A Historical View of Solid Color Persians

Photo by Chanan
by Judy & Greg Brocato

Originally published in The Cat Fanciers’ Almanac, 1995

Reviewing the history of the Solid Color Persian is like taking a stroll down the Walk of Stars in Hollywood. Around every corner one finds another famous name, another memorable face. The streets are bright with feline stars who marked their time in history. Their legacy has left an imprint on our Persians of today.

The CFA standard today suggests that the ideal Persian should present an impression of a heavily boned, well-balanced cat with a sweet expression and soft, round lines. Our present standard recognizes Solid Persians in nine different color classes: white Persians (in blue-eyed, copper-eyed, and odd-eyed), blue Persians, black Persians, red Persians, peke-faced red Persians (quite rare today), cream Persians, and chocolate and lilac Persians (shown together in the Other Solid Color Class).

These beautiful Solid colors form the glamour division of the Persian Breed. Their long flowing coats, pansylike faces, and familiar coat colors make them favorites of cat lovers worldwide. They have sweet and gentle personalities that adapt as easily to the hustle and bustle of cat shows as they do to quiet family life. Their quiet, melodious voices are pleasant and non abrasive. They communicate as much with their large expressive eyes as they do with their voices. Playful but never demanding, they like to have their feet planted firmly on the ground. The dignified Persian is not inclined to swing from the drapes or perch atop the bookcase. Their more sedate nature, however, does not reflect a lack of intelligence. Solid Persians are very bright and many owners have described them as being doglike in devotion to the special people in their lives.

The grooming required to keep a Solid Persian looking beautiful requires a great deal of effort. The long, flowing coat that makes the Persian so glamorous can quickly become a nightmare for an inattentive owner. Perfect grooming can not be achieved unless the animal is in first-class condition. Appropriate condition can be achieved by providing protected environment, proper diet, daily exercise to encourage muscle development, and freedom from parasites and disease. Owners should be prepared to spend time each day grooming. A routine should be established to include a daily cleaning of the face to remove stains and a complete run-through with a metal comb to eliminate tangles. Baths are necessary once a week (or at least every two weeks) to remove excess oils, dead coat and to stimulate new coat growth. It is not necessary to keep temperatures uncomfortably low to encourage coat growth. It is the photoperiod (length of daylight to which cats are exposed) that most strongly influences coat changes. Most indoor cats will shed moderately year-round because indoor life provides an artificial environment of electrically extended daylight. Shorter amounts of daylight will encourage coat growth. In the reverse, longer exposure to daylight will encourage cats to cycle. Solid Persians exhibit one of two different coat textures. The first and easiest to care for is the dominant or hard coat texture that is characteristic of black, red, and some white Persians. This hard coat texture is silky, shiny, and more resilient. The second coat texture that may be encountered is the dilute or soft coat that is often exhibited by blues and creams. The soft coat texture is cottonlike, standing away from the body, and much more inclined to stain or mat. Each of the Solid Persian colors have products that are specialized for their unique color.

For instance, some breeders of white Persians use shampoos or rinses that contain bluing. It is thought that a bluing rinse reflects light, giving a purer, sparkling appearance to the coat. Many black and red Persians are groomed with Bay Rum as a finishing spray to make the coat glisten and stand off from the body. But beware, such sprays can bring out any tabby bars hiding under that solid coat. Various powders are used to even coat color in blues and creams. Dark tips which appear on the ends of blue and cream coats are often removed by finger plucking or trimming with thinning scissors. There are as many techniques as there are cats on which to use them. Trial and error will show very clearly which method of grooming is best suited to the different coat texture and color of a particular cat.

It is interesting to note that the term Solid proves to be inaccurate when viewing Solid Persians in genetic terms. Solid Persians are genetically tabbies. Since all cats carry some form of the tabby gene, how is it that some have solid color coats? The answer lies in the agouti gene. The gene that causes agouti banding has an alternate non-agouti form. Cats that express the non-agouti form of the gene do NOT have banding on the hairs between their tabby stripes. The non-agouti hairs mask the tabby appearance, making the cat appear solid (self) colored. These cats are, nonetheless, genetic tabbies. They carry the gene for the pattern, and they usually have ghost tabby markings when they are kittens. But when they become adult cats, you may not be able to see the tabby markings, explains Dr. Soliveig Pfueger, a clinical geneticist.

The Early Years (1900-1970)

The history of the Persian is unrecorded prior to 1520 and its origin can never be proven. Persians may have stemmed from cats known as Angoras originating from Turkey which were crossed with other longhairs from Persia, Afghanistan, Burma, China, and Russia. Cats from these blended lines were brought to Europe about 300 years ago through Italy and France. Rustic examples of our modern solid Persians appeared in England among the 160 exhibits at the first British show held on July 13, 1871. At the first cat shows in Britain there were few recognized breeds, so cats were put into classes more or less according to color. There were Longhair classes for some specific colors such as black, white, and tabby, but the majority of cats were entered under the heading of Any Other Color. By the turn of the century British imports began influencing the Persian breed in America. The British cat fancy, although still in its own infancy, laid the groundwork for what would become decades of dominance of the Solid Color Persians in the United States.

