This article is from the Spring 1999 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Colors & Coats
By Nichole Royer
The Metzger Family, West Portsmouth, OH
QDo you have any idea if you will be printing articles on Frizzie mice. We have Long Haired Satins and once in awhile we get Frizzies, but as they get older they lose a lot of their frizzieness. We would love to hear from others that raise Frizzies.
AFrizzie mice are fun to breed and work with, though we don’t see too many of them at shows. This is for exactly the reason you mention.
Most Frizzies are just beautiful as babies. They have that tight plush curl that makes them so distinctive. Unfortunately, as they age they lose much of their curl. Males hold more of their curl than females, and some females end up looking like normal-coated mice with slightly “tweaked” hair.
Many lines of Frizzies are prone to a medical problem known within the fancy as “Frizzie Rot.” The symptoms are usually scabs around the face and on the ears that cause the mice to scratch at themselves. Eventually, pieces of the ears will disintegrate, and in cases allowed to continue to go unchecked, we have seen mice with no ears and bald faces covered in scabs. Though some people have had good luck treating Frizzie Rot by overdosing with anti-parasitic compounds (i.e. frequent doses of ivermectin), others have found this to be ineffective and the only solution is euthanasia when the symptoms compromise the mouse’s quality of life. Frizzie Rot does seem to have a genetic basis—affected animals produce affected offspring. For this reason, no mice showing signs of Frizzie Rot should be used in a breeding program.
The Frizzie trait is easy to breed, and it can be fun to produce in many colors. To be honest, one of the most stunning is a really good Pink-Eyed White Frizzie which closely resembles a mobile cotton ball. The Frizzie trait is a simple recessive, each parent needing to be Frizzie themselves or carrying Frizzie in order to produce Frizzie offspring. Two Frizzies bred together will produce a litter of all Frizzie offspring. A Frizzie bred to a normal-coated mouse (who does not carry the Frizzie trait) will produce normal-coated offspring. If those offspring are then bred together, they will have a small number of Frizzie babies.
In the book Exhibition and Pet Mice by Tony Cooke (an English fancier), two types of curly coated mice are mentioned—the Astrex and the Rex. Though the Astrex is clearly not the same as our Frizzie (being a dominant characteristic), the Rex mouse mentioned does appear to be the same. Interestingly, the author notes that in the early 1970s he obtained both a Satin mouse and a Rex mouse from a laboratory. These two mice were apparently the introduction of both these traits into the English mouse fancy. Unfortunately, no such history is available for the Frizzie mice in this country. Most have simply been discovered in pet shops.