Abyssinians are extremely affectionate,
sweet-tempered, intelligent cats and make wonderful companions to people of
all ages. The bond between an Abyssinian and owner is unlike that of any
other cat and, for many people once they have had an Abyssinian, they never
want to be without one. Abyssinians love to play and remain playful and
active throughout their lives, enjoying a run through the house or garden.
Often a favourite pastime is playing "fetch" with their toys. Abyssinians
love being involved in everything that you do, whether that is reading,
wrapping up presents or using a computer - they are great little "helpers"
and you will never feel lonely. They are usually happier if they have
company, whether the company is human, feline or even canine, they don't
mind. Abyssinians do not have a loud meow and often communicate with a
Brief History Of The
The Abyssinian is one of the oldest breeds of cat and has been known for
well over 100 years, it was one of the few breeds that was described in the
first standard of points written in 1889 by Harrison Weir.
The true origin of the Abyssinian is not clear but due to their resemblance
to the sacred cats of ancient Egypt, some owners feel that this is where
they descend from; they are strikingly similar to the cats found on tomb
paintings and ancient papyrus.
Ticked coated cats similar to the Abyssinian have been found to be native in
North Africa, Asia and the Middle East and it is known that a ticked cat
named Zula was brought into Britain from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1868 by
the wife of an army captain, although it is unclear whether today's
Abyssinians descend directly from Zula or whether they descend from other
ticked cats brought back to this country by sailors returning home after the
Abyssinian War in 1868.
True breeding of the Abyssinian began around 1900 and at this time any cat
that had a ticked coat could be registered as an Abyssinian. Unfortunately,
due to the two World Wars, all the work done by early breeders was very
nearly lost and it was only due to the dedication of a few breeders,
including Iris Wiseman (Contented), Edith Menezes (Taishun) and Miss Bone (Nigella),
that the Abyssinian was not lost.
How The Colours Were
Usual (picture of Usual) was
the only colour recognised for showing until the early 1960's but other
colours and long-haired kittens were sometimes produced because the agouti
gene that produces the ticked coat is dominant to most other genes and many
early Abyssinians carried hidden recessive genes such as long-hair.
Sorrel kittens were occasionally produced (picture
of Sorrel) and a few breeders decided to develop these as another
Abyssinian colour, sorrel gained recognition with the G.C.C.F. in 1963.
Sorrel was originally called "red" until 1979 when it was shown that the
gene responsible for the colour was a variation of the chocolate gene and
not the sex-linked orange gene.
Blue Abyssinians (picture of Blue)
are produced by combining the diluting gene with usual. The diluting gene
may have been present in Abyssinians since the beginning as a hidden gene.
It is known that a stud called Raby Ashanto, who was born in 1942, carried
this gene because interbreeding amongst his descendents produced some of the
earliest blues. It was not until the 1970's that breeders begun in earnest
to produce blue Abyssinians and in 1984 they gained full
Championship status with the G.C.C.F.
Once breeders begun working with the diluting gene a further colour was produced,
this was fawn (picture of Fawn) and
was produced by combining the diluting gene with sorrel. Although fawns have
been around for well over fifteen years, they only gained full Championship
status with the G.C.C.F. in 2000.
Another two colours, chocolate (picture
of Chocolate) and lilac (picture of
Lilac) were produced by the introduction of the chocolate gene (lilac is the
dilute of chocolate) from an outcross of a sorrel Abyssinian to a
chocolate point Siamese in the early 1970's, it is believed that all of
today's chocolate and lilac Abyssinians are descended from a chocolate
Abyssinian named Arboreal Chocolate Katrina who was produced from this
outcross. Chocolates and lilacs have yet to gain full championship status
with the G.C.C.F. but have been granted Provisional status since June 2003 -
so hopefully Championship status isn't far away!
Silver Abyssinians (picture
of Usual(black) Silver)were around at the turn of the century and appeared to
have been quite popular until the 1920's when they seemed to have died out
in Great Britain. This is thought to have been due to some breeders
that the silver gene ruined the colour of usuals by giving it a dull,
greyish tone instead of the rich, warm tones. The silver gene was
reintroduced in the 1960's by an outcross to a British Silver Spotted Tabby
and most of the silver Abyssinians bred in Great Britain today are descended
from this mating. Silver Abyssinians have remained popular in America from
the early 1900's when two silver Abyssinians were imported from a British
breeder. The silver gene is an inhibiting gene and makes the undercoat of an
Abyssinian a silvery-white colour. All Abyssinian colours can be produced as
silvers. All silver Abyssinians (except sex-linked) have had full
Championship status with the G.C.C.F since 1998.