Mrs. Clinton Locke, founder of the Beresford Cat Club of Chicago, was the first woman in America to operate a cattery. It is claimed to have been in existence for 25 years prior to 1900. Mrs. Locke had the second imported cat in the US. (The first was Madam, a black Longhair from Spain). Mrs. Locke’s cats carried off the Best Cat Awards in each of the first three Beresford shows. Her silver male, Lockehaven Smerdis, won Best in Show in 1900 but her Solid Color Persians dominated the subsequent shows. Her blue female, Melrose Lassie, was the winner in 1901, and Romaldkirk Lupin, a blue male, won in 1902. Mrs. Locke’s Beresford Club published its Stud Book and Registry from July 1899 through July 1905. The registration fee was $1. The first entry was Lake Shore Vashti, a golden-eyed blue female Longhair owned by Mrs. S.E. Gross of Chicago. In 1903 the string of Mrs. Locke’s Best In Show wins came to an end with the award going to an orange-eyed white Longhair male named Bartimeus, owned by Mrs. Josiah Cratty.

Harrison Weir, a well-known British artist and cat lover, studied cats for almost half a century and gave us the first Standards for all recognized breeds and colors. Published in a book entitled Our Cats in 1889, these Standards were called Points of Excellence. American breeders initially followed these standards. In 1903 H.F. Vidal published the Cat Journal in the U.S. giving detailed descriptions of the Solid Color classes of his time. And in 1909 D.B. Champion wrote Everybody’s Cat Book which described the perfect show-type Persian. Many phrases from this 1909 description sound quite familiar: round head, short face, snubby nose with stop, round and full cheeks, large eyes, cobby body deep and broad in the chest. At this time, however, each color was treated as if it were a separate breed.

It is obvious that Solid Color Persians were already present and competing by the time CFA appeared on the scene in 1906. By this time, Solid Color Persians had credentials complete with breeding and show statistics. The first official CFA Longhair Standard was adopted at a Special Board Meeting held May 19, 1914. Among the nine color classes described under these 1914 Longhair Standards, the following solid colors were noted: whites, blacks, blues, oranges, and creams. It has taken decades of selective breeding to produce our modern Solid Persians. Yet it is amazing how closely our current Solids resemble the ideal standard described by D.B. Champion in 1909.

White Persians

It is reported that the first longhaired cats in England were blue-eyed white Angora cats. According to Harrison Weir in his book, Our Cats, many were imported from Paris and were always referred to as the French cats. In 1903, H.F. Vidal noted, “The white class in our shows is generally one of the best filled, that is, in quality, notwithstanding the fact that on the continent preference is generally for the warmer colors.” At the turn of the century whites were a favorite among the aristocracy. Lady Decies bred numerous cats all bearing the Fulmer prefix. Mrs. McLaren Morrison had a number of whites in her cattery, the most famous a blue-eyed named Crystal. Crystal was purchased in 1898 at four months of age. Mrs. Morrison claimed Crystal to have been a good investment because she had been defeated only once in the show ring and had produced sixteen white kittens (ten of which were blue eyed).

In the early 1900’s whites were so fashionable at American shows that classification was divided into blue-eyed and golden-eyed and again into male and female. A male called Jungfrau appeared as sire and grandsire of a number of early white winners. Mrs. Clinton Locke of Chicago imported many of the first whites to the U.S. Mrs. Locke wrote that the first white she owned was brought to her from Persia by a traveler. Apparently descendants of this cat when mated with either amber-eyed or blue-eyed cats produced blue-eyed kittens. Another of Mrs. Locke’s imports was a blue-eyed white English import called Lord Gwynne. In 1903 Frances Simpson wrote in Book of the Cat, “It is a pity to try mating white cats with any other variety, as broken-colored cats will probably be the result.” Most early white breeders agreed with this theory so it was a newsworthy event when success was achieved by outcrossing to solid blues. The first CFA white grand was GC Rosedere White Hope of Arlington bred by Miss Emma Payne. White Hope came from a breeding between a blue, Lavender Centurian, and a blue-eyed white, CH Rosedere White Orchid. The first white female grand was a blue-eyed female named Queen High owned by Mrs. Rymal. In addition to the benefits in type, the introduction of blues (or even blacks) also resulted in purer coat color.

Mrs. Annie Revington, of Bristol, Tennessee, began breeding blue Persians in 1923 and her Dixi-Land cattery became internationally famous. She added whites to her program in 1936. During this era it was agreed that blues excelled in type and physique. With this in mind Mrs. Revington bred the leading blue female of her day, CH Dixi-Land’s Margaret Rose of Allington (imp) to White Hope resulting in two history making whites: GC Dixi-Land’s White Historian (the first) and CH Dixi-Land’s Innocence. Being ignorant at the time about dark spots that often appear on the heads of kittens masking blue (as well as other colors), Mrs. Revington wrote that at first she thought she had pets on her hands! In 1949 GC Dixi-Land’s White Historian II won Best Opposite Sex Cat of the Year.

In 1951 Blanche Smith began her Gallahad cattery specializing in blue-eyed whites. Mrs. Smith credits Mrs. F.E.J. Champion and Miss D.B. Champion (mother and daughter) and Mrs. Revington with playing a tremendously important part in developing BEWs. She notes the first important BEW grands as Van Dyke’s Miss Bob White (Lila Rippy, breeder) and GC Milky Way Enchanted Prince (Ruth Hayes, breeder). In the 1950’s Mrs. Smith and Rita Swenson fought for CFA recognition of the odd-eyed white as an aid in blue-eyed white breeding programs. Although the value of OEW in BEW breeding had been recognized as early as 1903, official recognition for odd-eyes was considered a radical idea by many breeders of this era. Two of Blanche Smith’s most famous blue-eyed whites, GC Gallahad’s Faith and GC Gallahad’s Heritage, were from odd-eyed to odd-eyed breedings.

