CFA CHAMPIONSHIP STATUS
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In 1978 two C.F.A. affiliated Somali breed clubs
submitted proposals requesting the Board to
advance the Somali to full Championship status,
The International Somali Cat Club (ISCC) and The
Somali Breeders Club.
The proposal reprinted here is the one submitted by the Somali Breeders.
The members of The Somali Breeders, a C.F.A.
member club, wish to have the following two-part
proposal entered for consideration at the
October, 1978 C.F.A. Board of Directors meeting
in Chicago, Illinois. We ask that each part be
considered solely on its own merit, and that
denial or passage of one part not hinder the
consideration of the other.
We sincerely appreciate the Board members taking the time to consider our requests.
THE SOMALI BREEDERS
Kathleen L. Jones
Dear Board Member,
We have included with our request for championship status some pages of facts about the Somali which may serve in answering some of your questions about the breed.
We realize how much time and labor is required of you at this time, and do not wish to burden you with a tome of Somali statistics and histories; but condensing the essence of a breed we love so dearly into a few short pages has been no easy feat.
It is our sincerest hope that this report may aid you in making your final determination of a breed's future. Thank you for your time.
THE SOMALI BREEDERS
Skull (5 points): A modified, slightly rounded wedge without flat planes; the brow, cheek, and profile lines all showing a gentle contour; a slight rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead, which should be of good size and width between the ears flowing into the arched neck without a break.
Muzzle (5 points): The muzzle shall follow gentle contours in conformity with the skull, as viewed from the front profile. Chin shall be full, neither undershot nor overshot, having a rounded appearance. The muzzle shall not be sharply pointed and there shall be no evidence of snipiness, foxiness or whisker pinch.
Ears (5 points): Large, alert, moderately pointed, broad and cupped at the base . Ear set on a line towards the rear of the skull. The inner ear shall have horizontal tufts that reach nearly to the other side of the ear; tufts desirable.
Eye Shape (5 points): Almond-shaped, large, brilliant and expressive. Skull aperture neither round nor oriental. Eyes accented by dark lidskin, encircled by light-colored area. Above each, a short dark verticle pencil stroke with a dark pencil line continuing from the upper lid towards the ear.
Eye Color (5 points): Gold or green - the more richness and depth of color the better.
Torso (10 points): Medium long, lithe and graceful, showing well-developed muscular strength. Rib cage is rounded; back is slightly arched, giving the appearance of a cat about to spring; flank level with no tuck-up. Conformation strikes a medium between the extremes of cobby and svelte, lengthy types.
Legs and Feet (10 points): Legs in proportion to torso; feet oval and compact. When standing, the Somali gives the impression of being nimble and quick. Toes: five in front and four in back.
Tail (5 points): Having a full brush, thick at the base and slightly tapering. Length in balance with torso.
Color (10 points): Ruddies: Overall
of an orange-brown or ruddy tipped with black.
Color has radiant or glowing quality. Darker
shading along the spine allowed. Underside of
body and inside of legs and chest to be an even
ruddy tone, harmonizing with the topcoat; without
ticking, barring, necklaces or belly marks. Nose
leather tile red; paw pads black or dark brown
with black between toes and extending upward on
rear legs. Toe tufts on front and rear feet black
or dark brown. White or off white on upper
throat, lips and nostrils only. Tail continuing
the dark spine line ending at the black at the
tip. Complete absence of rings on tail.
Preference given to unmarked ruddy color. Wars
tipped with black or dark brown.
Ticking (10 points): Beginning at skin with ruddy tone alternating with black for ruddies. Beginning at skin with red tone alternating with chocolate-brown for reds. (PLEASE NOTE: The Somali is extremely slow in showing mature ticking and allowances should be made for kittens and young cats.)
Texture (10 points): Very soft to the touch, extremely fine textured and double coated. The more dense the coat the better.
Length (15 points): A medium-length coat, except over the shoulders, where a slightly shorter length is permitted. Preference is to be given to a cat with ruff and breeches, giving a full-coated appearance to the cat.
Condition (5 points): The cat is to give the appearance of activity, sound health and general vigor.
Pattern Faults: Necklaces, leg bars, tabby stripes or bars on body. Lack of desired markings on head and tail. Black roots (reverse ticking).
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THE ORIGIN OF THE SOMALI
All registered North American Somalis can, without exception, be traced to a single source - an Abyssinian imported from England in 1952 by Mrs. Francis Shuler-Taft of the Selene Cattery. This male Abyssinian, Raby Chuffa (68-SB-699A), traces his pedigree to Roverdale Purrkins, an English female of foundation registry.
