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The Russian White & the Russian Black in the UK

(updated July 2013)

The Russian Blues in the UK can trace their ancestry back prior to the 1890s, and around that time white, black and tabby Russians also featured occasionally in books and articles. However, the Russian White and the Russian Black lines now in the UK are descended from two lines, brought together in the Netherlands in 1995. The first line was developed by Frances McLeod (Arctic) in the 1960’s and the second the line produced by Dick and Mavis Jones in Australia in the 1970’s.

Frances McLeod stated that her line was from a white female kitten born in 1961, which she said was from a Russian boat and given to her by a friend. The GCCF registered the kitten as Arctic Chumvi, Breed No 26 AOV Foreign Type. Sadly Frances McLeod died earlier this year.

In the ‘60s, the gene pool of the Russian Blue was stated to be low and limited out-crossing to blue-point Siamese and domestic cats was carried out. As Chumvi had an excellent coat, the well-respected breeder and judge Mrs Grace Pond suggested mating that white female to a Russian Blue stud. Frances McLeod followed a breeding programme with the assistance of Miss F H Laugher of Jennymay Russians, mating Chumvi to a GCCF registered Russian Blue stud, Meadliam Lupun. The first two litters comprised white or blue kittens. However, the third litter produced a black kitten. This showed that Chumvi was in fact masking black under her white coat.

A male white kitten was put on the supplementary register by the GCCF as Arctic Sumairki. On later GCCF certified printed pedigrees for export he is shown as Breed No 14. In 1963 all records would presumably be handwritten, probably on cards, and there would not have been a Breed number for a Russian White. The new Russian Blue Cat Society was formed then and was looking after the Russian breed, with a new Standard being produced in 1965.

Sumairki was subsequently mated to a Russian Blue female called Harvees Amanda Too and the litter included a white green-eyed female called Osmunda, registered by the GCCF in 1968 as Russian White 16a 14c.

Frances McLeod continued breeding and showing her Arctic Russian Blues, Whites or Blacks in the UK for many years and eventually went to Australia where she continued breeding Russian cats. Over the years, other breeders continued the white or black Russian lines.

A black kitten, Arctic Lascatsya registered as 16a 15, was from a Russian Blue dam Arctic Mishura and sired by a Russian White stud masking black, Arctic Snowthistle. His line continued the Russian Whites and had come down through Arctic Finfreyer, Arctic Osmanthus back to Osmunda, and all registered as 16a 14c.

Lascatsya was bred on by Joan Lund (Lavengro) and her progeny in 1984 to Russian Blue stud Arctic Dolphin Chiricat included a Russian Black female registered as Lavengro Gypsy Rose 16a 15.

Lavengro Gypsy Rose

Frank & Joy Smith (Jofran) carried on the black line with Gypsy Rose and in 1986 exported a Russian Black female Jofran Emerald Eye to Belgium to Andrea Duerinck (van Loth-Lorien).

Before she left the UK, Emerald was mated to a Russian Blue male called Sini Ivan and in 1990 she produced a litter of six kittens, three of whom became European Champions for their breeder, one blue, two black. Emerald was mated several times to Russian Blue stud, GIC Jofran Sergi also born in the UK, and living with Andrea Duerinck, and produced some very successful kittens who went to Switzerland, Germany etc. Emerald attained the title of International Champion.


A black son from Emerald’s first litter, European Champion Black Shadow van Loth-Lorien, was mated in the Netherlands to a Russian Blue queen owned by Ingrid Nuyten (d’Affranchi) called Veruschka van Marit Iris (whose sire was a Russian Blue EC Tomanka Leonov also from the UK). That mating produced a Russian Black female Tchornia Ludmila d’Affranchi.

Ingrid Nuyten had imported from Australia a Russian White male kitten, Ch Yaralin Sjtsjoekin born in 1993, from a well-known breeder there, Hilda Blackmore (Yaralin) who died in May. She bred his sire, Gold DGC Yaralin Kosikh from her first white DGC Ramsallah Polar Viktor, bred by Mrs M Friebel.

