The KCNMB3 gene encodes one of a family of four auxiliary β subunits found in the mammalian genome that associate with Slo1 α subunits and regulate BK channel function. In humans, the KCNMB3 gene contains four N-terminal alternative exons that produce four functionally distinct β3 subunits, β3a-d. Three variants, β3a-c, exhibit kinetically distinct inactivation behaviors. Since investigation of the physiological roles of BK auxiliary subunits will depend on studies in rodents, here we have determined the identity and functional properties of mouse β3 variants. Whereas β1, β2, and β4 subunits exhibit 83.2%, 95.3%, and 93.8% identity between mouse and human, the mouse β3 subunit, excluding N-terminal splice variants, shares only 62.8% amino acid identity with its human counterpart. Based on an examination of the mouse genome and screening of mouse cDNA libraries, here we have identified only two N-terminal candidates, β3a and β3b, of the four found in humans. Both human and mouse β3a subunits produce a characteristic use-dependent inactivation. Surprisingly, whereas the hβ3b exhibits rapid inactivation, the putative mβ3b does not inactivate. Furthermore, unlike hβ3, the mβ3 subunit, irrespective of the N terminus, mediates a shift in gating to more negative potentials at a given Ca2+ concentration. The shift in gating gradually is lost following patch excision, suggesting that the gating shift involves some regulatory process dependent on the cytosolic milieu. Examination of additional genomes to assess conservation among splice variants suggests that the putative mβ3b N terminus may not be a true orthologue of the hβ3b N terminus and that both β3c and β3d appear likely to be primate-specific N-terminal variants. These results have three key implications: first, functional properties of homologous β3 subunits may differ among mammalian species; second, the specific physiological roles of homologous β3 subunits may differ among mammalian species; and, third, some β3 variants may be primate-specificion channel subunits.