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An Introduction to the Russian Blue

WHAT IS A RUSSIAN BLUE? The Russian Blue is a short haired cat of foreign type, but it is not as extreme in "type" as the Siamese and other orientals. The body is long and graceful with medium strong bone. Legs are long with small oval paws and the tail is fairly long and tapering. The short, wedge-shaped head is topped by large pointed ears, set vertically to the head. The Russian Blue has prominent whisker pads and vivid green almond shaped eyes. The coat of the Russian Blue is quite different from that of any other breed, being short, thick but fine and standing up soft and silky with a silvery sheen. A good Russian Blue should have an elegant appearance with an aristocratic expression.


WHAT IS ITS HISTORY? The Russian Blue Breeders Association has published an informative and interesting handbook which includes a detailed history of the Russian Blue. It is thought that the cats were first brought to this country by sailors in 1860 from the port of Archangel. They were then known as Archangel cats.


WHAT KIND OF PERSONALITY DOES IT HAVE? Naturally, this will vary from cat to cat, but the Russian Blue is an intelligent cat which is renowned for its gentleness. It will often talk to its owner in a quiet voice, although a queen in season can make as much noise as any other cat. The Russian Blue is affectionate but not demanding. Many love to be picked up and cuddled but some are not so keen. Nevertheless, they are still likely to be loving and devoted companions to their owners. This has made the breed particularly popular with elderly people. However, it is also very good with children and as a general rule will tolerate the clumsy handling of a child. The cat will wriggle, rather than claw, its way out of a tight grip. It is rare for a Russian Blue to bite or scratch.


CAN A RUSSIAN BLUE BE KEPT INDOORS? Although the coat is ideally suited to cold weather, the Russian Blue tends to be a home loving cat and should not suffer from being confined to the house, provided there is ample opportunity for adventure and play with its owner. If the cat would be left alone for much of the day, it would be kinder to get two. If you need to keep your cat indoors do bear in mind that you will need to keep windows screened and that it is difficult to keep a cat in if you have young children or frequent visitors at your door.



GCCF Standard of Points 2014

The Russian is a medium to large cat of elegant foreign type without the exaggerated elongation of
the oriental. Its high set ears, green almond shaped eyes, angled profile and prominent whisker pads
create a distinctive gentle expression which, together with its velvety double coat, gives the breed its
unique charm.

HEAD: The wedge from the tip of the nose to upper edge of the eyes is short. The distance from the
eyes to the ears should be equal to or slightly longer than the wedge. The top of the head should
appear flat between the ears. The muzzle should be broad with prominent whisker pads. There
should be no whisker pinch or break.

In profile the forehead should appear straight to the level of the upper edge of the eye. This creates
the distinctive angle that should be level with the upper edge of the eye. The profile from here to the
tip of the nose has such a shallow concave curve that it appears virtually straight. There must be no
stop, break or nose bump, nor should the nose be completely straight from the point of the angle to
the nose tip. The tip of chin should line up with the tip of the nose on the same vertical plane. The
chin should be strong and deep with a level bite. The back of the head should not fall away.
In kittens the top of the head may appear more rounded and the angle may not be as well developed.

EARS: Large and pointed, wide at the base and set vertically to the head with at least the width of an
ear base between them. The ear placement is such that the outer line of the ears continues the line
of the upper part of the face; although in mature males with jowls this will be less apparent. There
should be little inside hair.

EYES: Vivid green set rather wide apart, almond in shape with a slight upward slant, neither too
large, too full or too small nor excessively deep set. In kittens allowances should be made for
maturing eye colour.

BODY: Medium to large sized but long and graceful in outline and carriage. Medium strong bone,
well muscled. Cobby or heavy build is undesirable. Females may be slightly smaller than the males
but should also be well muscled.

LEGS AND FEET: Long legs. Small oval shaped paws.

TAIL: Moderately long and in proportion to the body. Tapering, neither blunt-ended nor whip.

COAT: It is double coat with a very dense undercoat and stands away from the body; the whole coat
is soft with no harsh feel to it, very different from any other breed and the truest criterion of the
Russian although coat texture may vary according to colour.

CONDITION and TEMPERAMENT: In the Russian the condition and temperament of the cat are
important considerations. We are looking for an even tempered cat and it is hoped that Judges will
distinguish between a balanced but temporarily upset or frightened cat and a cat with an extreme or
aggressive temperament. The latter is most undesirable in the breed and should not be encouraged.

SCALE OF POINTS

Head and ears 25
Eyes 15
Body, legs and tail 20
Coat 30
Colour 10
  100

 

RUSSIAN BLUE (RUSa)

Colour: Clear blue and even throughout with a distinct silvery sheen. In coats showing the correct
silvery sheen there is usually an absence of pigment at the tips of the hair shaft. It is the light passing
through these translucent tips that create the effect of a silvery appearance to the coat. This effect is
often at its most evident in the mask and paws. It can appear similar to tipping on the body and care
should be taken to ascertain whether it really is tipping or not. Medium blue is preferred. The coat
must be blue to the roots, which may be lighter in tone. In maturity the coat should be free from tabby
markings and/or shading, although ghost markings may show in kittens.

Faults: Banding and/or white tipping in adults.

Nose leather and paw pads: Nose leather should be blue. Paw pads should be blue but not
necessarily as deep a blue as the nose leather. Pinkish lavender pads are acceptable.


RUSSIAN BLACK (RUSn)

Colour: Jet black with a high, glossy shine and sound to the roots. The coat must be black to the
roots, which may be lighter in tone. Slight rusty tinge allowable in kittens.
NB: The Russian Black may have a firm, silky textured coat.

Faults: Very pale undercoat in adults.

Nose leather and paws: black.


RUSSIAN WHITE (RUSw 64)

Colour: Pure white with no yellow tinge, in certain lights the coat will appear to “sparkle”. White
kittens often have a coloured cap on the head, this is normal and disappears with the growth of the
first adult coat around 12 months of age and should not be penalised.
NB: The Russian White may have a firm, harsher textured coat.

Faults: Yellow tinge that detracts from whiteness of the coat.

Nose leather and paw pads: Pink



(Note that the GCCF, CFA and TICA standards are slightly different! This refers to the GCCF standard.
The CFA standard can be found at http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/standards/russian.html
while the TICA page is http://tica.org/public/breeds/rb/rb.pdfhttp://tica.org/public/breeds/rb/rb.pdf).


I will be happy to help with any queries by email. You can also email Val Anderson, a member of the committee of the Association, to get a more direct answer. (I forward most queries onto her anyway!)