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Pure curiousity question

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
How do people decide what is or is not a breed? For instance, I would say my cat is a "mutt" (what is the word for a cat like that?). But, when a vet has to mark down her breed they put American shorthair or Domestic shorthair. Depending. (thats her in my sig).
I understand that some breeds develop naturally, on an island or remota area. I also understand breeding dogs for certain characteristics. Are cats bred for characteristics in the same way? What sort of characteristics, aside from appearance?
How come some new cat breeds are immediately accepted whereas others are not? How do new breeds come into existence? Do cats get the same breed-specific medical problems that some breeds of dogs do?

I hope I'm not stepping on any toes, I'm really just curious. I don't have any experience with cats aside from regular old tabbys and such, all former strays / ferals.
post #2 of 15
I am not a breeder and they surely will have better explainations.. a breed is something that when breed to the same breed mom dad and offspring have the same carecteristics...

example Persian to Persian yeilds a full litter of persians

Persian to Siamese yeilds some longhair some shorthair and some medium hair

mutt to mutt who knows ..

some developed naturally many eons ago ... today breeds are breed like dogs for traits ( color form coat )....

Yes just like dogs some purebreed cats have been overbreed and can have certian issues over other breeds or mutts
post #3 of 15
Mongrel or mutt cats are often called moggies. When your vet lists your cat as domestic shorthair...that is the same as saying "small black dog" for a dog. No specific breed, just a description of a moggie cat.

The cat breeds have certain characteristics they aim for...both coloring and fur type and length. Also I believe there are temperament issues...I'm not a breeder, so don't know too much. I have moggies, dsh (domestic short hair)!
post #4 of 15
Often a mutation occurs and when bred out the resulting litter is mixed with and without that mutation. Then one of the daughters will be bred back to the father and the resulting litter is mostly all that trait. Then through selective breeding that feature becomes true genetically. Many breeds today are mutations and a unique temperment follows suit through line-breeding and in-breeding. I see less often temperment being the forfront reason for breeding (may come later in the breeds development).

So an example of mutations are: flat-faced persians, hairless sphynx, curly-coats rex, wire-textures wirehairs, folded ears scottish folds, curled back ears american curls, short legs munchkins, the list goes on.

Then there are geographic areas that have sprung breeds. These might include oriental type breeds, Maine Coons, American Shorthairs, etc.

Then there are hybrids. This is a bit newer and a bit contraversial. These will include the Bengal (Asian Leopard Cat cross), Savannah (Serval cross), Chaussie, Pixie-Bob (questionable cross), Serengeti, and more. With hybrids, temperment is a little more important as you DO NOT want to carry on a wild temperment as these need to be safe as pets. With good breeding practiced these have become very trustworthy and entertaining breeds.

Whether a cat is accepted or not? The look is important for popularity, another is lethal genes (is the cat dangerous to breed, could it cause more death/suffering through breeding), temperment of course. The breed needs to be well defined to a goal/standard and needs to be accepted by a reputable association (could take some work on that one).

Lethal genes are a completely different topic. A question I've been considering bringing up. I think Scottish Folds are soo cute. At the same time, I'm not sure I like the idea of the cat carrying a lethal gene, and that you can't breed fold to fold or you could result in deformities and death. Its kind of scary to think of it that way. So the cat always has to be outcrossed to British Shorthairs. As cute as I think the breed is, is it ethical?
post #5 of 15
For the most part cats are pretty much the same as far as characteristics. They don't "do" specific things like dogs; e.g. herding, guard, retrieveing.

So the breeds exist mainly cause of appearance. Some are natural mutations - rex, manx. Most are "created". Some creations are accidental or experiments. A breed exists IF the same characteristics are found on a consistant basis.

That's why with domestics you take pot luck when they breed because you can repeat the same 2 cats and get something different. Domestics carry many more recessive genes then a specific breed.

Some breeds die due to lack of interest or you find lethal genes that outweigh any benefits of continuing the breed. Probably the two hardest and riskiest breeds to work with are manx or scottish folds. Because when you breed tailless to tailless or folded ear to folded ear, you will have lethal genes and the kittens will die or have spina bifia. So you need to always breed a tailed cat to a tailless cat, etc.

In recent years there has been some problems with large breed cats (maine coons and some others) with hip displayia showing up in some lines due to the size of the cats. And with burmese or persians there is a higher rate of having to do cesserians because the head is too wide to be born normally. Siamese/orientals are prone to cardiomyopothy.

