New breeds of cats regularly appear. How are they created? What purpose ? Are they the subject of a framework regulatory ? Our responses.
How are cat breeds created?
The creation of a breed of cats requires that phenotypes (all the visible characteristics of an organism) are unique. This requirement excludes in fact the crossing between two already existing breeds. Research therefore aims to verify that the new characteristics will not disappear. Major selection work thus consists of stabilize these particular traits over generations and to avoid the transmission of genetic diseases, too much consanguinity as well as the appearance of tares. If the kittens retain their distinctive features, breeders will seek recognition of the breed.
How is a new breed of cat recognized?
Before benefiting from a recognition, the breed is observed at length to ensure that the physical criteria are set so persistent. During the observation phase, felines can only participate in exhibitions in the “house cats” category (without pedigree). If these public events offer breeders an interesting showcase to present their new breed, they cannot claim to obtain titles. When several generations have been examined and the evolution of the breed is considered stabilized, the associations give it the status of “new breed”. A standard is written to guide breeders in their selection of breeders.
Is the creation of breeds regulated?
Since the law of January 6, 1999, a cat born in France can be considered as “purebred” if it has a pedigree issued by the Official Book of Feline Origins (LOOF), the only body authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture to keep an official genealogy. The cat is not a utilitarian animal, only criteria aesthetic president of the creation of a new race. However, it is France’s principle that the characteristics do not jeopardize the health or the comfort of the animal. The development of a new breed is more or less well supervised depending on the country, hence the recent appearance of varieties with singular : curly coat, curled ears (forward or back), hairless, tailless, dwarf size.
What is a hybrid cat?
The last decades have been marked by the marriage of pussies servants with felines savages. Mating gave birth to specimens with unusually patterned coats, high cheekbones and a stately physique. The first and second generation animals (called F1 and F2) still have characteristics that can be problematic: fearful, they do not allow themselves to be approached by strangers, are nocturnal and easily get their claws out. Booming in many countries, the sale illegal of hybrids had the consequences of putting on the market felines of the unknown generation. Today, French regulations consider all animals resulting from hybridization as savages up to the fourth generation. The fifth becomes domesticated, on condition of justifying a LOOF affiliation. Examples of hybrid cats:
- The Chausie is the first hybrid breed resulting from the cross between the Abyssinian and a wild cat (Felis chaus) from Egypt and Southeast Asia. The animal gained “new breed” status in 2003 from the TICA (The International Cat Association);
- The Savannah was recognized by the LOOF in 2007. This panther-like breed was born in the United States twenty years earlier following a mating between a Bengal domestic cat and a serval from the African savannah;
- The Toyger, a mixture of “toy” (toy) and “tiger” (tiger), was developed in 1980 in the United States with the aim of finding all the physical characteristics of the tiger in domestic cats.
Dwarf cats: a creation?
Achondroplasia is a constitutional disease of the bone producing a dwarfism with shortening of the root of the limbs. Some forms ofachondroplasia have been used to develop new breeds of cats with adorable stature. In view of the ethical questions raised by this practice, certain national and international feline groups do not recognize or support the miniaturization felines. Other breeds originate from a genetic mutation, that is to say from a biological modification registered in their hereditary heritage and therefore transmissible to their descendants. Among the small breeds we can cite:
- The Munchkin : appeared in the United States in the eighties, it is the result of a genetic mutation of an alley cat which had short legs, a feature maintained by breeders to give birth to the breed;
- The Minskin: short on legs, it is hairless but can sport a light satin down. It comes from the cross between Munchkin, Sphynx, Devon Rex and Burmese;
- Singapura : Weighing only 2 to 3 kg, it is considered the smallest breed of cats in the world. Discovered in 1970 in Singapore, it was imported to the United States and then reproduced;
- The Korat : native to Thailand, it measures up to 25 cm and weighs an average of 2.5 kg. The first imports of the breed to the United States date from the sixties and 1979 for France;
- The Skookum: it is distinguished by its curly coat and its 15 centimeters high in adulthood. It is the result of a cross between Munchkin and Laperm operated in the nineties.
5 new cat breeds to discover
Resulting from genetic mutations or hybrid crosses, new breeds of cats have appeared in recent years such as:
- The Donskoy : with the Peterbald and the Sphynx, this feline coming from Russia is one of the rare breeds without hair;
- LaPerm : born in the United States at the beginning of the eighties, it is characterized by its wavy coat. It comes from a cross with a cat having a curly coat due to a natural genetic mutation;
- The Lykoi (wolf in Greek): devoid of undercoat and naked around the eyes, nose, ears and mouth, this feline is the result of a natural mutation that appeared in a domestic Shorthair cat;
- The American Bobtail : developed at the end of the sixties, this breed is distinguished by its truncated tail which represents about a third of the normal size of a cat’s tail;
- Ojos azules (blue eyes in Spanish): he comes from the United States and stands out with his azure gaze whatever the color of his dress;
- Ceylon : this cat borrows some characteristics of Felis chaus. Discovered in the early eighties in Sri Lanka, he wears a short-haired dress with a Ticked tabby pattern.
Developed for commercial purposes, the new cat breeds aim to satisfy feline lovers in search of exoticism. However, as seen previously, their recognition only occurs at the end of an observation carried out on several generations. For ethical reasons, some national and international organizations ensure that manipulations do not cause harm. prejudice to the animal, even if it means not recognizing a breed, not authorizing it in competitions or exhibitions. Vigilance intended to place limits to the sorcerer’s apprentices!