Mrs. Janet Robertson, founder of Roverdale Cattery, reported to the Somali Cat Club of America, a non-affiliated club, that Purrkins' dam, Mrs. Mew, was an unregistered feline of unknown ancestry who was pregnant when she was found prowling the bomb-pocked streets of London during the closing days of World War II. Mrs. Mew produced two kittens in this litter, an agouti-colored female who was registered as an Abyssinian (Purrkins), and a solid black male who never received entry into the G.C.C.F. registry.
We submit that it was through this accidental hybridization and others like it that the longhaired gene was incorporated into the Abyssinian bloodlines, and from it the Longhaired Abyssinian, or Somali as the breed is known now throughout the fancy, came into being.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOMALI IN THE UNITED STATES
Our earliest record of the existence of the Somali in the United States comes from Mrs. Virginia Daly of Dalai Cattery. She reported seeing a longhaired Abyssinian being shown in the Household Pet classes of a Buffalo, NY cat show in 1955. According to Mrs. Daly, the sire of this cat was Raby Chuffa of Selene. The other kittens in the litter from which this early Somali came were all shorthaired Abyssinians.
In 1965 the first Somali to be shown as an A.O.V. Abyssinian Appeared at a Long Island cat show. Bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Levy of Neffi Cattery in Queens, N.Y., this cat was representative of the many longhaired Abyssinians which they had bred.
During this same time period, Mrs. Mary Bolles (Si-Aby Cattery), Mr. Ken McGill (Dunedin Cattery), Mrs. Dorothy Lech (Three Crowns Cattery), and several other breeders also were discovering longhaired Abyssinians in their Abyssinian-to-Abyssinian litters, and, unknown to each other, were planning to continue to breed these longhairs within their own catteries. However, since they were totally unaware of each other's work, a coherent breeding program was never established, and each eventually sold their original stock and began to breed Abyssinians from new and different bloodlines.
We can now see, from the above facts, that the Somali was not the product of an individual breeder's whim, but rather is a naturally established, hybridized breed that has persisted against all attempts by early breeders to rid their Abyssinian lines of the longhair gene.
For some thirty years many breeders refused to admit - at least publically - that Somalis had been born in their litters of Abyssinian-to- Abyssinian breedings, or that there could possibly be a longhaired gene present in some Abyssinian bloodlines. In 1973 the Somali Cat Club of America was established, and with its inception, the Somali emerged from the breeders' "closet" and began to be accepted more widely by members of the fancy, both breeders and casual onlookers. Since that time, the Somali has gained in popularity, and through dedicated breeding programs, has continued to improve generation after generation.
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The Somali's popularity has given rise to three breed clubs - The Somali Cat Club of America which was mentioned previously, and two CFA-affiliated clubs, The Somali Breeders club and the International Somali Cat Club. Total membership in these clubs now exceeds 125 fanciers, and reflects a geographic interest in the breed that spans from coast to coast in the United States and Canada, and across the oceans in England, Germany, France and Australia.
Newsletters are published, meetings held, and information concerning the Somali dispensed throughout the fancy. Growing interest from overseas fanciers has resulted in two milestones. A breeding pair of ruddy Somalis was shipped to Germany, and a ruddy female is now the prized object d'affection of a lady doctor in Paris, France.
Breeders in England, Australia, and New Zealand have reported recently that the Somali has existed in those countries for more than a decade, independent of American stock.
Currently there are 325 Somalis registered with C.F.A. - 290 ruddies and 35 reds. This represents an increase of approximately 50% in just the past twelve months. There are now at least forty catteries that are actively involved in Somali breeding programs; five years ago there were perhaps only four active breeders.
In 1974, not one Somali appeared in the show rings of any association, although a few were on exhibition in various show halls. In 1975, Somalis were shown 29 times, and the following year saw a jump of 50% in Somali show entries. During the 1977-78 show season, Somalis were shown all across this country and in Canada, appearing no fewer than 165 times in All-American scored shows. In C.F.A. shows today, many judges are seeing classes of ten or more Somalis.
In 1973, there were no breeder's ads for Somalis appearing in any publication of the cat fancy. The September 1978 issue of Cats Magazine, however, carried no fewer than ten ads for Somalis, and ads are now appearing regularly in most feline publications, including the C.F.A.Yearbook.
Popular acceptance and interest in the Somali has culminated in the publication of two feature articles in CAT WORLD Magazine, an article in CAT FANCY Magazine, and in the appearance of a Somali kitten on the cover of the August 1978 CATS Magazine. We are no longer met in show halls by the query, "What is a Somali?"
In light of the information presented herein, the members of The Somali Breeders Club respectfully request that the Board of Directors recognize the Somali for championship status as a breed that is worthy of competing in C.F.A. show rings for the following reasons:
We firmly believe that today's Somali meets all of the requirements necessary to compete in championship classes for the honors bestowed by C.F.A. We also believe, in all sincerity, that the Somali serves the best interests of the fancy, and will continue to produce generations of beautiful, healthy, and loving cats.
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