Different Kinds of Mice

By Lee Parker

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Fancy mice, also known as hobby mice, are rodents of the house mouse species (Mus musculus) that have been domesticated and bred specifically for looks and personality. Shows are held all over the world for fancy mice, and standards have been created by the Rat and Mice Club of America as well as the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association to clarify which color and body markings are standard and acceptable for exhibition. These five different kinds of mice colors and patterns can enter into shows, accept awards and be considered pedigree-eligible.

Self

In self fancy mice, the entire body of the mouse is one color, with no highlights, shading or patches. The colors themselves can be any variety, ranging from standard black and white to more exotic champagne, dove, lilac and gold. Albino is determined to be different from white by the color of the fancy mouse's eyes and is sometimes referred to as PEW, or pink-eyed white. There are two additional varieties of white: BEW, or brown-eyed white, and REW, or ruby-eyed white. Ruby-eyed white self mice are not albino and should not be classified as such.

Marked

There are seven recognized markings for the fancy mouse, and the markings can be any one of the recognized colors. Fancy mice can be Dutch, with colored oval eye patches and a rear rump patch; banded, with a solid band of color encircling their middle; broken marked, broken merle and even marked, all of which are highly spotted; Hereford, a self mouse with a white face; and rump whites, which are distinguished by an all-white rear. The variegated mouse sports any color or coat type splashed across its body, and the spotted tan can be any combination of marking, color and coat type, but with a tan belly.

Tan and Fox

The tan fancy mouse is easily distinguished by featuring any one of the recognized colors on the top half of the body, plus a tan to reddish underbelly. Similar to the tan mouse is the fox; the same rules apply, but the underbelly is more of a light beige to as near as white as possible for show. For fancy mice in exhibition, the line must be clearly defined, running across the side, chest and jaws.

AOC

AOC is an acronym in fancy mice association that means "any other color." AOC mice sport undercoats and ticking that contrast with one another. Popular AOC colors include agouti, a brown to tan mouse with a dark blue-grey undercoat, and pearl, a pale silver mouse with a white undercoat. The hairs on the pearl fancy mouse are each tipped in a dark grey or black. The coloration of AOC mice are not found in any of the other groupings.

AOCP

AOCP stands for "any other color pattern," and like AOC colors, these patterns are not found in the other standard groupings seen above. AOCP mice sport exotic patterns such as blue point Siamese, with blue-tipped ears, noses and tail roots; roan, a double pattern of white and any other color that is not ticking; and brindle, a tiger striping of blended colors that is similar to the coloring of brindled dogs. In some cases, both AOC and AOCP mice are grouped together and labeled AOV, or "any other variety."

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