The 1960’s saw a flurry of whites in the forefront. GC Shawnee Moonflight earned three Cat of the Year titles (1960, 1961, 1964) for Nikki Horner. Pat Johnston, of Azulita Cattery in San Diego was already one of the best known breeders of blues when she began breeding whites in 1960. Success was quickly attained breeding and exhibiting these whites including 1961 Opp. Sex Cat of the Year and a 1963 Cat of the Year win with GC Azulita Paleface of Casa Cielo. Barbara (Long) Flugrad began her Babalong cattery in the 1960’s with her first pedigreed cat, a blue. She combined Blue Acre, Erman, and Illini Pines to create the Babalong look which is especially noted for its beautifully rounded dome. Babalong blue-eyed whites grace many pedigrees of modern white Persians. The Simbelair whites of Mrs. Lois Weston came to fame in the 1960’s by combining cats from Skyway, Bloemhill (for intense eye color), Babalong, and Azulita (for improved boning). CH Skyway’s Rajah of Simbelair was the sire of 20 white grands many being the foundation of other lines. In 1968 GC Simbelair Aristocrat (OEW male) became the first Simbelair National winner, earning #2 LH male for owner Marcena Myers. GC Simbelair Fantastic and GC Simbelair Azaraf were two other top winners who marked many future pedigrees. The Kilarney Cattery of Tom and Ellen Brown was started with Bloemhill and Silva-Wyte bloodlines. Their first white grand sired 1969 Kitten of the Year GC Kilarney’s Tom Tom (cream).

Blue Persians

In the developmental years of the late 1800’s in England most blues carried ghost stripes and/or various degrees of white spotting. Therefore all blues were shown together in the AOC (Any Other Color) class regardless of pattern. These early solid blues were very dark in color and often referred to as London Smokes. Miss Frances Simpson is credited with exhibiting the first all blue kittens at the Crystal Palace. These kittens were reported to have come from brown tabby breeding. Solid (self) blues received their own color class in 1889 and enjoyed immediate popularity. The first time this new class was offered it drew 17 entries. A cat called Turco owned by Mr. A.A. Clarke (cat fancier and judge) was listed as the sire of several of these entries. Preceding shows at Westminster recorded 42 blue males and 48 blue females in competition! Even Queen Victoria was the proud owner of a pair of blue Persians. In the late 1800’s blues had narrow skulls, long noses, and dark coat color. Many had orange to yellow eye color with green rims. Emphasis was placed from the beginning on creating a coat of a pale, even shade of lavender blue. In 1901 the Blue Persian Society was formed in Britain by Miss Simpson to emphasize this goal. One early cat that had a great effect on the blues was a cat called Darius who was noted as having outstanding shape and bone of head. At this same time Mrs. Locke imported two blues, Romaldkirk Lupin and Melrose Lassie. Kew Iris, a blue bred by Dr. Ottolengui (living in Saratoga, New York in 1902), won many prizes in England and America and was considered one of the best blues ever bred in the early 1900’s. Dr. Ottolengui also purchased Lady Lola and Iris, both daughters of Mrs. Locke’s Lupin x Lassie cross.

The first decades of the 1900’s found marked improvement in head type and ear set but blues still lacked improvement in eye size and color, expression, and coat length and color. After World War I, CH Azure of Hadley was the only blue listed at stud in England. Great influence was exerted on the color class by a blue male, Milford O Mendip. Born in 1919 Mendip was said to have excelled in type with a fine head, neat ears, and large expressive eyes. He was described as carrying a great wealth of medium, blue coat with a lovely texture, which most of his offspring inherited. He became sire of much of the foundation stock of our present day blues. He sired Eros of Allington, Sweet September of Hawkhurst, Townfield Flyfast, and Sweet Lavender of Dunesk.

The years 1920 to 1930 were called the golden period of blues. Mr. Cyril Yeates, noted fancier of the era, promoted blue Persians and innovated many changes in show management. The 1935 Crystal Palace show boasted 1141 entries under his management. His wife, Gretta, is credited with showing a peke-face blue named Princess Myra. Photos of Princess Myra show her to have a soft expression though not at all extreme. Cats from the famous Dunesk, Pensford, and Allington catteries set the type for solid blues in England; and along with CH Foxburrow Frivolous (bred by Mr. P. Soderberg and owned by Grace Pond), influenced many early US pedigrees.

In 1923 Mrs. M. Brunton, breeder of the internationally famous Dunesk Persians, became interested in blues. A blue female kitten named Meadowsweet became the foundation of the Dunesk line, marking the line with her pale sound coat. Meadowsweet was a vigorous cat who lived to be 19, producing a kitten at the age of 14! Meadowsweet’s progeny included Wanda of Dunesk, Rambler Rose, Sweet September, Wild Violet, and Dewdrop.

Another name synonymous with fine blues is Miss Evelyn Langston, Allington Cattery. Miss Langston’s blue female, CH Mair of Allington, was one of the most influential on American lines. Mair had an extreme head and very round eyes. Her notable descendants include Rosita and Dylan, both of Allington Cattery, and three who went to Dunesk Cattery: Dear David, June Rose Bear, and Donald Duck. Mair’s two litter sisters were exported to Mrs. Arvid G. Ohlin, of the famous Wimauma cattery. P.M. Soderberg, cat author, theorized that there was no gradual improvement of type. Rather, quite suddenly, there would appear a variation, creating one outstanding cat. During the next few years this cat’s influence would be great. Then there would seem to be a period of little or no progress until another animal of unusual quality appeared. His theory could well be applied to Mair.

