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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.

Standard of Points 2011

and other colour Russian Short Hairs
General Type Standard

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

Head -The wedge from tip of nose to eyes is short. The distance from eyes to ears should be equal to or slightly longer than the wedge The top of the head should appear flat between the ears The whisker pads are prominent giving a broad end to the head.
In profile the forehead should appear straight to the level of 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. This creates a distinctive angle level with the upper edge of the eye. There must be no stop, break or nose bump, nor must there be a straight profile from top of head to nose tip. The tip of the chin should line up with the tip of the nose in 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 profile angle may not be as well developed.

Ears - Large and pointed, wide at the base and set vertically to the head. 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, not small and deep set. In kittens allowance should be made for eye colour.

Body - Long and graceful in outline and carriage. Medium strong bone, well muscled. Cobby or heavy build undesirable. The females may be slightly smaller than the males but should also be well muscled.

Legs and Feet - Long legs. Feet small and oval.

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

Coat - The coat is double with a very dense undercoat and stands away from the body: the whole coat is very fine, short and soft with no harsh feel to it, very different in texture from any other breed and the truest criterion of the Russian.

Condition and Temperament - In the Russian the condition and temperament of the cat are important considerations.

Note: We are looking for an even-tempered cat and its hoped that Judges will distinguish between a balanced but temporarily upset or frightened cat and a cat with extreme or aggressive temperament The latter is most undesirable in the breed and should not he encouraged.

Head and Ears 20
Eyes 15
Body, Legs and Tail 20
Coat 30
Colour 15
Total 100


Withhold all Awards for:

  1. Extreme aggressive temperament

Withhold Certificates or First Prizes in Kitten Open Classes for:

  1. Flat coat
  2. Oriental body, head type or ear set.
  3. Cobby or British type
  4. White anywhere in Blues and Blacks
  5. Any colour other than white anywhere in Whites except on the head of kittens
  6. Incorrect eye colour in adults
  7. Weak chin and/or uneven bite
  8. Any defect as listed in the preface to the GCCF SOP booklet


Colour - Clear blue and even throughout with a distinct silvery sheen. Medium blue is preferred. The coat must be blue to the roots, which may be fractionally lighter in tone, and the hairs must show no banding or silver tipping although there may be absence of pigment at the tip. In maturity the coat should be free from tabby markings or shading, although ghost markings may show in kittens.

Nose Leather and Paw Pads - Nose leather blue. Paw pads blue but not necessarily as blue as nose leather. Pinkish lavender pads acceptable in kittens.

RUSSIAN WHITE (16a14c) (Intermediate from 26.4.12)

Colour - Pure white with no tinge of yellow. Dark mark on head permissible in kittens.
Nose Leather and Paw Pads - Pink.

RUSSIAN BLACK (16a15) (Intermediate from 26.4.12)

Colour - Jet black and sound to the roots. Slight rusty tinge allowed in kittens but not in adults.
Nose Leather and Paw Pads – Black.

(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!)