will be shown in their respective colour class. Improperly identified animals will be moved to their proper colour classes at the discretion of the judge.
Colours are judged individually on the merits of each rather than against other colours in the class. Each colour is judged according to its typification to the Colour Standard and its uniformity.
Pinto and Papillon marked hedgehogs are placed in a separate class for judging. and are judged according to the symmetry of the Pinto pattern between both sides of the body, divided down the dorsal.
The Pinto class is still judged for colour, but the points are divided evenly between the two.
(Colour 9 points, Pinto 9 points)
Temperament: 33 points
At the show table, animals must be calm and friendly while being handled by both the exhibitor and the judge. Hedgehogs that are ill tempered, will not unroll or who bite shall be faulted or disqualified at the discretion of the judge.
Quills: 10 points
Hedgehogs should have a thick and rich coat of quills that extends evenly over the entire back. Thin, sparsely or irregularly quilled animals are not to be preferred.
THE POINT SYSTEM
While the Standard does include a point classification system, the judge does not add up a "score" based on these points per se. Instead, hedgehogs placed before him/her at the show table are judged against this point system and by the comparison of one hedgehog against another. As such, no score card is used, although the exhibitor may request one of the judge after the show. (this is done solely at the judge's discretion)
Unrolled - 11 points
Quills Flat - 11 points
*Personality - 11 points
TOTAL - 33 points
Biters are to be deducted 22 points from the total unless that total is less than 22 points, in which case all points are to be deducted.
Width - 2 points
Depth - 1 points
Aesthetics - 2 points
TOTAL - 5 points
Size - 1 points
Alert - 1 points
TOTAL - 2 points
Width - 0.5 points
Depth - 0.5 points
Aesthetics - 1 points
TOTAL - 2 points
Profile - 5 points
Flow - 5 points
Rump - 5 points
Weight - 10 points
TOTAL - 25 points
LEGS AND FEET
Number of toes - 2 points
Front to Back - 1.5 points
Side to Side - 1.5 points
TOTAL - 5 points
Density - 5 points
Uniformity - 5 points
TOTAL - 10 points
Uniformity - 5 points
Typification - 10 points
Condition - 3 points
*TOTAL - 18 points
*Unless judged under a PINTO Class, in which case the total points are divided in half for a Colour total of 9 points PLUS the 9 points allotted to PATTERN for an overall total of 18 points
Symmetry - 9 points
THE COLOR STANDARD
In a surprisingly short period of time, a bewildering variety of colors have been produced in the domestic African Pygmy Hedgehog. At the present time, there are 38 accepted color mutations and there will likely be more in the near future. The IHA has mapped the genetic base controlling these colors and, on this basis, will continue to accept new colors as they are developed and established. The purpose of the IHA Color Standard is to provide breeders and hobbyists with a simple to follow guideline for recognizing existing colors. Since new colors are often produced from existing colors, this standard also acts as a base reference for producing new mutations.
The criteria for accepting these colors into the IHA Standard and for the acceptance of more color mutations in the future are as follows: Each color must be readily distinct and identifiable from other colors. Each color must be proven to be genetically distinct from any other color. Sufficient numbers of animals showing the color must be in existence. Examples of each new color must be shown by a minimum of 3 exhibitors at 3 shows under the AOC Class.
Since there is such a large number of recognized colors, the color classes at shows are often times grouped together. The standard classes and the colors they represent are listed under Show Classes.
The Snowflake, Chocolate Chip and Charcoal colors have been divided into percentages, so further clarification is necessary. This can be done by classifying them as Poor or Good. Poor for lower white percentage or darker animals (30% or lower or, 60% and higher ), and Good for higher percentage or lighter ones (40-50%). Hence a clear and concise description of a hedgehog's color can be given without ever actually seeing it.
All hedgehog colours at the present time consist of a white quill (White-Bellied colours) or a off-white quill (Algerian colours) with a band of colour circling the midriff.
For a complete description of each colour, go to the Colour Guide Page
SALT & PEPPER
The Snowflake category comprises those animals that possess a fairly even mix of banded and non-banded quills. This gives the hedgehog the appearance of having a light "snowflake" dusting over its back. This is a recessive variation of the dominant colours. Although not all are listed here, there is a total of 15 snowflake possibilities in the White-Bellied colour spectrum.
DARK CINNICOT SNOWFLAKE
BLACK-EYED CINNICOT SNOWFLAKE
RUBY-EYED CINNICOT SNOWFLAKE
PALE APRICOT SNOWFLAKE
The White category comprises those animals that possess almost 100% solid white quills. The few banded quills that these hedgehogs have are localized to the forehead area, with a few possible across the remainder of the back. These few banded quills on the back, however, should count no more than 10. Any more than this and it is categorized as a Snowflake. White is a dilute (prime) of the recessive snowflake. Although not all are listed here, there is a total of 15 White possibilities in the White-Bellied colour spectrum.
SILVER CHARCOAL WHITE
Albinos are unique due to the total lack of pigmentation. The quills are all white with no banding, the face and fur are white, the skin is pink and the eyes are red. The nose is pink.
Although the term "Algerian" is commonly used to refer to a species of hedgehog, it is also recognized as a separate colour category from that of the White-Bellied colours. A hedgehog exhibiting the colour traits of an Algerian may or may not exhibit the physical traits. (larger body, longer nose and larger ears) Since the two species have been interbred to produce the domestic hedgehog, the only true trait of the Algerian species left is the colour as this does not mix with the colours of the White-Bellied species.
Algerian coloured hedgehogs can be easily distinguished by looking at the double-banded forehead quills. If there is little definition between the two bands, with the in-between colour being mid-brown, then the hedgehog in question is in the Algerian colour range. If the definition is fairly definite, with white in the space between, then the hedgehog is in the White-Bellied range.
For a more detailed explanation of the Algerian colour, CLICK HERE
DARK GREY ALGERIAN
At the present time there are no breed distinctions within the IHA Standard of Perfection. As such, show classes are divided according to colour categories rather than by breeds. A further division of the colour classes is done according to age and sex.
Algerian colours will be shown in their White-Bellied corresponding colour class.
The colour class division for the 1999 show season is as follows:
Class 1 PINTO
Includes all hedgehogs displaying any pinto markings.
Class 2 STANDARD COAT
Includes: Salt & Pepper, Dark Grey, Grey, Chocolate and Brown
Class 3 APRICOT
Includes: Pale Apricot, Apricot, Champagne, Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot, Black-Eyed Cinnicot, Dark Cinnicot and Cinnamon
Class 4 SNOWFLAKE
Includes: All Snowflake colours
Class 5 WHITE
Includes: All White Colours
Class 6 ALBINO
Class 7 ANY OTHER COLOUR (AOC)
Includes Double-White, Confetti, Tri's and any other non-typical colour not already listed.