As for blues in America, Jeanie McPhee writes, “We are fortunate in having two pioneers of the blues (in America). These two stalwart breeders need little introduction, for Elsie Hydon and Annie Revington ARE the history of blues. What blue pedigree doesn t record a heritage of Lavender or Dixi-Land?” Miss Hydon started breeding in 1908 in Bogata, NJ. She acquired her first blue queen, Avril, in 1911. Miss Hydon began judging in 1919 and served as CFA President from 1933-1950. Her Lavender Liberty Beau was 1950 Cat of the Year. It is noted that she imported sixty cats during her career and exported her Lavender Persians worldwide. Mrs. Revington began breeding blue Persians in 1923 and her Dixi-Land cattery became internationally famous. Mrs. Revington, CFA judge and member of the Executive Board, was also an enthusiastic exhibitor. Her GC Dixi-Land Montpelier Victor was often cited as near perfection. CH Dixi-Land Wycliffe was famous as sire and grandsire of many of our best blues. Though he died at an early age his progeny were numerous.

In the year 1947 Mrs. Merald Hoag joined the fancy. Mrs. Hoag was strongly influenced by Annie Revington, and her first big winner was Dixi-Land’s Felice of Nor-Mont, a blue, who was 1949 Cat of the Year. Mrs. Hoag celebrated another blue Cat of the Year in 1957 with Dixi-Land Sir Gai of Nor-Mont. She used in her breeding Wycliffe Chelsie of Nor-Mont, a blue described as so pale he was almost white. He sired CFA’s 2nd blue-cream Grand Champion. In the 1960’s Nor-Mont Blue Parader and Nor-Mont Confection became nationally known. During her forty-year career, Mrs. Hoag claimed six Cats of the Year, four Second Best Cats, seven Best Opposite Sex (BOX) cats and other wins too numerous to list…truly a record that will never be duplicated!

Several other breeders contributed to the blue fancy. Mrs. Eva Harris, Mrs. Ben Kendrick, and Mrs. F.L. Tebbetts (WindiBank cattery) were all early fanciers. In the 1930’s Mrs. Foster Prather and Mrs. Ohlin (Wimauma) were attracted to the blues. Colorbred blue breeders excelled in the 1960’s. Mrs. Vi Smail (Vi-Jon) and Mrs. Raymond Klotz (OL-Ray) were known for such outstanding blues as Vi-Jon Peachie’s Girl of OL-Ray (1971 Cat of the Year), Vi-Jon Lisette of OL-Ray (1969 3rd Best Female), and Vi-Jon Miss April of Ben-Mar (1968 BOX Cat of the Year). The Lowlands blues of David Bandy were also successful on a national level. Mrs. Arvid Ohlin of Wimauma and Zoe McEachern of Zoda used to ship cats across the country to each other for breeding. A blue male, Wimauma Sweetaboy, became a very important cat for these two famous blue breeders. Sweetaboy was so extreme for his time that Mrs. Ohlin never showed him and always hid him when anyone came to look at her cats. Mrs. Ohlin kept one son of Sweetaboy for herself and sent a second son to Zoe, greatly influencing the looks of both the Wimauma and Zoda cats.

Black Persians

Blacks were the first of the British solid colors to attain popularity. A black named Satan, owned by Mrs. McLaren Morrison, won every class when shown in the 1890’s in England. Another of the well known early British blacks was a cat named Dirty Dick born in 1911. Blacks were even more popular in the United States. King Max, a large black male, won First Prize at the Boston Cat Show in 1897, 1898, and 1899. Owned by Mrs. E.R. Taylor he was valued at $1000 and was said to have a beautiful, dense, shiny, black coat with no sign of white hairs. Johnnie Fawe II was one of the excellent black Persians bred in England by Dr. Roper at the turn of the century and exported to the U.S. Dr. Roper noted that his best blacks came from dominant breeding (black x black or black x tortie). Although blacks were successful at early shows, in 1903 Vidal pointed out that there was room for great improvement. Many had a brown tinge and in some lights it was possible to see tabby markings. According to Richard Gebhardt the first group of noteworthy blacks appeared in England in 1936. These included Chadhurst Barry, Chadhurst Gem, Hillingdon Jackdaw, Basildon Treasure, and Della of Downside.

Most of the best American blacks were a result of blue and black crosses. Mrs. Myrtle Shipe crossed her imports with blues to produce CH Great Lakes Charcoal. Charcoal was one of the most credited studs of all time. Charcoal produced GC Great Lakes Timothy of Rosemont, owned by Frances Kosierowski. GC Pied Piper of Barbe Bleue, 1951 Cat of the Year, has been called the Grand Daddy of all our blacks. Pied Piper was owned by Bess Morse of California. Famous in the East was GC Hermcrest Natajha (sired by Lavender Blue Blaze) owned by Frances Herms. The Longhill cattery of Anthony DeSantis produced some of the finest blacks of the time. He would exhibit as many as 25 cats in a show, inevitably winning Best Kitten and Best Cat. At the request of Dick Gebhardt, Mr. DeSantis sold a top female, CH Longhill’s Black Velvet, to Robert A. Green. Black Velvet was a granddaughter of Pied Piper and when bred to Lavender Liberty Beau produced GC Vel-Vene Voo Doo of Silva-Wyte. Voo-Doo became 1959 Cat of the Year and set the standard for modern blacks. Voo-Doo’s black daughter GC Silva-Wyte Trafari of JB continued the legend by becoming 1967 Cat of the Year and producing a pedigree littered with Cats of the Year! And Trafari became grandmother of Joan O’Hara’s GC Fanci-Pantz Petti Girl of Araho, 1971 Cat of the Year.

