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Inquisitive Inquiry :)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Greetings everyone and I'm so glad to have found this forum. I am not a breeder but am considering going into breeding once my two girls are a little older. I've recently fallen in love with Persians and Himalayans and have been doing some research on the breed. After many findings I've begun to get a little frustrated and, more so, confused. To my understanding, some breeders inbreed (or line breed) their cats so that their faces are flatter and the show judges seem to be the responsible parties in wanting flatter faced cats. I don't understand, when there are so many health complications and risks involved, why these judges would enforce such an opinion. I study ancient civilizations and took some college courses in Genetics and Microbiology and after humans have proved the disadvantages (lineage with heirs and royalty) I don't understand why anyone would even consider such a thing. I can't help but ponder what would happen if fashion shows wanted very specific qualities (see "World War 2" for examples) and people started inbreeding for these qualities, that there would be a complete outrage among the nation. In my mind, I don't really understand how these judges can impose such impossible standards that clearly defy nature and the natural order and then, in the end, convince all of these wonderful breeders out there who adore their animals and regard them as family, to put their beloved pets at risk for something as silly as "fashion". (it all boils down to looks) Since I've only my own opinion to go on and don't like to only see one side of the proverbial coin, I decided to ask the experts and see if perhaps there's another side to all of this (and there usually is) that I've not heard. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and, in all hopes, respond to my quandry. Blessed be to you and yours,
post #2 of 14
I feel the same way about line breeding. The major disadvantage w/line breeding for me is that the animals lose alot of their resistance to disease and have more health problems. I think it is a horrid idea and I feel as shocked as you do that breeders are inbreeding.

I am very interested to see what breeders have to say about this.

post #3 of 14
In most associations the standard of a breed is determined by the people who breed them. Once that has been defined, a written standard is drafted and that is what judges must go by when evaluating a cat.
Anytime a change is wanted/needed, it must be voted on by the members of that breed club (or all the breeders of that breed within the association) This process can take a very long time, as with persians it has taken many many years to develop the standard that reflects what is wanted by the breeders.

If done properly, line breeding has it's advantages, when it isn't done properly the results are, or can be, disaterous. You have to remember that Persians have been around so long that the gene pool is quite extensive, so ordinarily it isn't much of a problem. Having said that, there are VERY poor breeders of all breeds of cats who haven't a clue when it come to line breeding. Always ask for the pedigree, always visit the cattery....

As far as breeding is concerned, it is difficult, there is no such thing as a perfect cat so we try to put cats together that will produce the qualities we would like to see (in keeping with the standard) It is VERY expensive, very nerve wracking and not a money maker in the least..

As a judge, I just wanted to let you know that it isn't us that are making breeders breed their cats in a certain way, we just do our very best to judge that cat against a standard.

If you have any more questions I'd be more than happy to answer them, while I don't breed persians, my wife and I do breed.

post #4 of 14
*G* Sorry Ken but with your last sentence, I couldn't resist!
post #5 of 14
Ken I couldn't have said it better. After I finished reading the original post, I was about to answer but you beat me to it. I even said to my husband (Vinny) Ken beat me to it. I also am a judge and we must judge a cat to the standard that it written by the breeders of that specific breed. The more that particular breed comes closest to 100 points, is the best of breed. Besides being a judge, my husband and I (actually me but hubby takes care of everyone when I'm at a show and at work) breed Abys and Oriental Shorthairs. I have been doing this for approximately 10 years and don't make any money doing it. I do do it for the love of my babies. If there are any other questions, please feel free to ask Ken (or me but I'm sure Ken will beat me to the computer).

post #6 of 14
Hissy...... You're awesome!

