The Ragdoll Breed
The Ragdoll breed originated in California. In 1963, Ann Baker received a male kitten whose mother was a pointed cat named Josephine. The little kitten had the same markings as his mother, which were similar to that of a Birman cat. The fur on the kitten’s body was light colored, while his face, ears, legs, tail, and scrotum (called ‘points) were darker in color. Together with this cat and a long-haired, white cat, Ann Baker started the breed line “Original Baker Ragdolls”. She had the name “Ragdoll” patented and asked for a licensing fee for offspring. The name Ragdoll is derived from the cat’s calm temperament and willingness to be picked up and carried around while maintaining a relaxed attitude.
Due to the licensing fees, this new breed population was not growing. The breed’s worldwide recognition today is in thanks to two families who separated themselves early on from the “Original Baker Ragdoll” philosophy. The Dayton family (Blossom-Time Cattery) and Chambers family (Ragnarok Cattery) paved the way for the well-known Ragdoll breed standard we know today.
The Ragdoll is a pointed cat with the gene cscs. All kittens are born white and take on more color as they age. The term pointed cat is derived from the color markings appearing on the so-called points, or the coldest areas of the body including the face, ears, legs, and tail. Pointed cats have blue eyes, the ideal eye color being a strong, intense blue.
What are the individual markings of a Ragdoll?
There are the so-called Original Ragdolls from the traditional line: These cats are registered in the Dayton gene line. All registered Ragdolls can trace their pedigree back to the original cats from Ann Baker. Both parents must be registered as Original Ragdolls.
There are four colors and three variations. The colors are seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac. The variations are colorpoint, mitted, and bicolor.
A Ragdoll with traditional colors:
Seal and blue (blue is the dilution of seal)
Chocolate and lilac (lilac is the dilution of chocolate)
Red and cream (cream is the dilution of red)
Meanwhile there is also the color cinnamon and its dilution of fawn.
The variations are colorpoint, mitted, and bicolor, as well as tabby and tortoiseshell.
The body of a colorpoint Ragdoll can be very light, which harmonizes well with the dark points. The color markings are the same as that of a colorpoint Persian or Siamese cat. A darker, mask-like coloring of the face is typical for the Ragdoll colorpoint variation.
Mitted Ragdoll cats are similar to the colorpointed Radgoll. The chin, front paws (mittens), and back legs (boots), are white, however. The paw pads are pink and there is a noticeable white stripe from neck to the base of the tail. Often they have a white spot on their nose called a blaze. The mitted Ragdoll is often confused with the Sacred Cat of Burma.
Bicolor Ragdolls have the largest amount of white fur. The points are well defined within the light colored body. Bicolor shows an upside down V shape that begins just above the eyes and flows down over the breast and to the base of the tail. All four legs are white. The nose tip and paw pads are pink.
Let’s take an excursion into the genetics of Ragdolls. What does mink, sepia, and solid mean?
Cscs – The Siamese gene (pointed)
This is a mutation of the full-pigment C gene.
CS is a recessive gene (suppressed) of C.
The CS gene leads to a very light body color. It turns a black color to a beige body color with dark brown paws, tail, ears, and face mask (the points) with intensely blue eyes. Seal simply means black, but in combination with the point gene.
cscb - Mink
Mink coloring lies somewhere between Siamese and Birman coloring, but the contrast between the body color and color of the points is distinct. The body is not pure white, but a lighter tone of the point color. The eye color looks blue-green and is called aquamarine or ocean blue. Kittens are born with a coloring on their entire body, as opposed to being born completely white.
cbcb – the Birman Gene
This is a mutation of the full-pigment gene C.
Cb is recessive to C.
The Birman gene leads to a slight color lightening and changes the body color of black to a dark brown. Eye color is yellow-green or yellow.
Last but not least, we have the solids (my favorite).
These are solid color Ragdolls with the Gene type C.
Solid Ragdolls have the same point color and body color and have apple green or amber-colored eyes.
Mink, sepia, and solid Ragdolls can have any of the above-mentioned colors and markings. These kittens are born with coloring, as opposed to the traditional colored kittens that are born white.
What do all Ragdolls have in common?
A Ragdoll’s nature is friendly, rather calm, and cuddly. They are happiest when close to their people. They are often very affectionate, and like to be carried and petted. There are, however, exceptions to this commonality.
Ragdolls feel most comfortable when they are with other cats, children, or their favorite people. They do not like to be alone, which is why they should always be in pairs. They get along well with dogs, which was the main reason why I chose this breed and I have yet to regret my decision. There is one disadvantage to Ragdolls – they are addictive. Households with Ragdolls usually have more than one Ragdoll.
Ragdolls have very soft and thick, medium-length fur and have a fluffy ruff around their head when they have their winter coat. Their eyes are large and oval shaped. Ragdolls should have a rather large and strong build.
Ragdolls do not mind being indoor cats, as long as they receive enough attention, play, and can take part in the lives of their humans. They adapt well and are not very vocal. Although they are very relaxed and seldom scratch or bite, life with them is not boring. If you have the possibility of securing a balcony or yard for your Ragdolls, you will make them very happy!
Ragdolls should be brushed regularly when they are shedding.
Female Ragdolls typically weigh 4 to 6 kilograms and male Ragdolls 6 to 9 kilograms. They can have a shoulder height of up to 40 cm and can reach a length of 100 to 120 (nose to tail) cm.