Red Persians

English reds and creams were given a separate color class in 1895 (although reds were referred to as orange at that time). In June 1896 at a Holland Park show, 11 orange cats were benched. Lady Marcus Beresford exhibited her orange male, Lifeguard. Lifeguard was bred by Mrs. Spachman, who along with Mrs. Yeoman were noted as the leading breeders of oranges at that time.

In Harrison Weir’s Points of Excellence published in 1889 the color was described as a brilliant, sandy, or yellowish-red color. In 1903 Vidal reported orange cats were subject to many faults. He wrote, Orange and cream classes were the roost of the longest noses to be found anywhere. As today, the deepest red color was preferred; however all these early reds suffered from markings on the head and legs. Vidal reported the clearest colored reds also had the lightest colored eyes and most had cream colored chins. Only a few noteworthy reds were mentioned. Miss Beal’s famous female, Jeal, was last shown in 1901 and lived to the age of thirteen. Jeal’s descendant Romaldkirk Minotaur was said to show great improvement in head type but displayed an unclear coat. The top red of this era was Torrington Sunnysides, (owned by Mrs. Vidal) who was known for his exceptional clear red color. Mrs. Vidal was one of the first to recognize the sex-linked color inheritance demonstrated in red breeding. She wrote, “An orange stud cat is a very useful animal to have in a cattery, for crossing to him will improve many colors.” Mrs. Vidal exported many of Torrington Sunnysides’s offspring to the U.S.

The printed history of the reds is meager. One finds no influential breeders listed in the early 1900’s, no catteries that dominated the color class. Mrs. Champion wrote in 1904, “Orange cats, starting with both parents of the same color, are not at all easy to obtain in perfection.” Color faults (light coat color and/or tabby markings) were produced by red to red breedings. In the Cat Review in June 1904 Vidal described a principle of red breeding that applies today: “The only way to breed all orange kittens is from two orange parents, though those from a blue, a tortoiseshell, or a blue tortoiseshell (blue-cream) queen and an orange sire are almost invariably more rich and sound in color. Almost every orange of note that I can think of has had either a sire or a dam of a different color than orange. Several who stand out had a blue sire and a tortoiseshell dam. Thus it will be seen that it is advisable to combine an orange and a blue. The litters will necessarily be mixed and some may be a disappointment to the orange breeder; but it is surely better to breed a few really rich orange than a host of pale colored ones.”

In 1958 Nor-Mont Duffy won Best Red for Maurine Hoag. GC Ben-Mar Sparkle, a red female descended from GC Longhill’s Red Treasure, won 1959 Opp. Sex Kitten for Ben Ehrhardt. Shawnee Painting The Town Red II, owned by Nikki Horner, was a standout red female with magnificent deep red color. She was a consistent Best In Show winner during 1965-67. In 1966 the highest scoring male was a red, GC Skyway’s Eric of Nor-Mont. Bred by Vi Schuh and shown by Maurine Hoag, Eric was leading for 1967 Cat of the Year when he choked on the way to a Texas show and subsequently died. He was awarded the honor of Best LH Male posthumously that year.

Peke-Face Red Persians

The peke-faced solid red Persians would surely be first on the endangered species list, if CFA had such a list. One must be reminded to include the color class 0112 and 0113 in the Solid Division. Peke-face solid reds are not seen in exhibition today. Few of the judges polled can remember handling a solid peke-face. CFA reports only one (a male) registered in 1993 and a total of only 98 registered since 1958.

Peke-faced reds should conform in color and general type to the standard for reds; however, allowances should be made for the slightly higher ears. The underlying bone structure of the head differs greatly from the standard Persian. The nose should be depressed and indented between the eyes. The muzzle should be wrinkled. There should be a horizontal break located between the usual nose break and the top dome of the head. This second break creates half-moon boning above the eyes and an additional horizontal indentation in the center of the forehead.

Over the years the term peke-face has been inaccurately applied to many Persian exhibiting extreme head type. A true peke-face must possess the markedly different skull structure described in the standard. A peke-face red can appear in litters of normal reds. Mating a peke-face to another peke-face does not ensure that there will be pekes in the resultant litter.

Cream Persians

The first recorded cream was Cupid Bassanio born in 1890 and bred by Mrs. Kinchant. He was noted to be a big full-coated male with tabby markings and bars and is not recorded as the sire of any kittens. At the beginning of this century Miss Frances Simpson wrote that creams were then looked on as freaks or flukes and were considered spoilt oranges that were given away as pets. By 1903 it was noted that the goal of producing a coat of a pale, even shade of cream had not been attained. It was felt too many creams were dark and bordered on the color referred to as fawn. Color faults notwithstanding, the early cream/fawn Persians exhibited outstanding eye color. Many were described as having the deep copper or brown color that was most desirable. CH Romaldkirk Admiral and CH Romaldkirk Midshipmate were a pair of famous cream Persians bred in England by Miss Beal. Known as the Heavenly Twins they were big boned, fawn in color, and known for tremendous coats that they exhibited all year long. In 1903 it was said that no creams had yet been bred that could beat these twins.

