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The Unstandardised Mouse


What is an unstandardised mouse?
An unstandardised mouse is a mouse which exhibits a characteristic that is not described in a standard laid down by the National Mouse Club. It may be of a different colour, coat pattern or even physical conformation (e.g. manx, hairless, dumbo) to those varieties of mice which are currently accepted and can be shown in normal classes at organised shows. New mutations may be standardised in the future in accordance with proper NMC procedure upon application to the Executive Committee and trialling of the variety on the show bench (unstandardised classes, possibly leading to a provisional and then full standard being drawn up and accepted).

Where can unstandardised mice be shown?
These mice can only be entered in special unstandardised classes, which are not on the schedule for every show. There may only be a few of these classes per show year, so an exhibitor may have to wait several months before he can show the variety he has been working with (or the surprise baby that has turned up in a litter).

Why should we bother with unstandardised mice?
Although unstandardised mice are not eligible to compete in any other class than unstandardised (they cannot compete in a normal section at a show and therefore cannot win any of the top honours), it is still important that exhibitors continue to work on these varieties. In order to introduce more varieties to the show bench we must carry on experimenting – after all, this is how we achieved almost all of the standardised varieties available today. If no-one carried out experimental breeding we would never develop anything different.

What sort of qualities make an unstandardised mouse worth exhibiting?
Any mouse that an exhibitor wishes to show as unstandardised successfully (i.e. that may be granted a provisional standard) must be significantly different from an existing variety to merit a separate standard. For example, many people are against the standardisation of the colour known as ‘stone’ because it is a by-product of breeding black eyed creams and is therefore not considered distinct enough.

It may be that a new combination of existing varieties is put forward, such as a chinchilla or fox rumpwhite or a banded fox. Some people argue against these examples being standardised because the white belly means that the demarcation line under the mouse is no longer visible.

In the UK the more extreme mutations (e.g. hairless, manx and dumbo) are not standardised. These can of course be improved in the same way as any other variety but the objections are moral as well as aesthetic in many cases, whether justified or not. It is not likely that these will be granted a provisional standard any time in the near future in the UK.

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