This revised 1999
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 5 years ago are relatively
Most of the changes
are in the area of color identification. Our understanding of hedgehog colors has grown dramatically over these past 3 formative years and this
is reflected in the highly detailed description of each color now provided.
As well, the list of recognized colors has grown from a mere 7 to 38 and
includes both White-Bellied and Algerian colors!
The Point System
has been revised to include a more detailed breakdown of the points allotted and adjustments have been made to the standard color 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.
new to pet and hobby breeders, hedgehogs now have a standard of perfection
that has gained widespread acceptance across North America. 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
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.
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 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 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.
(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.
will be faulted.
Legs and Feet:
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.
Color & Pattern:
With the exception
of open classes, all animals will be shown in their respective color class.
Improperly identified animals will be moved to their proper color classes
at the discretion of the judge.
Colors are judged
individually on the merits of each rather than against other colors in
the class. Each color is judged according to its typification to the Color
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 color, but the points are divided evenly between the
(Color 9 points,
Pinto 9 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.
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
While the IHA 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)
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.
LEGS AND FEET
Leg set -
Side to Side
*Unless judged under
a PINTO Class, in which case the total points are divided in half for a Color total of 9 points PLUS the 9 points allotted to PATTERN for an overall
total of 18 points
TOTAL - 100
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 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 colors
at the present time consist of a white quill (White-Bellied colors) or
a off-white quill (Algerian colors) with a band of color circling the
For a complete description
of each color, go to the Color
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 colors.
Although not all are listed here, there is a total of 15 snowflake possibilities
in the White-Bellied color spectrum.
- the recessive of Salt & Pepper
- the recessive of Dark Grey or the double recessive of Grey
the recessive of Grey
- the recessive of Chocolate
- the recessive of Brown or the double recessive of Chocolate Chip
- the recessive of Cinnamon
SNOWFLAKE - the double recessive of Cinnamon
SNOWFLAKE - the recessive of Dark Cinnicot or the double
SNOWFLAKE - the recessive of Black-Eyed Cinnicot
SNOWFLAKE- the recessive of Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot
- the recessive of Champagne or double recessive of Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot
- the recessive of Apricot
SNOWFLAKE - the double recessive of Apricot
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 color spectrum.
- the dilute of Salt & Pepper
WHITE - the dilute of Dark Grey
- the dilute of Grey
- the dilute of Chocolate
BROWN WHITE -
the dilute of Brown
the dilute of Cinnamon
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 color category from that of the White-Bellied colors. A hedgehog exhibiting the
color 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 color
as this does not mix with the colors of the White-Bellied species.
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 color being mid-brown, then the hedgehog in question is
in the Algerian color range. If the definition is fairly definite, with
white in the space between, then the hedgehog is in the White-Bellied range.
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 color categories rather than by breeds. A further division of the color classes is done according to age and sex.
Algerian colors will be shown in their White-Bellied corresponding color class.
The color class division for the 2004 show season is as follows:
Includes all hedgehogs displaying any pinto markings.
Includes: Salt & Pepper, Dark Grey, Grey, Chocolate and Brown
Includes: Pale Apricot, Apricot, Champagne, Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot, Black-Eyed Cinnicot, Dark Cinnicot and Cinnamon
Includes: All Snowflake colors
Includes: All White Colors
Class 6 ALBINO
Class 7 ANY OTHER COLOR (AOC)
Confetti, Tri's and any other non-typical color not already listed.