I'm sure if you research more, you'll find other problems in some breeds.
post #6 of 15
With Maine Coons HCM has been a HUGE problem. Actually most of the studies being done down on HCM are being centered around Maine Coons. They found a way to test the blood and determine if the cat has HCM genetically (or one of the strains). This is much easier than conventional methods but it dosen't catch every strain, nor are they sure this method will work for anything other than a Maine Coon. Hopefully this can be adapted out for other breeds, but haven't seen any research on it yet.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thank you all for the answers.
So she's a moggy, huh? Thats a cute name!! My little moggykins!

You have all cleared it up alot. So it just sort of develops into a breed, when two can produce offspring with all the same characteristics instead of some of one kind and some of another?

Why do people breed cats that carry fatal genes? If they were outbred enough, wouldn't the genes kind of dissapear? It seems alot like royal families who all in-married and then they keep having all the same genetic disease.

The ones that you always have to breed out (manx with british sh, and such) are they really breeds then?

I had no idea people crossbred with wild cats! Wow!
post #8 of 15
I don't think you need to keep breeding manx to any other breed - just to tailed manx. Actually you have 3 lengths of tails - no tail, 1/2 tail and full tailed manx.

And scottish folds or American Curls are allowed to breed to BSH or ASH ONLY for a certain period of time - after that you can't breed out as the gene pool will be wide enough.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45
And scottish folds or American Curls are allowed to breed to BSH or ASH ONLY for a certain period of time - after that you can't breed out as the gene pool will be wide enough.
If memory serves that American curl does nt have any lethal gens it is a pure trait ....
post #10 of 15
True on the Curl, but they still allow the outcross to the other breeds for a certain time period.

I believe devon rexes are also allowed some outcrossing to ASH/BSH too. Cornish are NOT allowed outcrosses as the gene pool is sufficient. Apparently the devons were having some problems and that's why they allowed it.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I had no idea people crossbred with wild cats! Wow!
In the case of the Pixie-bob, from what I've read online, the "bobcat" cross has never been confirmed via DNA, and the breed standard only strives for the "look" of a bobcat.

However, I've also seen some inuendo online that some less scrupulous persons MAY be breeding domestic cats with wild. Let's hope not.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow. This thread is a really good example of how much I have learned from TCS in the past months.

I'll let someone else answer that better than I can.
post #13 of 15
Unless its a purebred American SH, you should use the terms "domestic SH, or LH"

A purebred is a cat that has the same characteristics thru many generations and breeds "true" - you don't get one cat, for example, with a really long body and another with a short body. The type has to be consistant over and over. A breed is not established in 2 or 3 generations.

Those starting a breed will have a lot of mixed cats at first. Take for example the cornish rex (which I bred). At the beginning a cat was born of barn cats that was totally different - long body, legs and a curly coat (spontaneous mutation). It was so different that the owner decided to breed more. So Kallibunker was the foundation cat. He was bred to several different females - some british sh, some siamese (the cornish rex was born in Cornwall England). None of the kittens were curly, but Sterling (the breeder) knew from genetics that if 2 of the kittens were bred together, then you'd get curly - which is what happened. When you start a breed, you will have a lot of inbreeding to set type, etc., so its not something to undertake casually - you have to know what you are doing.

Over generations, you bring in a new cat so that you expand the gene pool. Once you get consistant type over and over and have a healthy base, you petition the association for "provincial" status or "experimental" status. You have to have a written standard to present, a certain number of other breeders, and whatever the association requires. Then you have to educate the judges on your breed - show them what a good example is of your breed. It might take 5 yrs to get your cat accepted as a new breed. Its a lot of work, you have a lot of "extra" cats that need homes but if successful, its a lot of pride and joy too.

BTW the cornish rex breed was started in 1950, so the cats are only 56 years old in breeding. I can trace my cornish rex back to Kallibunker in about 10-12 generations
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45
For the most part cats are pretty much the same as far as characteristics. They don't "do" specific things like dogs; e.g. herding, guard, retrieveing.

So the breeds exist mainly cause of appearance. Some are natural mutations - rex, manx. Most are "created". Some creations are accidental or experiments. A breed exists IF the same characteristics are found on a consistant basis.

Like the American Keuda, which has excess skin on it's belly (belly flap) and armpits. http://www.hercurian.com/keuda/keuda_pictures.htm
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelle
In the case of the Pixie-bob, from what I've read online, the "bobcat" cross has never been confirmed via DNA, and the breed standard only strives for the "look" of a bobcat.

However, I've also seen some inuendo online that some less scrupulous persons MAY be breeding domestic cats with wild. Let's hope not.
I was told a fairly disturbing procedure by a man with a big bobcat-esque cat at the vet's office once. :/
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