Show Mice

What are show mice?

Show mice are like show dogs. Each standardized variety is bred to a standard set by a club. They are then shown against that standard in those of the same class. This is how it works in the FMBA at least. Other clubs, such as AFRMA (west coast US) or NMC (UK), function slightly differently.

Are there breeds of mice?

Yes and no. There are varieties, some of which are standardized by clubs, but not all. These varieties often fall into various classes or sections depending on the club.

7 FMBA Sections: Self, Ticked, Tan & Fox, Pointed & Shaded, Marked, Patterned, Coated

7 AFRMA Varieties: Standard, Satin, Long Hair, Long Hair Satin, Frizzie, Frizzie Satin, Hairless
5 AFRMA Sections: Self, Tan & Fox, Marked, AOC, AOCP

NMC Sections: Selfs, Tans, Marked, Satins, AOV

All 3 clubs listed have some form of an "Unstandardized" category in which you can show mice that don't fit under other sections, but there may be some rules depending on the club.

Are there purebred mice?

Yes, but no. Breeders often breed a line for one specific variety, or occasionally two if they "mix" well. If you are breeding for cool dark blue self, you should not try to breed in reds or chocolates, that need rich warm pigment, or you will ruin both simultaneously.

An example of varieties that don't clash could be pink eyed white self, and ivory self. If you breed an albino and an ivory together, you will get more of both. (c/c x c/c-e)

Generally, most varieties need to be specifically focused on to achieve the best example of the standard. Dividing your focus can leave you with lack luster stock.

How do show mice differ from mice you would find at the pet store?

Pet store mice are generally mass produced to become food for other animals, with the slight possibility of becoming pets. Little attention is given to their appearance, if any. They simply have an entirely separate reason for having been created.

In the FMBA, conformation consists of: Condition (smooth coat, large size, overall health), Body, Head, Ears, Eyes, Tail, Temperament.

Show mice will likely have:
-Larger size, ears, tails
-Longer bodies and tails
-Lower set ears
-More striking coloration
-Crisp and balanced markings/patterns
-Better coats
-Calmer demeanor

Each variety has distinct traits it is bred for. Some varieties have more traits than others, and some traits are more important depending on the section.

Pink eyed white selfs that are albino, for example, do not need any attention given to pigmentation. They are naturally void of it. This allows the breeder to focus purely on conformation, and often means the variety will be "typier" than others. Type simply refers to the traits mentioned in conformation that have to do with the structure of the mouse.

In contrast, marked and coated mice are judged purely on their markings and coats. In the FMBA most varieties under these classes can even be shown in any color, not just standardized colors. They tend to have less type and structurally look closer to pet/feeder mice, but with a huge emphasis on the coat.

Selfs, ticked, tan & fox, and pointed & shaded tend to be typier than marked, patterned, and coated. Of course, not all lines will follow this exactly, and many will be somewhere in between.

Not show dogs but, show mice!

In each photo description I have left the judges comments. On June 30th, 2021, they were entered into the FMBA 2021 Midsummer Virtual Show which had 145 entries. The only mouse I entered that placed was Pealed Bark, my lilac hereford buck in the 2nd photo. He took first placed in marked. :)

These are the 5 required angles for virtual entries: top, under/vent, left profile, right profile, and a head shot. Note that virtual shows do not accrue points that can be counted towards the annual total. In person shows function quite differently! Click here if you'd like to learn more.

** No mice were harmed in the making of these photos. They were scruffed for photos for a few seconds and then returned to their cages. Scruffing is a common procedure done during health checks, and when administering medication.** 

Pealed Bark

Entered as: Lilac Hereford buck
Genotype: a/a b/b d/d s/s

Judges Notes - Maggie Laiggaie:
AOLP Peeled Bark

This buck's facial markings are great, though slightly weighted to his right. His size and type are excellent, and good crisp edges abound. My only complaint is that his blaze and his under marking have connected, resulting in a mismark on his chin and throat. Still, a lovely specimen of the variety!

Split Branch

Entered as: Lilac Hereford Doe
Genotype: a/a b/b d/d s/s

Judges Notes - Maggie Laiggaie:
AOLP Split Branch

This doe is the lesser of the two Herefords here. The mismarks on her face include the spot on her left and the divot on the right. Her under connects to the chin as well. Still, she has great type and good crisp edges. Her size and type are great.

Wood Ash

Entered as: Blue Self Doe
Genotype: a/a* C/* d/d Re/re

She is actually very poor rex. I wanted feedback on her conformation which is why she was entered under the self class rather than coated. I plan to breed rex out of the line entirely.

Judges Notes - Maggie Laiggaie:
AOLP Wood Ash

This lady has excellently even color, and of a good shade on top. Under is lighter, though without any tan hairs. Coat seems oddly ruffled here, either an artefact of coated ancestry or as a condition issue. Type is lovely, and size impeccable. I'd like to see some dark toes and fuller ears.

First Snow

Entered as: White Self Doe
Genotype: c/c Go/*

Judges Notes - Maggie Laiggaie:
AOLP First Snow

Some mild yellowing across her middle and at the rump, but otherwise a very nice color. Great face, tail, and back. Try to get better coverage over those teats.