History of the National Mouse Club
Although there is documentation to support the evidence of an early mouse fancy in Japan during the late 1700's, even to the extent of the publication of a booklet on breeding "curious varieties", the fancy did not begin to emerge in its present form until appoximately 100 years later.
In the early 1880's mouse breeders attempted to encourage small livestock clubs to add a few mouse classes to their show schedules, and as a result, the first reported class for mice was at Oxford in 1892. By 1895 it was clear that there was enough support to form a club, and the National Mouse Club was formed, with some thirty members joining during the first year. The first president was Mr. Sam Woodiwiss, and Mr. Enoch Welburn was the first secretary. The first N.M.C. supported show was held in Lincoln that same year (1895) and in 1995 our Centennial show returned to it's roots with a show held at Scathern, a village close to the City of Lincoln.
In 1897 Mr Walter Maxey (pictured left in the early 1900's), who had originally declined the post of secretary, stating that he was too young for the position, was appointed to that position and remained as secretary until 1906. Walter Maxey produced a small show cage, the design of which is still used today, and known simply as a "Maxey". Walter Maxey also organised the very first "mice only" show at Stratford, East London, in 1897. Walter Maxey is still affectionately known as the "Father of the Fancy" and retained his interest in mice until his death at the age of 82 in 1949.
Fancy mice are mainly descended from the common house mouse (Mus musculus). Around 1905 existing fancy mice were crossed with pink eyed Japanese Waltzing mice (Mus musculus wagneir). This work, done by Darbyshire, introduced the pink eyed gene into the fancy, resulting in the creation of several new colour variations. This pink eyed gene should not be confused with albino mice which are the result of quite different genetic formulations.
There are now approximately 40 standardised varieties with up to 200 possible variations, giving a mouse colour and pattern, or even coat type, that will appeal to everyone!