LINE-1 is a family of repetitive DNA sequences interspersed among mammalian genes. In the mouse haploid genome there are about 100,000 LINE-1 copies. We asked if the subspecies Mus spretus and Mus domesticus have developed species-specific LINE-1 subfamilies. Sequences from 14 M. spretus LINE-1 elements were obtained and compared to M. domesticus LINE-1 sequences. Using a molecular phylogenetic tree we identified several differences shared among a subset of young repeats in one or the other species as candidates for species-specific LINE-1 variants. Species specificity was tested using oligonucleotide probes complementary to each putative species-specific variant. When hybridized to genomic DNAs, single-variant probes detected an expanded number of elements in the expected mouse. In the other species these probes detected a smaller number of matches consistent with the average rate of random divergence among LINE-1 elements. It was further found that the combination of two species-specific sequence differences in the same probe reduced the detection background in the wrong species below our detection limit.