1. American Curl
The most distinguishing feature of the American Curl is its unusual ears, which curl backward.
This is due to a natural mutation.
All true American Curls trace their ancestry back to Shulamith, the American Curl breed’s mother who was rescued in 1981.
There are longhair and shorthair breeds.
This new breed has a lively, affectionate, and even temperament.
Some associations refer to the shorthaired variety as the “Shorthair Curl.”
Interesting breed fact: The American Curl rose from stray to pedigreed cat in an unusually short period of time.
TICA granted it championship status for the first time in 1987, and CFA granted it championship status for the first time in 1993.
The Birman, also known as the “Sacred Cat of Burma,” has a number of fantastic legends surrounding its origin.
The breed first appeared in France in 1919, when a pregnant female from Burma was imported (the male died en route).
A French cat registry was the first to recognize the breed for championship status.
The breed name Birman derives from the French name Sacre de Birmanie.
Birmans first appeared in the United States in 1959, and five years later in the United Kingdom.
It was granted championship status in the GCCF in 1966 and by the CFA in 1967.
It is a semi-longhaired cat that is only accepted in the pointed pattern.
It differs from other pointed cats not only by its moderately stocky body type, but also by its four white feet.
On show cats, the pattern of the Birman’s “gloves and laces” is very precise.
Birmans are gentle, quiet cats with a strong “people” instinct.
They do not require daily grooming despite their long hair.
With its sleek, glossy coat and bright eyes, the Bombay looks like a miniature black panther.
It was bred from the Burmese and has the Burmese’s muscular body type and affectionate, mellow temperament.
The Bombay was developed in the United States in the 1950s by crossing Burmese with black American Shorthairs, and in the United Kingdom by crossing Burmese with black domestic cats.
Bombay cats are always dark in color.
The CFA granted it championship status in 1978.
Bombays are classified as Asian cat breeds in the United Kingdom.
4. Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Maus do resemble paintings of ancient Egyptian cats, but this does not prove that they are Egyptian in origin.
Natalie Troubetskoy, a Russian princess, brought the first documented Maus to the United States in 1956.
Baba, a silver female, was the Egyptian Mau breed’s matriarch.
These active, athletic cats have the randomly-spotted tabby pattern of wild cats but are completely domesticated.
In fact, the Mau is the only naturally occurring pedigreed spotted domestic cat breed.
It is a devoted and intelligent breed with expressive green eyes and a slightly “worried” expression.
They are acceptable in bronze, silver, and black smoke.
CFF accepted them for the first time in 1968.
An interesting breed fact: Egyptian Maus are the fastest domestic cat breed.
Maus have been clocked at speeds exceeding 30 mph (48 kph).
The Himalayan has the stocky body type, long hair, and calm temperament of the Persian, but the Siamese pointed pattern.
The breed was created in the 1930s by breeders who wanted to combine the body type of the Persian cat with the eye-catching colorpoint markings of the Siamese.
(Note to pet buyers: The Siamese is not and has not been used in responsible Himalayan breeding programs for decades.
Anyone attempting to sell “Siamese-Himalayan mixes” or “Siamese-Persian mixes” is attempting to sell mixed-breed cats rather than true Himalayans).
The Colourpoint Longhair was accepted by the GCCF for the first time in 1957.
Himalayans are gentle, docile cats who enjoy playing.
The term “docile” does not imply “inactive”!
Their coats are long and luxurious, and they mat easily.
To keep their coats free of painful mats, they must be groomed on a daily basis.
Himalayans are considered part of the Persian breed by some associations, such as the CFA.
The Himalayan is known as the Colourpoint Longhair in the United Kingdom.
The Javanese is similar to the Balinese, but it can be found in the lynx (tabby) point and tortie point patterns, as well as other point colors like red and cream.
Most associations consider these cats to be a subset of the Balinese breed rather than a separate breed.
CFA recognized the Javanese as a distinct breed from the Balinese in 1979.
Oriental Longhairs are known as Javanese in Europe, so Europeans may want to look at this breeder list as well.
This breed is very active, inquisitive, and “busy.”
They enjoy getting involved in whatever their “people” are up to.
The Javanese, like their parent breed, the Siamese, is talkative and almost impossible to acrobat.