Ch Yaralin Sjtsjoekin
Ch Yaralin Sjtsjoekin

These whites were from the Russian White breeding programme started in Australia in 1971 by Dick & Mavis Jones (Myemgay) from an imported white cat stated to be from Siberia and the family pet of an official at the Thai Embassy. She was mated to their Russian Blue stud, Ch Myemgay Yuri, producing two kittens, and they kept one, White Rose. They followed a breeding programme and the RASCC recognised the Russian Whites in 1975 to compete for Championship status. Again, a black kitten had appeared in the third generation, which was formally recognised by the RASCC in 1977, and that line is still being bred on separately in Australia etc.

Polar Viktor was sired by Russian White DGC Myemgay Arctic Kosack bred down from Myemgay Arctic Snowflake, Myemgay Arctic Star and Myemgay Arctic Girl a daughter of White Rose.

Sjtsjoekin was mated to several Russian Blue queens and those lines still continue separately in Europe. As he was white masking blue, those lines only produce white or blue progeny. Whilst with Ingrid Nuyten, he was mated to the black female Tchornia Ludmila d’Affranchi from the UK black line. This is the only time in the records that shows a mating between a Russian White and a Russian Black, and it did bring back the ability to produce blue, white or black Russian Kittens, plus return the genes of the UK blood line, which had been lost in the UK.

The next three generations in Holland from that Sjtsjoekin x Tchornia mating produced Russian White females, masking black. GIC Bjella Dushka d’Affranchi (daughter of Tchornia) had joined Evelien Bronsveld (Chatuliem Russitiem’s), who took her cats to Scotland, including EC Chatuliem Russitiem’s Orli and her daughter, Chatuliem Russitiem’s Yentle born in 2003. She had produced a Russian Black kitten in the Netherlands, showing she was genetically black.

After Chatuliem Russitiem’s Yentle joined Jennifer Sedgwick (Catwo) in England, Yentle was mated to Russian Blue European Champion Ursus Blue-bis (bred in Poland) and in November 2007 produced six kittens, one Russian Blue, four Russian White and one Russian Black, all able to be registered and shown with the GCCF with the Breed Nos of 16a, 16a 14c and 16a 15.

First Litter born in 2007 - 4 Russian Whites, 1 Russian Black and 1 Russian Blue
First Litter born in 2007 - 4 Russian Whites, 1 Russian Black and 1 Russian Blue photo by Photocat

Yentle’s second litter in 2008 to a Russian Blue stud born in the UK, Grand Champion Lubimiyeh Vaska, produced eight kittens, 7 Russian Whites and 1 Russian Black. As with the first litter, all colours of the kittens were hearing tested, but this time all the whites were also DNA tested, and it is interesting that 5 of the 7 whites were shown to be masking black.

Second Litter of 7 Russian Whites and 1 Russian Black 2008

To the middle of 2012, there have been around 40 litters of kittens descended from the imported Russian White queen Yentle. Eight UK-born Russian Blue studs and twelve UK-born Russian Blue queens have been used. More than a dozen breeders throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland have been involved with continuing the Russian White and the Russian Black, using some excellent Russian Blues.

The Russian Blues from these matings were included on the GCCF Supplementary Register and can be shown at Championship level. Several of these Blues have been shown and have been awarded Best of Breeds and CCs.

The Russian White and Russian Blacks were recorded on the Experimental Register and shown in Assessment Classes. From 1st June 2011, the Assessment Classes became competitive, the cats being judged and awarded a Merit Certificate if worthy (as previously) and also placed against each other with a Best of Breed awarded (if available). The winner could also be considered for Best of Variety/Best-In-Show. Russian Whites and Russian Blacks are entered in the same class, though it can be split male/female. Four Merits were required to qualify, of which two could be from kitten classes.

