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The British Ragdoll Cat Club
Member of the GCCF
Breeding Policy for the Ragdoll Breed
Documented evidence about the origin of the Ragdoll remains vague, but it is believed that the breed’s originator, Mrs Ann Baker of Riverside, California, acquired 3 foundation cats from a Mrs Pennel; a Seal Mitted male with a white nose blaze named Daddy Warbucks, who was derived from Josephine, a white non pedigree female and an unknown sire and it was this appearance that Ann Baker described as the 'Ragdoll look' . It is still the policy of The British Ragdoll Cat Club to maintain this early type, so the Ragdolls of today still appear similar to those Ragdolls that founded the breed.
Mrs Baker also acquired two further daughters of Josephine’s; Buckwheat, a black self sired by Blackie and Fugianna, a seal bicolour, sired by Daddy Warbucks. In due course Buckwheat was mated to Daddy Warbucks and in June 1965 she produced the first kittens that were registered as Ragdolls, Raggedy Ann Kyoto and Raggedy Ann Tiki. Mrs Baker then devised her own ‘unique’ breeding programme; whereby kittens descended from Tiki were categorised as ‘the dark side’ and from Fugianna ‘the light side,’ the theory being to create genetic diversification by mating cats descended from one side to cats descended from the other. This practice continued for almost thirty years until the early 1990’s by which time it was felt that adequate diversification had been achieved.
TBRCC recommends that breeders should always check the compatibility of prospective parent Ragdolls, not only by health and type, but that the pedigrees avoid repetition of common ancestors. Our Stud Registrar will be happy to check the inbreeding co-efficient for proposed matings so that breeders can achieve as diverse pedigrees as possible.
In respect of the recommended matings within the recognised patterns, it has been necessary to look closer at the genotype of the Ragdoll. All Ragdolls are of a colourpointed pattern, controlled by the same recessive colourpoint gene found in the Birman and Siamese breeds. In the case of the Colourpointed Ragdoll, there must be no white patches anywhere on the body, as this pattern lacks the dominant white spotting gene. Both the Mitteds and Bicolours owe their appearance to the presence of a dominant white spotting gene. The difference in the amount of white on the cat being possibly due to some degree of modification of the white spotting gene between these two patterns. What is certain is that Mitteds currently falling within the pattern parameters described in the Standard of Points are heterozygous for the dominant white mitted spotting gene.
When mating a Bicolour and Mitted together, a mating where it is possible to produce all three patterns in the litter, there is a chance that the dominant white spotting gene of each heterozygous parent may combine, so producing a Ragdoll that is homozygous. These ‘extreme’ Bicolours can be difficult to identify and it is only by breeding back to a Colourpointed that breeders can confirm their true genotype. For breeding purposes, these Bicolours are known as ‘Mid High White’ Bicolours and when mated back to a Colourpointed will only produce Bicolour and Mitted kittens.
Similarly, when mating two heterozygous Bicolours together, homozygous kittens can be produced which usually display larger amounts of white similar to a ‘Van’ pattern. For breeding purposes these Bicolours are known as ‘High White’ Bicolours and when mated back to a Colourpointed will produce entire litters of heterozygous Bicolour kittens.
In Mitted to Mitted matings, where again it is possible to produce all three patterns, the Bicolours resulting from these matings are homozygous and for breeding purposes are referred to as ‘High Mitted’ Bicolours. When mated back to a Colourpointed, High Mitted Bicolours will produce entire litters of Mitted kittens.
In the light of this, The British Ragdoll Cat Club recommends that breeders, especially beginners, use at least one Colourpointed as a parent when breeding Ragdolls. Of course the cats that are homozygous for the white spotting gene do have their worth in many breeding programmes where breeders wish to specialize in a particular pattern, but the TBRCC does try to advise and guide when using these cats, so that the uninformed breeder does not fall into the trap of going into a ‘cul-de-sac’ when breeding from these homozygous cats.
Finally, should a mating between two Colourpointed Ragdolls produce a Mitted or a Bicolour, then TBRCC recommends that the breeder examines both parents carefully for evidence of white spotting, in which case their registration as Colourpointed must be questioned.
An outcross policy for the Red Series and Tabby Ragdolls and also for the re-introduction of Chocolate/Lilac in line with the recommendations of the Genetics Committee of the GCCF was approved by Council in October 2002 and an amended Registration Policy which defines breeds that are acceptable as an outcross is attached. Only Ragdolls bred in strict accordance with the Registration Policy will be eligible to be registered as Ragdolls. An amended Standard of Points to include the new colours of the Red Series and Tabby Ragdolls became effective as of 1 June 2003.
Only Ragdolls bred in accordance with the Ragdoll Registration Policy are eligible for registration as Ragdolls.
The accepted colours of the Ragdoll are Seal, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Red and Cream in Solid Points, Tortie Points, Tabby Points and Tortie Tabby Points, which may be transposed over each of the 3 accepted patterns of Colourpointed, Mitted and Bicolour.
Breeders should try to breed Ragdolls which adhere closely to the original type as described in the Standard of Points and the ‘Type of the Ragdoll’.
TBRCC recommends that breeders, especially novices, should use at least one Colourpointed parent in each mating.
TBRCC recommends that Ragdoll parents should have compatible pedigrees that avoids over repetition of common ancestors.