What's a fancy rat?

This is a specialty rat that conforms to some rat club standard, such as hairless, odd-eye, chinchilla, dalmatian, rex, apricot. Many clubs set standards, judge rats, and award prizes. Many breeders supply pedigrees which help track the color genetics of rats used in breeding programs. There are no 'purebred breeds' of rats or such as might be found in dog or cats, as developing pure strains is not often a goal for rat breeders, who quite often are more interested in developing new colors, fur types, etc. Different types are referred to as varieties, rather then breeds. Such as tailless, dumbo, hairless, rex and standard.
Fancy rats live 2 to 3 years. In rare cases they have been known to live up to 5 years. Breeders are trying to breed rats with more longevity, but its difficult since it takes many years of careful selection. The fancy rat is often bred for good temperament, unlike feeder bred stock. In most cases, fancy rat breeders are more interested in developing better rats, then making money, so the cost of a fancy rat from a breeder is not often much higher then the price of rats from a pet shop, but the quality of the animal as a pet can be determined easier when you can see what the parents are like. Pet shop rats can often be good pets, but there is often no way to determine their genetics or stableness of their temperaments.