Catwo Kira
Catwo Kira

The first cat to achieve four qualifying Merits in the UK was a Russian Black female from the first litter bred by Jennifer Sedgwick, Catwo Kira, and owned by Judith Noble (Larksong Russians).

Her success was shortly followed by a Russian White male, Catwo Dimitri, from the second litter, and now living with Catherine Kaye (Sithee Russians).


Catwo Dimitri
Catwo Dimitri

Catwo Biaty Pantera
Further cats to qualify with four Merits have been Catherine Kaye’s Catwo Biaty Pantera (Best Assessment Russian at the 2009 and 2010 RBBA Shows).

Also Catwo Cairnicatski owned by Wendi Johnson, both litter sisters to Dimitri. That was a very special litter of 8 Russians!


Catwo Cairnicatski
Catwo Cairnicatski

Adniosh Catwo-Crystal

The next cat to qualify was also a Russian White female bred by Bev Pursglove called Adniosh Catwo-Crystal, now living with Stephanie Eborall (Warwick Russians), who had previously bred Russian Blue and Russian White cats in South Africa.

The sixth qualifying cat was a Russian Black female bred by Catherine Kaye and sired by her Dimitri.
Andrea Cherry (Brightlite Russians) quickly gained five Merits with her Sithee Madam Belladonna.

Sithee Madam Belladonna

Elenita Buskin Rascal

A further Russian Black male, Elenita Buskin Rascal, bred and owned by Sandra Hipkin (Elenita Russians) obtained his fourth qualifying Merit in October 2011.

Then in March 2012, another black female, Adelfsh Cosmos, bred and owned by Julia Watling achieved her fourth Merit.

Adelfsh Cosmos

Interestingly, that made 4 Russian Whites and 4 Russian Blacks achieving GCCF qualifying Merits.

However, a Russian White, Cairnicats White Royal, bred in the UK by Wendi Johnson and then owned by Beata Raszka (Colinsgarden Cattery) in the Republic of Ireland, also obtained five GCCFI merits by the end of October 2011. White Royal is now living with Sarah Williams-Ellis (Serennol).

Cairnicats White Royal

Several other Russian White or Russian Black kittens/cats were awarded Merits and these include Serennol Night Star, a beautiful Russian Black female, bred and owned by Sarah Williams-Elliss (Serennol Russians). Night Star, who was sired by Sarah’s UK IGrCh Serennol Dmitri, was Best Assessment Russian at the 2011 RBBA Show.

Further Russian Black merit winners are Elenita Melayzia Gipsyrose owned by Jim & Mary Bowdrey and Tocoya Zinoviy bred and owned by Jill Wakefield (Tocovya Russians). However, Cairnicats Magnus owned by Elaine Littlewood (Milov Russians) is a Russian White male.

At the October 2011 Council Meeting, the RBAC proposal was passed for the Russian White and the Russian Black to progress to Provisional Status and from April 2012 these breeds were able to compete for Intermediate Certificates, Best of Breed and Best of Variety.

The first winner of an Intermediate Certificate was Elenita Buskin Rascal (16a 15) on the 5 May 2012 at Bristol & District CC Show shortly followed by Cairnicats Magnus (16a 14c) on the 20 May 2012 at the Midland Counties Cat Club Show.

This was shortly followed by Catwo Biaty Pantera (16a 14c) winning ICs & BoBs at the Gwynedd and the Chester & North Wales Shows, plus Sithee Madam Belladonna (16a 15) also being awarded ICs & BoBs at the Teesside and Wyvern CC shows. The first Russian White or Black to win the three ICs was in fact Catwo Biaty Pantera who achieved her third IC at the Russian Blue Breeders Association Show on 6 October 2012. She was also Best Intermediate Status.

Catwo Biaty Pantera’s black daughter, Sithee Madam Belladonna, now living with Andrea Cherry (Brightlite), achieved her third IC by 17 October at the Yorkshire Cat Club Show. She then visited Ch Melkelter Gaspar Galena and in February produced 5 kittens, two Blue and three Black. These Brightlite kittens were the first to be allocated CS registration numbers for the now approved new breeds.

