Spiny Mouse Breeding

Breeding White Spot

-Spiny mouse markings, the one and only. And the most difficult to breed!

So, here it is: information about breeding Egyptian spiny mouse markings Agouti White Spot. This information is gathered from small scale breeding, through trial and error. Most of all, the experience is from the difficulty of the breeding! Here's how you can avoid the worst mistakes with the white spots.

According to the standard, the spotted spiny mouse looks something like the following.

The spot is as symmetric and white as possible. The spot to be as large as possible and situated in the middle of forehead. Tip of tail is light. Body color to meet the standard laid down for it.

... But oh so few do look like that. So, where is the problem? Let's see...

Problem Number 1: Inheritance

The following factor should be remembered: white spot is a recessive gene. This means that when mated with an unmarked, only unmarked spinies will be born. Furthermore there are other problems involved: white spot to white spot mating can produce anything, usually only Agouti.

Our experiences about the incidence mentioned we didn't quite understand. That means, we really thought that these spiny mice actually were genetically spotted, only that the spot was unnoticeable in the phenotype. But when we combined these spinies with their parents we got loads of cold water on our necks... Agouti, Agouti, Agouti, but where were the Spots?

So, Agouti White Spot is a problematic variety to breed. Using spiny mice with only Agouti background is solely harmful. Here we get on to the next problem, here under the same subtitle.

That is, if you mate only marked animals together, you will end up with high percentage of inbreeding. Small example is in place here:

We started our breeding with only one male and one female, the only spotted ones we managed to find. From their litter we chose one male for further breeding and mated him with his mother. From this litter we took one female and mated her with her father... And from the babies born the male was mated with her mother... And so forth. This way you can, at least, get the spotting gene stronger in the strain, but the level of inbreeding is a problem.

That's it about the inheritance, on to the next problem...

Problem Number 2: Markings

Small spiny mouse baby who still has its baby coat on, may at first look like an excellent example of the variety. It's such a pity that with every molt the spot on the forehead gets more dim and smaller, until you can notice the spot only with a magnifying glass. The tail spot is, luckily, more permanent although you can't expect it to show on very small babies.

What to do? First of all, let's go back to PROBLEM NUMBER 1, that is NO AGOUTI to AGOUTI WHITE SPOT matings. You should also select the spinies with the largest head spots for future breeding.

Sounds difficult? No, wait a minute. This isn't over yet! More problems are at hand...

Problem Number 3: Basic Colour

The basic color should be as laid down in the standard, but in any case it does get a little lighter. You should never let the basic color get too light. If you do this, you will end up with a pile of yellow white spot spiny mice. At this stage it's too late to do much good about it. Where do you search for better color, when crossing with an Agouti will get you back to problem number 2?!!?!!

So, along with the markings, you should keep as dark babies as possible, in order to keep the color as red as possible when they grow up. You can spot (pun intended) the dark babies by their darker tails and ears. Furthermore, it should be noted that with a darker basic color, the markings show a little better.

Last but not least:

Problem Number 4: Size and Type

It feels like everything which is in contrary to the standard is connected with the white spot markings! Most spotted spinies have a long and leggy type and small size.

This problem can't be helped with anything else than selecting the breeding animals carefully. However, the stricter requirements you place, the more difficult it will be to find suitable breeding animals. So, you should choose the qualities in some kind of "order of problems".

Additional problem is temperament, even though we didn't give it a subtitle of its own, as we don't want to make blanket statements. But, but... This may be of our own doing: at the very beginning we were forced to break our own rule nro one (= never use bad tempered animals for breeding) in order to get a strain of white spots in Finland. So, all the spinies of this variety seem to be more or less lively, depending on the individual. But what can you do, we had to get a strain! The liveliness is diminishing, with successive generations the Agouti White Spots will be as calm as other Egyptian spiny mice.

Good luck.

Text: Lotta Ahlfors & Kaisa Kattilakoski