The sex-linked red gene has also been introduced. This has given red
(picture of sex-linked Red)
cream Abyssinians along with tortie versions of all the other colours
including silver (picture of
sex-linked Red Silver). Sex-linked Abyssinians only have Preliminary status with
G.C.C.F. Standard Of
General Type Standard:
A balanced medium sized animal of foreign
type. The lithe, muscular body should be of medium build and have a well
ticked close lying coat, which conforms to the standard for that colour. A
cat should not be placed high just because it has one outstanding quality.
All head contours should be gently
rounded, especially from the brow to the top of the head. Wide between the
ears, forming a moderate wedge, which tapers from the outer edge of the ear
base to a slightly rounded muzzle. A slight indentation forms the muzzle.
Allowance should be made for fuller cheeks in adult males. A slight nose
break is essential: a bump on the nose is undesirable. The line from the
nose tip to the very firm chin should be straight. An elegant neck should
arch in an unbroken line from the top of the head to shoulders.
Set wide apart, large, well cupped,
pricked and furry on their inner edges. Ear tufts are desirable. From the
front view, the line of the ears should follow the head wedge.
well apart, large expressive and rounded almond shape in an oriental
setting. Colour to be a deep shade of amber, hazel, or green.
Lithe, muscular body of medium build and size. Back straight from shoulder
to rump and ribcage rounded.
Slender and elegant, in
proportion to the body with small oval feet.
Thick at base,
tapering and long enough to reach the cats shoulders.
Short and close lying,
fine, but not soft. Distinctly ticked, resulting in at least four bands of
colour. The roots must be the colour of the base hair, and the final band
must be of the ticking colour.
Pigmentation lines of the ticking
colour must extend from the inner edge of the eye to the top of the head:
and also from the outer edge of the eye to the edge of the ear.
The hair around the eyes is pale and the eyelid
darker. The back of the ears should be darker at the tips, preferably with
clear, brighter colour at the base. Chin, lips, and nostrils should be the
colour of the base hair, or cream: white hair is undesirable. White
markings, such as a locket, anywhere are not permitted. A line of ticking
colour should extend from the back of the head along the spine and tail,
ending in a solid tip of that colour, the same colour to extend well up the
hock. There should be no heavy necklet or bars or any other marks, although,
a faint broken necklet, or slight leg barring is acceptable.
SCALE OF POINTS:
Eyes - 5
Body - 15
Legs and Feet- 10
Tail - 5
Markings and Ticking -
Total Points -
White markings, such as a locket (see section for
withholding certificates No.1)
Cobby, coarse, or oriental type.
WITHHOLD CERTIFICATES OR
FIRST PRIZE IN KITTEN OPEN CLASSES:
1. White extending down the neck.
2. Unbroken necklace.
3. Absence of required pigmentation marks on
head and around eyes in adults.
4. Absence of darker tail tip.
5. Rings on tail.
Lack of overall silver effect owing to excessive
yellow pigmentation in silver exhibits.
Ill defined or incorrect ticking.
8. Fewer than four bands of colour in
9. Absence of firm chin.
10. Lack of slight nose break.
11. Whip tail.
12. Any fault listed in the G.C.C.F list of
13. Two or more faults as listed below.
Pinched muzzle or lack of muzzle indentation.
Pale or muddy eye colour.
Eyes not in oriental setting.
Heavy broken necklets.
Absence of spinal shading in adults.
Absence of darker markings on hind legs.
Substantial barring on legs.
Dark root on a major area of the body.
Fluffy, soft, over-long or rough coat.
Yellow pigmentation anywhere on a silver adult
Abyssinian Colour Standards:
23 Usual Abyssinian
Rich Golden brown
ticked with black
Ruddy orange or apricot
Ticking Colour: Black
Nose leather: Brick red
23a Sorrel Abyssinian
Overall Appearance:- Lustrous copper ticked
Base Hair: Bright apricot
Ticking Colour: Chocolate
Nose Leather: Pink
23c - Blue Abyssinian
Overall Appearance:- Soft warm blue ticked
with deeper blue-grey
Base Hair: Pinkish mushroom
Ticking colour: Blue-grey
Nose Leather: Dark pink
23b Chocolate Abyssinian
Overall Appearance:- Rich copper brown ticked
with dark chocolate
Base Hair: Rich apricot
Ticking Colour: Dark chocolate
Nose leather: Pinky-chocolate
23d - Lilac Abyssinian
Overall appearance:- Warm (pinkish) dove grey
ticked with deeper dove grey
Base Hair: Pinkish-cream
Ticking Colour: pinkish-dove grey
Nose Leather: Mauvish-pink
23e Fawn Abyssinian
Overall appearance:- Warm fawn ticked with
Base Hair: Fawny cream
Ticking colour: Fawn
Nose Leather: Pink