Kittens from these breeds can compete for BoBs and BOV, and the first kitten to be nominated for Best of Variety at the Teesside show was Brightlite Inki Black (16a 15) bred and owned by Andrea Cherry.

Brightlite Inki Black, who is a daughter of Sithee Madam Belladonna, had achieved three ICs and BoBs by January 2013. She then went to stud and produced a healthy litter of 6 kittens (four Blue, two Black) in April 2013.

Two further kittens, both bred by Kate Kaye, were shown as kittens, with both achieving 1st & BoBs. Sithee Izzizzbabie is owned by Sue Young (Siykat) who had previously owned Russian Whites, whilst Sithee Sparklingicemaiden lives with Stephanie Eborall (Warwick). In fact Sparklingicemaiden was the first Russian White or Black to achieve a Best of Variety Foreign award, which was at Kentish CC Show in October 2012, courtesy of judge Mrs Pam Wilding.

In January 2013 Sithee Sparklingicemaiden achieved two Intermediate Certificates and two BoBs at the joint Short-Haired Cat Society and RACCS Shows, since when she has been at stud and produced a litter of one Russian Blue and three Russian Whites.

It has been a busy year with litters with Elaine Littlewood (Milov) breeding three litters. Sandra Hipkin (Elenita) had two litters sired by her Catwo Romanov (16a 14c) which included a White girl and a Black boy. And Joanne Gadd (Grayshus) produced a litter of the three colours from her Elenita Cherbeliz (16a 14c) sired by GrCh Kerwil Scryabin Krivak.

Meanwhile, Jill Wakefield (Tocovya) produced another litter of Blue, White and Black from her own-bred Tocovya Nzura Sara sired by Catwo Dimitri. Pauline Nelson also had a similar litter of 4 from her Grayshus Markiza Stepanya (16a 14c).

In the Bristol area, Julia Watling’s own bred Adelfsh Cosmos gave birth to a litter of 5 sired by GrCh Larksong Luvin Lord Sithee. On the other side of the country, Sarah Williams-Ellis produced two litters sired by her UKIGC Serennol Dmitri and two litters sired by Cairnicats White Royal.

Russians were also in prominence at the London Pet Show on 11th and 12th May. The Russian & Abysinnian Cat Club of Scotland took Russian Blues on the Saturday, whilst the Russian Blue Breeders Association took two Blues and a Russian White on the Sunday.

Meanwhile, both the Russian Registration Policy and the Recommended Breeding Policy for Russian Cats have both been approved by Council and are available on the GCCF and RBBA or RACCS websites.

The great news from the GCCF Council Meeting held on the 26 June 2013 was that in future new breeds would work through the Preliminary Section straight to Championship. Any breeds then at Provisional level would not be required to continue attaining the required number of Intermediate Certifiates etc but would progress to Championship, technically from the 26 October 2013.

However, after a good deal of discussion it was pointed out by several Breed Clubs, including the RBBA, that their annual Club Shows were earlier than that date. It was agreed that those Clubs could put on full championship classes for their own breeds. So, at the Russian Blue Breeders Association Show on 5 October 2013, there are champion / premier classes for the Russian White and the Russian Black. In their case, the classes will be jointly for the two breeds, with the Russian Blue in separate open classes.

The first kittens have now been registered with the new full CS registration numbers.

The GCCF Standard for the Russian Black states that it is a Russian Blue in all respects except for colour. The coat colour is a dense glossy black to the skin with black nose leather and paw pads.

The coat of the Russian White masks the genetic colour, which here in the UK is blue or black, and which can be checked by a DNA test. The coat must be pure, sparkling white with no hint of discolouration, although a kitten or young adult may temporarily carry small dark patches of blue/black on the head. Before any progeny may be registered from a Russian White sire or dam, this cat must have a certificate of freedom from deafness.

Melva Eccles