Mrs. Clinton Locke introduced a number of creams into the U.S. and her male Kew Laddie proved to be a very successful stud. A photo from that time shows he had tall ears and a long nose but a beautiful coat.

The 1950’s were distinguished years for creams. GC Longhill’s Tres Chic of Flagstone was shown by Helen Muller of Texas to All American Cream Female 1953-1954-1955-1957-1959. Anthony DeSantis’ GC Longhill’s Michael was a historic cream male, admired for his flowing coat which was very pale and sound of color. Michael was an important show cat and a successful stud. A litter brother to Michael, CH Longhill’s Michaelangelo sired for Dick Gebhardt for over 13 years. GC Lee’s Hi Hat Cherie and her son, 1958 Cat of the Year GC Rosemont Golden Boy, were shown by Frances Kosierowski.

Marcena Myers began breeding in 1950. Her Castilia cattery began with Silvers and soon afterward whites and blues were added. Castilia excelled in whites, blues, and blue-creams, but when she got to creams Marcena said that was it. Her first creams were purchased from Ella Maderia (Maderia Cattery). Mrs. Maderia believed in using torties (and occasionally blue-creams) for her cream breeding. She would sell most of her creams and keep the torties for breeding. Marcena was inspired by the Longhill, Nor-Mont, and Rosemont creams and listed Longhill’s Michael as one of the most impressive creams she had seen. She purchased a son of Michael named GC Longhill’s Michael II of Castilia. Michael II lived up to the famous Longhill name. In 1963 a cream male, GC Nor-Mont Brandy of Castilia, placed 10th in the national awards and became the first of many historic combinations between Castilia and Nor-Mont catteries. Marcena explained that creams can exhibit a change in color, barred and dark one year and pale the next year. She said, “GC Castilia Pekoe of Nor-Mont was the same. He was dark the first year and got a nice color later to be the 1968 Cat of the Year. If I have to choose between color and type, I would take type over color. For no matter how good the color is, a cat must have body and head type underneath.”

In 1960 Mrs. Verner Clum (Gaylands) imported Beamsley Sunshine of Gaylands. Beamsley Sunshine was an important cream of his time with a big head, wide top head, and little ears. He proved to be an excellent combination with several famous lines: Ben-Mar, Larks Purr, and Kohinoor, to name a few. The 1962 Cat of the Year was GC Chez Moumette Cal of Mor-Mont, a double up on Longhill’s Michael. He was described as being very typey for his day with good bone and a large head. Cal was bred by Elaine Owens and owned by Maurine Hoag.

Cream lovers must pay homage to Lillias Bloem and her gorgeous, pale Bloemhill cats. Deserved respect goes to Curt Hammel and his Hadleigh cats, GC Hadleigh Hedda of Misty Mornin and Hadleigh Karmel of Misty Mornin in particular. Hadleigh Hedda was shown to 1967 Kitten of the Year by Charles Milwain and William Nix. Most importantly, credit goes to Mary Kate Carroll whose dedication to dilutes and love for creams in her Kohinoor Persians is fondly remembered by many who were privileged to know her. Her legendary breeding of littermates GC Kohinoor Cymbal and GC Kohinoor Myth will long be remembered for producing cream litter sisters GC Kohinoor Cynthia and Kohinoor Cybele. Cynthia was 20th Best Cat in 1972. Other important creams of this era are credited to Woodkiff Cattery in Tennessee (Diane Gessell) and Kilarney Cattery in NY (Ellen Brown).

Solid Chocolate and Solid Lilac Persians

The campaign to produce chocolate point and lilac point Longhairs (Himalayans) was undertaken in England by a joint effort of the Briarry (Brian Stirling-Webb) and Mingchiu (Mrs. S.M. Harding) Catteries. The result of this effort was the birth in 1957 of the first solid (self) chocolate male, Briarry Bruno. Bruno was described as being chestnut brown. His sire was a chocolate shorthair (now described as a Havana Brown). The dam’s pedigree showed Siamese and blue Persian crosses. A seemingly endless stream of cats, each bearing parts of the necessary genetic makeup, were mated to produce the first chocolate point Himalayan, Mingchiu Romeo. Concurrently, and as a natural offshoot of the genetically planned colorpoint breeding program, more self chocolate and lilac Longhairs came into being. These solid cats proved to be so striking that a large part of the resources of the Briarry and Mingchiu catteries were combined to increase and refine these novel candidates for introduction to the cat fancy. Briarry Mould of Tahma was the first chocolate LH in North America, imported in 1963 by Margaret Ewins of Montreal. In 1969 four Mingchiu chocolates came to America, including Mingchiu Osare, Mingchiu Bonzo, Mingchiu Philo. U.S. breeders of importance during this time were the Schneiders (Assissi), Elinor Pittman (Pitts), and Mrs. Skubina (Valentine),

During the 1960’s Regina van Wessem of Siyah Gush Cattery in Holland, who was also working to introduce the chocolate gene into the Colorpoint Longhairs, produced a self chocolate Longhair male, Siyah Gush Zilverschoon. This solid chocolate male was descended from a Siamese and blue-eyed white Persian cross. A black longhair son was eventually bred back to his mother to produce a solid chocolate female, Siyah Gush Hela. Miss van Wessem established a systematic breeding program which included some American stock imported to Europe. During 1970-73 her Siyah Gush line provided some important chocolate and lilac imports to the U.S. Upon her death in 1973, Mrs. Prose (Hoog Moersbergen Cattery), continued with her work in Holland. By the 1970’s when more solid chocolates and lilacs were exported to the U.S., their pedigrees already contained a blend of both these English and Dutch lines. Several American breeders worked diligently to have their visions of the solid chocolate and lilacs taken seriously: Patrick Horan (Miversnit Cattery), Janet Tyra (Tyland Cattery), Hazel and Les Lehman (Ha-Lee Cattery), Lyle Kaufman (Lyka Cattery) and perhaps most importantly, Toni Renzacci of Cactusway Cattery.

