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Black vs Extreme Black

4637 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Megzilla
I know that genetically they're different.. But what is the visual difference in show types??
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There isn't a difference. a/a blacks can be every bit as black if bred correctly and selectively. I have never seen an extreme black, all of the show mice I've seen have been a/a blacks.

Sarah xxx
So show blacks should be as dark as Extreme blacks??
Aren't Jack's blacks ae/ae? :)

And yes. a/a blacks should be as dark as possible for show.
I mean I've never seen an extreme black in real life :) I don't think we actually have it in England. Just one tan hair is all that's needed to prove the mouse isn't 'ae'.

Sarah xxx
I was told mine are ae/ae but honestly I don't know how you'd know that outside of a lab. There is never a single yellow hair at all, but there are sometimes gray hairs near the vent (hairs that would normally be yellow on a regular black mouse), but not on the ears. At first, I thought my mice had yellow hairs on the ears and on the nose, but I realized that it's the skin peeking through! In places where the fur is naturally thinner, you can see the skin a little bit and that's the only break in color.

I don't think it generally matters whether the mice in question are black or extreme black, because (and this is important) they're both bred the same way: never any outcrosses (no other varieties are suitable), highly inbred, small, thinner than other varieties...also, both can improve other varieties (like Siamese or blue), but those varieties don't really improve them. They're both also shown (in the NMC, AFRMA, and ECMA, at least) simply as "black." So whether you're working with non-agouti ("black" or a/a) or extreme non-agouti ("extreme black or ae/ae), basically everything is the same. The only time I can see that they would be different is in the case of tan. A good black can make a black tan. A good extreme black cannot (there are only two places for an A-locus allele to go and a tan mouse needs at least one to be at/* whereas an extreme black requires both to be ae/ae and leaves no room for tan).

Here are some pictures:

Regular good blacks--you can see the yellow ears and the pale tail.

An extreme black weanling versus a regular good black weanling. Notice the difference in ear color and pigmentation on the fingers as well as tail...even though the regular black has good pigment overall, you can still see non-black pigment in the toes, ears and tail. This is a fault.

An extreme black female's belly.

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A good black's belly.

A regular pet store, i.e. "poor" black. This is the most common type of black mouse. You can see all kinds of unpigmented areas on this mouse.
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sorry i'm being dumb here Jack, how would someone hobby breeding make the blacks blacker Starting from a regular pet store doe?

Would it be a case of breeding her to the darkest buck i could find and choosing the babys to breed back to each other from how dark they are and the least faults and so on ? and continueing on down the gens or would it simply not be possible with such poor foundation stock?
Yup that's what you would do :) I've done this with chocolates a while back for a few generations and I made the line darker and richer. They were just pet type though
By the way thank you Jack!! Wish I could import some of your extreme blacks!!

Such a pity we don't have any in the UK...
You're not dumb! Everybody has questions!

The best way, if you're "starting from scratch," as it were, is like you said--breed only from the darkest blacks and those without pink toes or yellow ears. If they all have pink toes and yellow ears, select the ones with the least non-black pigment. That's how it was done originally in the 1800s. It definitely is possible to make improvements with 'starting from scratch,' but it takes a loooong time. It's taken around 120 years (and thousands of generations) to get mice as black as we have them now. If you draw a parallel to dogs, think of starting out with a wolf or a dingo and selectively breeding for dogs who resembled a pug. Is it possible? Absolutely. Will it take a long time? Yep.

Also, keep all other colors out of the breeding stock. If a chocolate, blue, or dove pops up (for example), do not breed from it. You want to get rid of all other recessives. I struggle with having Siamese in my blacks, and that's enough of a pain. I can't imagine having multiple recessives hiding around.

If you live anywhere in the Mid-western US, I probably can get you a couple good foundation blacks.
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Do you not like your blacks poping out siamese because you want your litters to be Just black?
haha no i'm in the north of england in a little black hole called durham theres no one near me bar Miss understood and i dont think she has blacks either. :) Thanks for the offer though. I'm just starting out at the moment, but i am hoping to get some siamese soon and hopefully fingers crossed some blues from Shiprat. So the blacks are i outcross option really but i'd like to improve them too as best i can.
Yep. I don't breed for Siamese, but the original extreme black I got from the continent had been used to darken Siamese. It's great for the Siamese, but now it seems I'm stuck with them, and I just want blacks! They carry nothing else at all, so I guess I could be considered lucky, but even with carrying "just" one recessive allele, it gets annoying! :lol:

A quarter of every other black X black litter is Siamese, it seems. In larger litters, I just cull them immediately (they are born without pigment like most mice, but my extreme black mice are born already black so its easy to see the difference), but in smaller litters I usually just leave them.
aww man shame you didnt live over here they get snapped up lol
Hehe...yeah. They're getting snapped up here too but we're so much farther spread out (geographically, I mean) than folks in the UK so it takes a while. I've released a few as pets, and I've encouraged anybody who wants to breed Siamese to take some but nobody seems to want to. Siamese has its own difficulties, particularly molting, and my part of the country has a semi-tropical climate for large parts of the year. Warm weather is horrible for Siamese's coats (acromelanistic coats favor cooler climates) so I can see why nobody wants to bother. If we lived in the North Pole it would be easier. lol
lol send them to me lol the weather here sucks
Artuntaure said:
the weather here sucks
Hehe yeah
It's been raining for about 4 day straight here! :D I love it! :love1
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