Frannie... I had good teachers...

post #7 of 14
There are three types of breeding. Inbreeding, Linebreeding, and Outcrosses. Inbreeding and Linebreeding are not the same. Most breeders linebreed. Linebreeding has pros such as an increase in homozygosity its con is that you MUST have a extremly high quality individual in both the sires and dams pedigree. Linebreeding is rarly used by established breeds. Its pros are an increse in homozygosity, uniformity, and reveiling recessive problems which can improve the breed to get these out. It also can cause more faults or more extreme faults, loss of vigor or decrese in size. It is not the judges fault as Dan said, but the breed clubs. The judges MUST inforce standards. Inbreeding and linebreeding are not used to harm the cats, it is to help them. My fourth generation Selkirk Rex' grandfather was bred to his great grandmother. But he is fine, no health problems, and his father, Oaktree's Socrates is very well the best Selkirk in history. When criticizing inbreeding and line breeding remember that you are inbred as well as I. Everyone DNA can be traced back to one single human being. So to establish ourselves we inbred. Also, we made rules for ourselves that we can not mate until we are 18 years old, we must be married to mate, unless we follow these rules we are frowned appon by society. Animals do not follow a book, they follow instincts and mate from their first heatcycle to their last, whether it be with dad, brother, or distant relative. But, how dare I say the truth.

Dan and Frannie, what association are you a judge with? I want to be a judge someday.
post #8 of 14
heheheheheeh It's actually Ken....

We both judge for the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts.

Frannie has been Judging for a very long time as I just became a probationary Specialty judge. So I have to judge 1500 cats in no less than 15 shows without error to be a specialty judge. Probationary judges do not get paid per cat, specialty get .75 per cat judged, Allbreed judges are 1.00 a cat. We all however get lodging, travel expenses and meals.

Thanks for bringing the subject up about us comming from the same individual, I saw an advert for a show on TLC about it and was myself going to bring it up.

Being relatively new to the breeding world (in comparison to folks that have been doing it for 30 years or more) you definately know way more about genetics than I. Until we get a good solid grasp of it, we use a genetisist to ensure we are producing the desired traits in our kittens. Since our breed (Munchkins) are created from an autosomil (sic) gene it is hard to predict exactly what your going to get as far as leg length, sometimes you don't get any standard munchkins.

Our main concern is that they are not too short, as Munchkin's have been getting a very bad rap for a long time. I get furious when I hear or read about breeders who are using other than domestics or munchkins in their breeding program. People are breeding them with Manx for no tails, siamese which is causing some serious disasterous results, polydactil cats to get the extra toes on them.. it goes on and on.

whew... I feel better

Ken (Dan)
post #9 of 14
Hehehe, sorry "Dan", it was late and I was tired..but hey, Im not blaming all my problems on the clock, I can't help that Im a freak!

I currently show in CFA. It takes a *lot* to be a CFA judge, well 1500 cats sounds like a lot too. We have to breed 10 consectutave years for each specialty, you have to clerk and master clerk have so many national and regional winners etc, etc. I show Orientals, Siamese, Abyssinian, Selkirk Rex, and Maine Coons. Im in Junior Showmanship in CFA and have presented all of the above plus presenting Bombay, Maine Coon, American Wirehair, and Burmese. I also Clerk. I don't breed, yet, because I am under 18, living with my parents and they won't allow me to breed.

I saw the advertizment on Animal Planet. Its on on sunday at 8:00, I think I will watch it, looks inforamative.


PS- I get a lot of my information from , very nice site.
post #10 of 14
Actually, in order to be where i am now, I had to be active in the cat fancy for a min of 5 years, become a certified clerk, certified master clerk, performed the duties as an entry clerk OR show manager, Granded a cat of my own breeding, taken a bevy of written exams to include one that was open book and your given 30 days to complete, it was VERY hard, Then there is all the handleing classes, at least 10 color classes (where you judge with a judge, your scores don't count, but then you have to explain the standard and what to look for in every breed that is presented to the judges satisfaction, also you have to justify your finals). Failures have to be redone and the final one is done with your counselor, if he/she feels at that point that you are ready, then you take one last test, and are appointed a probationary specialty judge (Specialty judges only judge longhairs or shorthairs to final in each class) after the 1500 cat requirement, and the officers of the association judged your performance as satifactory you are no longer probationary. Once made a Specialty judge, you then must judge a minimum of 30 shows in no less than 3 years without error. once that is completed then you are advanced to an Allbreed judge, (where you judge longhair and shorthairs to finals in each class) anyway, all in all it takes about 11 -12 years to reach allbreed status. Hope that clears it up.