To understand the solid chocolate and lilac breeding program, a chocolate point (CP) or lilac point (LP) Himalayan is an ideal starting point. Chocolate is a recessive gene as blue is a recessive gene, and lilac has the same relationship to chocolate that blue has to black. Crossing a CP or LP with a solid black or blue Persian will produce an offspring of black or blue phenotype who bear both the genes for chocolate and for point pattern in their recessive forms. All the necessary genes to produce a solid chocolate or lilac offspring are present. This can be done by mating to cats of a similar genotype or by again mating back to a CP or LP Himalayan. The resulting kittens will come in a variety of colors, both pointed and solid. In the hands of genetically knowledgeable breeders, successful production of Solid chocolate and lilac Persians may be achieved. Since each generation away from the presence of pointed cats in the ancestry halves the probability of producing pointed kittens in the litters, there are in existence today chocolates and lilacs who will produce no pointed progeny. Once a breeder has produced males and females in the desired chocolate and lilac solid cats, outcrossing to other Persian patterns can result in a full expansion of the chocolate spectrum in longhair cats.

Effective May 1, 1981 CFA gave chocolates and lilacs championship recognition in a Solid Color Division of the Himalayan breed. And in 1984 when Himalayans became a separate division of the Persian breed, the solid chocolates and lilac were assigned championship status in the OSCC (Other Solid Color Class) of the Solid Color Persian Division. CFA’s first (and only) solid lilac grand, was GC Lyka’s Shadowbox who earned her title in 1982. The first solid chocolate grand was GC Cactusway’s Chocolate Bruiser. A full sister of Chocolate Bruiser named Pazzazz is the grandmother of CFA’s 2nd solid chocolate grand, GC QDPies Reality. The third, and final, solid chocolate grand to date is GC Cactusway’s Chocolate Memories, granded by Lorraine Shelton last October.

The Modern Years

By the 1970’s our cat fancy was stepping into the modern age. The national award system was restructured and expanded. The Hydon-Goodwin All-Star Awards were replaced by a new National Awards program. In 1971 the Highest Scoring Opposite Sex placements were exchanged for Best through Tenth Best Cat placements. During this era Solid Persians often claimed up to 50% of all national awards. Show formats were altered from top five to top ten in every final, thus encouraging greater participation by exhibitors. The CFA Yearbook, first published in 1958, was issued in hard cover for the first time in 1973 and quickly found a place of honor on every bookshelf.

The decade of the 1970’s continued to celebrate the beautiful dilutes. GC Dior Napoleon of Mirza shocked the fancy. Napoleon was a blue male from Wimauma background whose extreme head type was far ahead of his time. Several well-known breeders from our current show scene made their first national wins during the 70’s: Donna & Susan Cook with their stunning Jadon creams; Lois & Clark Jensen with blues and creams both from their own Jensen cattery as well as from the Sandef cattery of JoAnn (Cummings) & Earl Sandefur; Marcia & Leon Samuels with blues and creams from their Q-T Cats Cattery as well as from the Wheeler and Kilarney catteries; Donna Jean Thompson with her Jeannel blues backed by Erman Theodocious, and Jeanie McPhee with Co-Mc blues. White Persians became quite popular with Castilia, Can-Do, and Wil-O-Rose (backed by Simbelair Fantastic) accepting honors. Perhaps the most notable event of the 70’s was the emergence of a strong black color class producing four 1970’s Cats of the Year: Fanci-Pantz Petti Girl of Araho, Hawthorne Nite Liter of Lee, Surrey Hill Secret, and Jama Kats Midnight Sun. These trend setting cats were shown by Joan O’Hara (1971), Bill & Gayle Lee (1975), Gene Darrah (1977) and Marlene Luyster (1978). Evelyn Prather’s Prim-Pet cats came to fame during the 70’s. Using as a foundation male GC Shennen Desert Cloud (cream) and CH Prim-Pet Hanky Panky (blue), Evelyn not only earned top awards herself but provided foundations for several other top Persian breeding programs including Surrey Hill, Jama Kats, Midas, and Paquita. A breeding with Hanky Panky in 1977 to Bob Rodefer’s tortie, GC Lullaby Allusion of Perry Acre, produced GC, NW Yankee Doodle Dandy. Butch, as this beautiful red male was called, proved to be a very important Persian stud. First offered at stud by the Rodefers and later by his second owner Marianne Byrne (Midas), Yankee Doodle Dandy bred females from the finest breeding programs in the country. National awards garnered by his sons and daughters reflect Yankee Doodle Dandy’s enormous influence on the breed.

