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Pet Mice Types and Varieties – The Complete Guide

Pet mice are an amazing choice if you want to keep a little rodent at home. However, there is not just one type of mouse available for those who want one. There are actually many varieties and you can choose the one that appeals to you the most.

Mice can differ in color, smoothness of fur, eye color and so on. It is important to note that, even if they can be different, they belong to the same big family. It is called Mus musculus, which means house mouse in English.

Since we started breeding wild mice at home, they have changed quite a bit. Now there are significant differences between wild mice and pet mice. In this article, we are going to talk about the many types and varieties of pet mice.

We are also going to go into the complexity of crossbreeding and the results it comes with.

Self-Mice

The first thing that characterizes a Self-mouse when you take a look at it is that it is always plain colored. There are many varieties that fall into this category of mice and we are going to name a few of them. One of them is completely black. Besides their fur being black, they eyes are black too.

The interesting thing about black mice is that contrary to black rats, the color of their fur doesn’t fade with age. Once it grows out, it stays as dark as in the beginning throughout their lives. Then there is the chocolate mouse which has plain brown fur, a similar color to milk chocolate.

Varieties of Self mouse that have a blueish color are called Lilac or Dove. Completely white and blueish grey mice fall into this category as well. Other common Self mice include ginger mice or fawn and champagne, which is the best word to describe the color.

Of the abovementioned mice, the ones that have pink eyes are the champagne, lilac, dove and fawn varieties. White mice can have either black or pink eyes.

Tan Mice

Tan mice have two colors, with their tummy being bright orange or ginger while the rest of their fur can have a wide range of other colors. For example, there is a black tan mouse that looks adorable with the black and orange contrast.

Since there are so many varieties when it comes to tan mice, you can end up with some pretty unique ones. Moreover, you can’t see these variations in pet rats so if this appeals to you, then go ahead and buy a tan mouse instead.

Besides marked fancy mice, this is the category where you can find the most interesting color variations. We can only recommend these two categories for those who are looking for a pet mouse with a mix of colors.

Fox Mice

This is very similar to the Tan mouse type with the only difference that their tummy is white. The top can be pretty much any color but the underside is always white or almost white. If you are lucky, you can get one that is ginger or reddish brown on the top, which basically resembles a fox.

The white color on the underside also extends to the bottom of the jaw. The two colors are divided by a straight line.

Marked Mice

All types of marked mice have certain patches or patterns in their coloration. One popular variety is the Dutch, which has two dark patches over each eye while the rest of its fur is plain colored. These marks can be, of course, on any of the mouse’s body parts.

They can be of any color combined with small or big patches of white. For example, a Banded mouse is a colored one that has a white belt somewhere on the trunk of its body. Another popular marked mouse is the Rump white with a particular color on most of its body while it is plain white below the hips.

And, of course, mice can be tricolored just like some cats. These mice have not one, not two but three different colored patches. Tricolored mice can look similar to Tan mice, except that there is a blow with a different color on their tummy or on top.

Other Color Types and Patterns

Wild mice also have their own coloration, being yellowish white with shades of black here and there. They always have black eyes and the whole coloration is called Agouti. Then there is the Silver Agouti with the only difference that its base color is not yellowish white but silver.

Now as you have an idea about how a silver agouti looks like we can introduce you to the Chinchilla. This one comes with the only difference that its tummy is white. There are also Sable mice, which means that the fur is dark brown on the top and it slowly turns into light brown or ginger on the tummy.

The Cinnamon variety is quite self-explanatory, being ginger in color mixed with dark brown ticks. The Argente variety is the first red-colored one here and it has an interesting color combination. Their fur has the palest fawn color on the surface while being blue under it.

You can sometimes see through this outer color, which is when the blue fur reveals itself underneath. Siamese mice have a cream or almost white base color. Around their nose, ears and tail, their fur is dark brown which gradually turns into their base light color. Their eyes are always pink.

At last, but not least, there is the Brindle variety that has the most random pattern. There can be stripes, little spots and streaks of any kind. It is always very detailed and interesting. Their eyes can also vary, being either black or pink.

Not all fancy mouse types are named, since nature can do wonders when it comes to these little rodents. There are unstandardized varieties with characteristics that can hardly fit in any of the above mentioned categories.

