Article by: Silvia Klaus, 'of Lucilll's Doll', June ©2009 / Translated by Karin Heger / Edited by Susan Wenck
Contribution by: T. Roellin, 'du Masque bleu', who has been breeding Original Ragdolls since 1990 and is very familiar with theit history.
Outcrossing and its Purposes
To Introduce “Fresh Blood” to the Breed
To Add New Colors or Marking Patterns to the Breed
At the time the Ragdoll was imported into Europe, the (blood-) or gene pool was very small. The breeders started with a few animals, all Original-Ragdolls. The breeders were very careful with their breeding practices as not to back-cross animals to their parents whenever possible to avoid any inbreeding. With this practice the bloodlines grew large and with increased variances. Naturally, as time progressed, animals from other breeds were introduced in Europe (not only from England, but also from America). That resulted in huge gene pool in 1995, and therefore fresh blood through other breeds has not been necessary up to today. It has to be noted that with any new pairings, the genes are newly combined.
Introducing fresh blood into a primary breed means:
In the 1980s the English imported their Original-Ragdolls from America. Back then the animals had to be quarantined for half a year. Therefore, the timing of the import of Ragdolls hat to be planned carefully (several animals at the same time), because buying a stud abroad was not as easy as it is today. For that reason, the “English Line” developed, consisting exclusively of Original-Ragdolls from the Blossom-Time Cattery, which was owned by Denny Dayton. The label “English Line” is derived from Ragdolls, which can be traced back over English breeders to Blossom-Time USA. The first famous cattery in England owned by Lulu Rowley was Petil-Lu.
Radolls imported from the USA directly to Germany belong to what is called the “American Line”. These Ragdolls can mostly be traced back to the two catteries Ragnarok's and Hemlock Trails.
These two lines (the Original Ragdoll breeding in America from 1970 – 1980, and in England from 1980 – 1990) can be traced as follows.
See examples listed below:
English Line: Ann Baker “Raggedy Ann” to Blossom-Time to England's Petil-Lu, for example.
American Line: Ann Baker “Raggedy Ann” to Ragnarok's or Hemlock Trails, for example.
These are only examples. Naturally, Ann Baker sold their Ragdolls to other breeders as well, as did the other breeders that followed.
Denny Dayton and Hemlock Trail/Ragnarok's have bred selectively for size, eye color, length of fur, fur quality, etc.
Of these Original-Ragdolls, (all of which had ancestors registered in the Denny Dayton database) there existed two lines of which the bloodlines are thought not to be related anymore. After breeding Ragdolls exclusively from the English Line for several years (which is also called “line breeding”) and then deciding to cross that breed with the American Line resulted in an outcross within the primary breed. In this case, it is an outcross within the Original-Ragdoll breed. This does not need a permit.
Introducing fresh blood from another breed means:
The crossing of another breed, which is as similar to the own breed as possible: similar in looks, in type, in patterns as well as in color. The goal of such an outcross is that the primary breed, while preserving the primary phenotype, is refreshed by new blood. This is usually done to a very, very young breed. It was not necessary with the Original-Ragdoll as it was not a young breed at the time it was imported into Germany. It had already existed since 1965. Note that this practice must not been performed with an Original-Ragdoll!
Why? Read on.
If I talk about the fact that there are only a few Original-Ragdoll breeders left (therefore also a small number of animals), I mean that in comparison to the number of breeders that existed in 1995. At that time there were only Original-Radgoll breeders in Europe (only a small number of breeders focused on new colors). Today, it is the other way around. Nevertheless, today's gene pool of our Original Ragdoll breed is bigger than in 1990. This reflects the first 5 years of Ragdoll breeding in the German-speaking region.
Back to outcrossing for fresh blood topic.
As an example for the purpose of outcrossing and introducing fresh blood,
we will use a Ragdoll with its original fur pattern.
An outcross has the following rules and regulations, which have been set down by the umbrella organisation FIFé. A breeding plan has to be followed, even when creating a new breed. However, typically breeders don't know about an established breeding plan and often cross animals with which they think the resulting phenotype could be of commercial interest.
1. An outcross must have a permit issued by the umbrella organisation and must be carefully
2. The phenotype of the breed must be ensured and preserved.
3. Because the colors of the own Ragdoll breed is derived exclusively from the color black, animals with only that
color should be crossed.
4. Neither tabby, torty, one-colored cats nor the new color (red/creme) are allowed to be crossed in. Only the
color point carrier is allowed to be crossed.
5. Attention must be paid to the phenotype (visible characteristics) of the cat to be bred for the outcross. It
can only deviate very little from the standards of the Ragdoll.
