The Reln-rl-orl mutation is characterized by a marked deficit in cerebellar granule cell and Purkinje cell number as well as ectopias in cerebellum, hippocampus, and neocortex. By comparison to Balb/c controls, Reln-rl-orl mutants did not alternate spontaneously in a T-maze and were deficient for visuomotor guidance in a water maze. Despite cerebellar ataxia and motor coordination impairments on stationary beam, coat-hanger, and rotorod tests, the horizontal motor activity of Reln-rl-orl mutants was not reduced in an open-field. The elevated cytochrome oxidase (CO) activity in Purkinje cells and the reduced CO activity in the roof nuclei (interpositus and dentate) of the mutants were associated with poor performance on the small stationary beam. In addition, deficient CO activity of the granular layer of the motor cortex was associated with shorter latencies before falling from the larger stationary beam and a lower number of rears in the open-field. Conversely, elevated CO activity in the polymorphic layer of primary somatosensory cortex was congruent with higher latencies before falling from the same apparatus, indicating functional compensation.