With the completion of the mouse genome sequence an essential task for biomedical sciences in the twenty-first century will be the generation and functional analysis of mouse models for every gene in the mammalian genome. More than 30,000 mutations in ES cells will be engineered and thousands of mouse disease models will become available over the coming years by the collaborative effort of the International Mouse Knockout Consortium. In order to realize the full value of the mouse models proper characterization, archiving and dissemination of mouse disease models to the research community have to be performed. Phenotyping centers (mouse clinics) provide the necessary capacity, broad expertise, equipment, and infrastructure to carry out large-scale systemic first-line phenotyping. Using the example of the German Mouse Clinic (GMC) we will introduce the reader to the different aspects of the organization of a mouse clinic and present selected methods used in first-line phenotyping.