Introduction to Cat Breeds

If well everybody understands what you mean when you talk about, for example, a Siamese cat, there are several factors that complicate the question of the races.

In first place, the number of  acknowledged races by the feline associations varies depending on the country. For example, the main British association, the governing council of the cat fancy, acknowledges about 100 races and varieties, while on north America they acknowledge approximately half f them. Likewise, an acknowledged race in one country may be merely a chromatic variety in another.

Acknowledged Breeds
In second place, the number of acknowledged races is not fixed in time or the same in the whole world. At anytime a “new” race might come out, which usually signifies new varieties of the already acknowledged races, although it also could be spontaneous mutations, as with the sphinx race.

While some recent races pass through a period of preliminary tests, probably without any rights to participate in competitions, to others it is given the category of provisional (that only excludes them to compete for the title of champion) and there are those that enjoy full acknowledgment or the category to compete in championships.

For it, they usually demand for the race to count with at least 100 members that fulfill the standard.

For the acknowledgment of “new” varieties of colors within a race you follow the same steps.

Some breeders are annoyed by this process, which they impute to the conservativeness of the feline associations, and it is comprehensible that with the emotions aroused for the development of a new variety and the wish to develop it to its maximum as fast as possible, the process of acknowledgment must seem frustrating.

But the rest period, that can last during several feline generations, respond to laudable intentions: to guarantee that the new race or variety is really new, that there are enough breeders interested in it, that there are enough exemplars born to develop the race or variety without incurring in malpractice of consanguinity, that you may establish satisfactory race standards and, overall, that no genetic problems will arise in the next generations.

In this place, the terminology used by the breeders sometimes varies from one country to another and even within the feline associations of each country. For example, the race denominated in Great Britain as color point longhair in the United States is known as Himalayan, and a cat that for an American breeder or for one inscribed the international feline federation is a Turk angora in Great Britain it is denominated as angora.

There also exists a national variation in the denomination of the colors and the criterions used to evaluate an ideal specimen of a race.

The number of cats in a race varies greatly according to the cases.

Some races, like the Siamese cat and  the Persian, have a great population and sometimes it would seem that they dominate the world of feline exhibitions. Others, as the sphinx or the rex, counts with few numbers and are almost unknown to an amateur.

In general, a race established during a very long time and are very much extended geographically have less probabilities of presenting breeding problems, so in a way it is preferable that all the new pedigree cat breeders would choose some well established race.

The standard of a race is a detailed description of all the physical characteristics of a cat and it starts from the base that a perfect example of a race or variety is evaluated with 100 points.

In the practice, the standard is more eminent in the relation with the breeding than with the exhibition, due that, although the judges used them as guides, they are usually more preoccupy for making a total valuation of the cat than of its race. The assignation of points can vary from race to race in the different countries, but in general the points go to the head, eyes (form and color), cloak, the form and constitution of the body and even the harmony of the whole and the refinement of the exemplary.

All the owners that have in mind to show their cats in exhibition must study the race standard of their animals, to know it perfectly and to have it as reference at the time of evaluating the value of the exemplary for an exhibition.

If well it is that not every cat can win in an event, it has no sense to present a cat that doesn’t have any possibility.

Evidently, there are many people that have cats with pedigree and they enjoy of their company without needing to exhibit them or having to breed them.

Breeders usually put on sale the whelps that, in spite of having a perfect pedigree, for one reason or another are not considered apt for breeding or for exhibiting. They are usually sold with the quality of “domestic” or “of house”.

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