The only hole a Javanese cannot climb into is one that is too small to fit the skull through.
The Munchkin, like the Dachshund dog, has short legs as a result of a natural mutation.
Although short-legged cats appeared in veterinary literature throughout the twentieth century, it is one of the newest breeds of cat.
Modern Munchkins can be traced back to a black short-legged cat named Blackberry, who was discovered living under a pickup truck in Louisiana in 1983.
Munchkins were first shown in 1991 and were given NBC (new breed or color) status in 1995.
It is still regarded as experimental and is not widely accepted.
Munchkins have yet to exhibit the back or spinal problems seen in their canine counterparts, the Dachshund.
Munchkins are gregarious and affectionate felines.
Munchkins can run, climb, and jump despite their short legs, though not as high as their long-legged cousins.
Their movements are said to be similar to those of ferrets.
They come in a variety of colors and styles, including long and short hair.
The Ragdoll is best known for its calm and docile demeanor.
It is one of the gentlest and most laid-back breeds.
The name “Ragdoll” comes from the fact that many of these cats collapse completely when picked up.
The breed began in the 1960s in California with a cat named Josephine.
The colorful breed founder told several wild and scientifically impossible stories about the origin and development of the Ragdoll breed, including extraterrestrials, kittens’ traits and personalities being affected by the mother being hit by a car, and genetic alteration using human genes.
None of these legends can be proven scientifically.
What is known is that this breed has been selectively bred for desirable traits such as large size, docility, and the ability to go limp in the arms like a rag doll – hence the cat’s name – over many years.
Early breeding programs included Persians, Birmans, Burmese, and domestics.
The Ragdoll is a large, semi-longhaired cat with a pointed (Siamese) pattern that comes in three colors: colorpoint, bicolor, and mitted.
They are available in the following point colors: seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac, with or without markings on the face and feet.
They are also available in nonstandard colors, such as red and lynx point, in some associations.
The Ragdoll is the most populous fully domestic cat breed.
Adult males can weigh more than 20 pounds.
Their long coats require little maintenance.
Russia’s native semi-longhair is known as a Siberian.
This large, powerful cat is still quite rare in the United States, though it is more common in Asia and Europe.
The first Siberians were brought to the United States in 1990, but little is known about their early history and development.
The most popular color is brown tabby, but it is acceptable in all other colors as well.
This breed has a thick triple coat with a full ruff that thickens in the winter.
The coat is a little oily and very water-resistant, which may have evolved to help it survive the harsh Russian winters.
The cat’s personality is frequently described as dog-like, as they are not shy around strangers.
It is a breed that is devoted, affectionate, and playful.
Although some people claim that the Siberian cat is hypoallergenic, there is no such thing.
Some people claim that they do not produce dander or a specific protein in their saliva, but there has been no scientific study or proof of this claim to date.
The Snowshoe originated in the early 1960s in the United States as a cross between the American Shorthair and the Siamese, producing a sturdy, pointed cat with white markings on the face, chest, and feet.
It comes in the standard Siamese colors, most notably seal, chocolate, lilac, and blue, as well as two patterns, mitted and bicolor.
It is also available in the colors red (flame), cream, cinnamon, and fawn.
Outcrosses between American Shorthairs, Oriental Shorthairs, and Siamese are still legal.
The Snowshoe is a lively breed that prefers to live indoors.
It is affectionate, playful, and laid back, combining some of the best characteristics of its parent breeds.
Snowshoes are still a rare breed.
The Tonkinese was created by combining the Burmese and Siamese breeds.
In the mid-1960s, the first purposeful Burmese-Siamese crosses that resulted in the modern Tonkinese breed were bred in Canada.
This playful, people-oriented breed has a medium body and a sleek, soft coat, and it has a unique pattern known as “mink”: it is pointed like a Siamese, but the body is colored in a shade that complements the point color, and the eyes are aqua in shade.
“Tonks” come in a variety of colors that fall somewhere between their Burmese and Siamese parent breeds.
Tonkinese pets are also available in solid (similar to Burmese) and dark colorpoints (like the Siamese).
Non-mink colors are also accepted for championship competition in some associations.
With time, the coat darkens.
It also combines many of the best characteristics of the parent breeds: affectionate, intelligent, people-loving, and playful, though less vocal than the Siamese.