Although we are a small association, we have alot of CFA people who show with us, and we are freindly and have a great time. Having shown in TICA, and been to several CFA shows, I can definately say that there is no politicing with us. Not to knock TICA or CFA, but in large associations it's hard not have it go on. Does this make sense???

post #11 of 14
Wow, sounds like a lot of work, becoming a respectable person in any association would require a ton of work.

Sounds like a good associtaion. Yes, I know CFA has a ton of political-ness to it. I never thought people could be so obvious about it until I clerked for a judge who it was extremly evidant of his "status" on the topic. Actually it was my first solo assignment, I was still suppose to still be a trainee and with another clerk but the show was 8 rings and they only had 7 certified clerks, so little ol' me got to clerk for the extremly fast and uncaring judge while my friend who likes to move fast was stuck with a judge and a trainee judge, he was just about to *die* at the pace they were going. Anyway this judge is on my s--t list because not only did he treat me like crap (I thought it was all in my mind until someone came up to me at the next show and told me how unacceptable his behavior was). This judge would get up and LEAVE with cats in the ring, one time I had to send these cats back because he had been missing for well over 10 minutes. His politicalness was very obvious. An exhibitor would bring thier cat up and he would stand their and talk to this person. Now I see nothing wrong with talking to an exhibitor after the final or maybe even after the judgeing was done, but this cat hadn't even been judged yet. Now, these people he talked to before judging, they were the only one in his final, the Aby breeder who he talked to for a long time finaled BEST in his kitten, premeirship, and championship classes.
post #12 of 14
I'd like to comment on the original issue, health problems caused by breeding for a specific trait. I use to be a Collie breeder. Our aim was to correct an eye problem all Collies seem to have. Good eyes and correct conformation were the goal. A dog breed should reflect the job the dog has, herding, retrieving, whatever the history. Therefore, a slight overbite in a Collie would mean he would not "pull wool", so it would be acceptable. That does not mean that they should be bred to have a bite problem. It must still be a scissors bite. There ARE specific health problems in certain breeds of dogs and cats, and we should be breeding them out, not in.
I went to look at Himalayan kittens at the home of a very reputable breeder. Every single kitten had respiratory problems because of the pushed-in face. If I had to have a kitten suffer to meet that kind of a standard, I would rather not show the kitten. I would prefer to be a maverick and try to breed it out. Breeders are supposed to improve the breed. I decided against Himalayan kittens.
post #13 of 14

You are absolutely corrrect!! That happens to be the kind of breeder that I don't like, obviously there is a problem, and it should be taken care of, or stop the line. I have seen many fine examples of himmies that don't show that problem... On the same note I've seen quite a few persian and himmies that slightly stick their tongue out on a consistant basis, now this may not seem like much BUT, it is an indication of a jaw misalignment. Sooooo A judge should, depending on the fault severity, either NFA (No Further Awards) or WW (Withhold Wins) on these cats. Sadly because of politics this isn't done in all cases.

Unfortunately, sometimes, breeders reach a point where they are blinded to their own felines genetic faults, I dont know why it happens, and Im sure these people mean well.
Sandie and I are lucky enough to have a close circle of freinds who are also breeders, and we don't hesitate (tactfully) to bring the subject up, should it occur. Not that I am defending breeders who do this, it's only to point out that when you have a love for something so strong, sometime one's objectivity is a little off track.
Problem is that people who don't know enough about what a breed is suppose to be will trust a breeder, hence kittens get sold and the breeder continues to breed.


While we are encouraged to talk to the people who come as spectators, we do not discuss entries with the owners until after the finals are complete. Leaving the ring.... heh very bad, unless I leave to get a soda while the cate are being brought up to the ring.

Since I dont know where you are from, I would like to invite you to one of our shows just to check us out. We have shows in the New Jersey, Connecticut, New york and occasionally Pennsilvania.

If you would like more information just let myself, Sandie, Frannie or Rene know, we would be glad to see you. I also happen to be the clerking administrator for the association.

post #14 of 14
Thanks so much, Ken, for the clarification. I was afraid that cat breeders were a "different breed" than dog breeders. I do not know from personal knowledge because I do not show, or attend shows. I am homebound on oxygen, so what I learn now I learn at home. Jeanie
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