They can have unique physical features, exciting colors and patterns that are unheard of. Fancy mouse breeders come up with new and interesting lines every day and it is impossible to list all of them. However, we don’t recommend you to start crossbreeding them by yourself.

Mice Categorized by Coat Type

Pet mice can be characterized by coat type as well. We are going to start with the Satin type, which comes with a slight difference. It is not your usual everyday mouse because this variety has a shiny, almost metallic coat. These mice look amazing when you shed some light on them.

The normal ones have a coat of medium length and it is also rather matte than shiny. On a hairless mouse, all you can see is pink because it does not have any fur. The skin of these pet mice is quite translucent as well.

The ones with much thicker hair than the normal variety have a silky fur. It is soft to the touch and they can look majestic with that rich fur of theirs. If you are looking for an interesting combination, you can get a Satin long haired mouse as well which has shiny long fur.

Frizzy mice are quite eye-catching with their unusually dense fur. It is not only that their whole coat looks frizzed but they also have curly whiskers that further complement their appearance. Of course, there is a Satin variety for these Frizzy mice as well.

The ones that can be categorized as short-haired are the basic satin and normal mice with a coat that is neither frizzed nor long.

Other Classification of Fancy Pet Mice

When we look at mice, there are no big differences between tail size, ear size or body size. In this regard, the general description is true for most of them. Fancy mice in general have an elongated body, ears that are quite large compared to their head and 8-9 inches in length.

This length is measured from the tail tip to the nose tip. However, they can differ in eye color, having pink or black eyes depending on which variety you have. Above, we have talked about the different varieties and the eye color each one has.

Can You Crossbreed Different Mouse Types?

You surely can but it will certainly require you to do some research first. Different types of fancy mice can be bred with each other for various reasons. It is usually about improving a certain quality that mice have. This way, you can breed mice with improved temperament, color, markings and better overall health.

There are various breeding methods and each of them has a different purpose. Moreover, knowing when to use each method is very important. For example, crossbreeding an established line with a lesser known one can be risky. In this case, it is not clear how healthy that new line of mice is going to be.

There are also benefits when it comes to inbreeding, which means breeding two mice of the same family. The purpose of this is usually to find out more about the hidden behavioral and health problems of a particular line.

This is also when specific colors and markings can appear in offspring as a result. After the desired result is there, one can continue line breeding the fancy mice. Continuously inbreeding mice, however, is not a good idea because it can compromise the health of each next generation more and more.

In line breeding, no close relatives are involved and it is done in order to maintain the good qualities of a certain type of fancy mouse. This means that, for example, cousins, uncle and niece, nephew and aunt can be bred with each other to maintain the line.

With this method, one should look to breed the best available specimens with each other. Over time, traits in the line will be more and more emphasized with every next generation. They basically become uniform over time.

Do Different Types of Mice Get Along?

This is where things get complicated because as you crossbreed or inbreed mice, different traits will become dominant. Although each and every fancy mouse has a unique personality, this is not such a big issue. Since they are all mice, they all have the same baseline treats.

They are all going to behave the same way in certain situations. This includes breeding periods, sleeping habits, communication with each other and such. There are not going to be big differences in how they treat each other. For example, some of them can be more aggressive than the others.

But this is an issue that can be present between any two or more mouse you keep in the cage. Two mice of the same type can attack each other as well. If so, you are going to have to separate them regardless of their type. In general, female mice can be kept together while it is risky to keep males in the same cage.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about the different types and varieties of fancy mice. Crossbreeding is a whole scientific topic and there are many variables that need to be considered. Nevertheless, there are some common types of mice that are quite eye-catchy.

If you are lucky, you can choose from a wide range of mice in your local pet store that all look different. Which one do you prefer? Frizzed, long-haired, ginger or hairless ones? Just like with dogs and cats, we have the luxury to choose the one we like the most.

In general, all the mice we have talked about have the same needs and complex personalities as well. Keeping different types of mice together in the same cage is not an issue either, as the same rules apply to all mice.

Fortunately, others have done the hard work and research and ended up with some of the most interesting color and pattern variations. Hopefully, this article has helped you learn more about the different branches of the large fancy mouse family.

avatar I’m Peter King, writer and editor of this blog. I’m a lifelong animal advocate and volunteer at the Animal Rescue League. On this blog I help people learn about pet mice. As a responsible pet owner, you should learn about your pet’s need before getting it. If you have any question or need help, please leave your comment below.

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