6. Character, illnesses, etc. are to be very carefully evaluated.
7. To preserve the signature pleasant, calm and inquisitive nature of the Ragdoll, cats chosen for breeding should
share a similar character and disposition as the Original Ragdoll.
8. Attention has to be paid to the health of the animal! Responsible breeders must be found who openly declare
any and all health issues or illnesses of their own breed, rather than conceal them.
After these criteria have been met, a breeding program is developed:
Which breeders (probably quite a few) take the young animals from an F1, F2...-pairing into the breeding program?
Without exception, all young animals of the F1 generation, would have to be placed in different breeding programs. These youngsters must be mated back into their own breed.
When mating the F1 with the Ragdoll, the F2 generation is created. Meanwhile, the F1 is taken out of the breeding program. Now the F2 is mated with the Ragdoll which will, in turn, create the F3 generation. Now the F2 can be removed from the breeding program. Once the F3 has been mated with the Ragdoll, it too is removed from the breeding program. The process shall continue up to the F10 generation. The blood composition for the F10 generation animals indicate that their 'foreign blood portion' is only 0.09%. Note that only one cat of another breed was crossed! This procedure accomplishes the introduction of fresh blood of one cat of another cat breed into the own breed.
The specific features of the other breed completely disappear in young animals only in the F10 generation ! however the own primary breed is now infused with fresh blood. Naturally, this procedure desired outcome is only achieved, if all participating breeders are in agreement about what features should be removed, and which should be preserved!
a young female feline of the F4 generation that has high standing ears of the crossed-in breed, should not be mated with a Ragdoll stud, whose ears grew somewhat to high as well. The ideal phenotype can be achieved more quickly and perfectly only if both cats are evaluated for any genetic mutations and the crossing with a cat with the same genetic mutation is avoided.
My dear readers, are you really considering random blood refreshers here and there, or crossing a Birma, or some other breed? When breeding an Original-Ragdoll, teamwork is essential! No playing with the crossing of cats from unapproved breeds with the original breed!
If one were to perform the just mentioned outcross with an Original-Ragdoll, all animals resulting from such a pairing would no longer qualify as Original-Ragdolls! That's why we of the VdOR feel it is very important to educate breeders what it really means to breed Original-Ragdolls.
During the last 40 years of breeding Ragdoll
(!!! not the Original-Ragdoll !!!)
the breeding process has been practiced as follows:
Listed on the following page are 50 cats of other breeds that are known to have been crossed with the Ragdoll over the last 40 years, according to the RFCI genetics card. (*There is an estimated of number of unknown cats of about 30 that could be included.) In other words, without regulatorycontrol, every half year there was an unapproved outcross somewhere in a Ragdoll breeding world. This happened not only to introduce fresh blood into the breed. But many breeders were wishing to get bluer than blue eyes or a longer fur, all reasons for crossing with another breed. Most of these breeders were betting on a new phenotype: new colors, new patterns or versions. This is why today's Ragdoll has the appearance that it does. There will be even more variations in the future. That's for sure!
What's more is that the Associations have accepted registration applications of Ragdoll x Persian / Ragdoll x Abyssinian pairings and have actually issued pedigrees for these mixes as Ragdolls!
The goal of a breeder should not be to introduce something “new” into the market as soon as possible in order to make more money. Breeding has to do with preserving a breed, keeping it pure and original!
A hobby with animals can be wonderful; however, it comes with many responsibilities not only towards the animal, but towards the breed itself. In my opinion, this is exactly were the problem lies.
Around 1994 a small group of Ragdoll-color breeders decided to rename their Ragdolls to “Ragamuffins”. This new breed, primarily bred for color, was officially allowed to be crossed with up to 6 other breeds some of which were house cats from USA and Europe. Reason? There were only a small number of Ragamuffin breeders, and the breed was young. These Ragamuffins were crossed with today's color Ragdolls. So much for preserving the breed's purity!
It does not matter to the Original-Ragdoll breeder, however, as none of those ancestors of the color Ragdoll have been listed with the complete family history in the Dayton database.
This website's purpose is to state clearly the differences between an Original-Ragdoll and a Ragdoll bred for color.
The word Original comes from the Greek language and means genuine/traditionel/original. The, VdOR, the association of the Original Ragdoll is very lucky to be in possession of the original pedigree of Denny Dayton. This allows us to identify an Original-Ragdoll. It is our goal to promote the Ann Baker Standard of 1965 and to preserve, cherish and foster the initial Ragdoll's distinguishing phenotype.
That's why we stand by the name Original-Ragdoll.