Coming from a successful background in the dog fancy, Charles Milwain and William Nix wasted no time in making an equally impressive mark in the cat fancy. Charlie called upon his natural eye and professional attitude to make his Misty Mornin cattery (registered in 1964) a national success. During his short five years in the cat fancy, Charlie won two Kitten of the Year titles (1966, 1967) and a Cat of the Year title (1969). Yet one of his most important contributions to the fancy would be a black male, GC Misty Mornin’s Conquest. Connie was born in July 1970 from a breeding sired by CH Catalot’s Quest (double up on Beamsley Sunshine) and out of GC Serb’s Black Gold (with a pedigree boasting four Cats of the Year). Conquest grew up in the home of Peggy Gude (Pegsden) in Atlanta. Under Peggy’s generous direction, this quite ordinary looking black male (he didn t grand until March 1974) produced some of the most extreme Persians of the decade. A historic breeding with GC Jo-Le’s Mysdeal produced multiple national winners for Joe Gianuzzi and made Conquest a hero. Eventually Conquest went to Jim Rambo who continued to make Conquest available to breeders across the country. There are few pedigrees today that don’t boast of Conquest in the background.

The decade of the 1980’s was ushered in with a group of stunning whites in the lead: Trelawny Special Delivery (Wil-O-Rose lines), Simbelair Carla, Jolee’s Ice Angel and Jolee’s Dresden of South Paw (again, Wil-O-Rose lines), and the dynasty of Windbourne white Kittens of the Year. Vicki Dickerson’s blue-eyed white kittens dominated the decade. Duplicating this success in the darker colors, the Rambo cattery produced famous blacks Rambo Jubliee, Rambo I Love A Parade, Rambo All This And Heaven Too, and Rambo Eclipse. The Mystichill cattery of Diane Silverman had the first of many national wins in 1981 with Mystichill Houdini of Jovan. Ronlyn debuted in Nationals in 1983 with Ronlyn Yoda, followed by Ronlyn ET, Ronlyn Rusty, Ronlyn Gremlin, and Ronlyn Obsession. And Bar-B sparkled with National winners Bar-B TNT, Bar-B VIC of Marhei, Bar-B Bombs Away, Bar-B Satin Doll of Myshadows, and culminating in GC Bar-B Rerun earning 1987 Cat of the Year. South Paw’s first big winner was South Paw Sunburst (1982 Best Kitten and 1983 Best Cat), followed by South Paw Gizmo, South Paw Sun Beau of Trailwood, South Paw Cloud Nine, and South Paw Wish Upon A Star (1988 Best Cat). Other famous names appearing in Nationals for the first time were Kitty Charm, Fountainhead, Jonala, Toshika and Marsamis. Wynden who appeared in 1971 with a black national kitten winner, appeared again in the late 80’s with a blue, Wynden Spodiodi. And Q-T Cats marked their second decade of wins with white, blues, creams, and also blacks.

Perhaps the most influential breeding done during this era was planned by Bob Rodefer and Peggy Gude. Peggy sent a black female, CH Pegsden Periwinkle, DM to Bob for a breeding to Yankee Doodle Dandy. Periwinkle was a double Conquest breeding backed by that famous Jo-Le cross between Conquest x Mysdeal. As agreed, Peggy got the first litter. Two black males were born in May of 1978 and were registered under the Pegsden cattery name: GC Pegsden On Parade (of Rambo), DM and Pegsden Perigrine of Kiawah. Both males came to Jim Rambo and Parade produced most of the Rambo winners of that decade. As per the agreement, Bob Rodefer kept all subsequent litters which were registered under the Lullaby name. Cats from these litters proved to be invaluable additions to many famous catteries across the country: GC Lullaby Abracadabra of Midas, DM, Lullaby Allure of Mystichill, DM, and Lullaby Peanuts of Kyetrak (born May 1980), GC Lullaby About Face of South Paw, DM and GC Lullaby Avanti of Bar-B (born March 1981), CH Lullaby Hallelujah of Charmyr, and Lullaby Gayleah of Guardian.

The decade of the 1990’s began with a unique event. Colorpoint Carriers (CPC’s) placed in the national awards for the first time in history. In 1990 Catsafrats Ice Cube (BEW) was awarded 13th Best Cat and Mullodies Sundance (red) earned 22nd Best Cat. Thus began the procession of Catsafrats CPC winners: Catsafrats Shimmering Ice (1993) and Catsfrats Bare Ice (1994). And while some things have changed, others remain quite the same. Blacks have taken top honors again during the 90’s with wins by Katrina’s Postmarque of Katra (1990 Best Cat), Trebar’s Black Tie Affair, Jadon Geoffrey Beene (1992 Best Cat), Wynden Neiman Marques, and Kitjim’s Bittersweet Harvest. Whites, perhaps more than any other color, have dominated the awards this decade with winners bred by South Paw, Toshika, Kitty Charm, Catsafrats, Anona, Spellbound, and Marsamis. The dilute colors are again coming into favor. Thanks to a fine showing by Kittrik’s Broadway Joe, Q-T Cats Ashley, Araho’s Maggie O’Reilly, and Mossrose Vanilla Fudge the fancy is reminded how beautiful the blues and creams can be.

We have been given a great legacy of Solid Color Persians. It has been a century filled with famous cats, distinguished breeders, and astounding achievements. In 1876 Dr. Gordon Stables, an early British judge, wrote, “cat shows are only in their infancy. Anyone who chances to have a good cat may nowadays take prizes. In the future years there will be no chance work about the matter at all. Those only who study breeding and rearing of cats in a scientific and sensible manner will be winners.” And winners we are. Thanks to the love and dedication of the breeders of the past century, we have inherited some of the brightest stars in CFA’s sky. In the future we must look to preserve these fine standards and continue to work to perfect clear coat colors and add additional refinement. As true breeders we are never satisfied. Our eyes are always on the next generation.