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The Pixie-Bob is a breed of cat claimed by breed founder Carol Ann Brewers to be a progeny of naturally occurring bobcat hybrids. Later DNAtesting failed to detect Bobcat marker genes and these cats are considered wholly domestic for the purposes of ownership, cat fancyregistration, import and export.
In the spring of 1985, Carol Ann Brewer purchased a polydactyl spotted male kitten from the base of Mount Baker (Washington State - Cascade Range). This male had a short tail like a bobcat. In January 1986, she rescued another male cat. This cat was very large and had a bobcat tail. While this cat was starving, it still weighed 17 pounds, and was so tall it reached up to Brewer’s knees. Shortly after she had acquired this large male, it mated with a wild looking brown spotted female cat next door. In April 1986, a litter was born from this mating. Brewer eventually kept one of the kittens, named "Pixie", and after a year started a breeding program with Pixie as the foundation cat. Over the next couple of years, Brewer introduced into her program 23 cats from around the Cascade Mountains area that were believed to be born from naturally occurring matings between the bobcat and domestic cat. She coined the term "Legend Cat" to refer to such cats, and has since registered a trademark in the U.S. to limit the term to describe permitted outcrosses used in her breeding program. At the same time, other breeders in the U.S. were working with distinctly wild looking barn cats and collaborated with Ms. Brewer to establish a broad genetic base and to develop the foundation of today's Pixie-Bob.
Led by Ms. Brewer, they succeeded in registering their new breed for the first time with The International Cat Association (TICA). The Pixie-bob was accepted into the "Exhibition" category by TICA in 1993, promoted to "New Breed and Color" status in 1996 and eventually gained Championship status in 1998. The Pixie-Bob was classified by TICA initially as a "Native New Breed", defined as "A new breed which has been identified through selection of phenotypically similar individuals from a naturally occurring population indigenous to a particular geographic region." but it is now classified as a "Newer Natural/Regional Breed".
In 2001, Nathalie Bent in France was the first to purchase a breeding pair of Pixie-Bobs. The next unrelated pair was purchased by Gertrud Mayer in early 2004, based in Britain. Shortly after, Donna Cox and another British breeder, Michael Harper introduced several more breeding pairs to the UK. Since 2007 further unrelated lines have been imported into Scandinavia, Central Europe and the British Isles, but the breed remains rare in the region with no more than an estimated 1,000 Pixie Bobs in all of Europe at the end of 2008. Pixie-Bob cats in Europe are registered with TICA or specific registration bodies recognised by TICA in any of the European countries. For example, in France, Pixie-Bob cats will be registered through LOOF.
Pixie-Bobs are a fully domestic breed of cat bred to resemble the North American Bobcat. For a cat to be considered a Certified TICA Pixie-Bob cat, one of their parents must be traced back to StoneIsland Pixie, the original inspiration for the breed.
Pixie-Bobs are a large breed, with males reaching 18 lb or 8 kg and females reaching 14 lb or 6 kg. In comparison, the average domestic cat weighs just under 10 lb or 4.5 kg. Most Pixie-Bobs have black fur and skin on the bottom of their paws, tipped ears, heavy ear hair, black lips, and white fur around the eyes but with black eye skin.
Their chins have white fur, but often have black skin under the white fur. Some of their whiskers change from Black (root - about 25%) to White (to the tip - about 75% of the whisker). Bobcat-like fur pattern, but often have reddish tones mixed in. Stomach is often reddish-gold in color with some ticking (broken stripes). Most are short-haired, but some are long-haired. The brow should be heavy and the eyes should have a triangular shape. Eyes are blue when kittens, then change to green, and finally to gold when several months old (some don't change completely to Gold, but have a Gold with a green tint). Tails can be non-existent (rump only), or 2-4 inches (desired - TICA required), or long tails (Pixie was a long tail). Long tails are docked by some breeders due to the relative popularity of the bobtail look. The head is usually pear-shaped. The head and tail are considered the important characteristics. They grow for 3 years instead of 1 year like most domestic cats.
Pixie-bobs are highly intelligent, social, active (but not hyper-active), bold, and enjoy playing with other animals. In other words, they are dogs in cat suits.
They are also known for their "chirps", chatters, and growls; most don't meow often, and some don't meow at all. Chirping is essentially their "language", and some of their chirping actually sounds like purring.
Some Pixie-Bobs can be highly sociable around both their owners and strangers, while others are shy around strangers. Almost all Pixie-Bobs like to be in the same room as their owners, and will follow their owners around the house. Other personality characteristics include the following:
- Head butting
- Ball fetching and playing
- Leash walking (for the most part)
- Highly intelligent
- Capable of understanding some human words and phrases
As the breed is frequently outcrossed to "legend cats", Pixie-bobs are genetically diverse and are not prone to problems caused by inbreeding. Pixie-bob breeders use a disease database to ensure that health information can be recorded and monitored. Some rare genetic diseases includes the following:
- Cryptorchidism - Only a few cases have been recorded since the conception of this breed (1980's).
- Dystocia and cystic endometrial hyperplasia: - A very small percentage of Pixie-Bobs do suffer from delivery problems. Those who do suffer from these disease are removed from breeding.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) - Since the advent of the Pixie-Bob breed in the 1980s only a few cases have been reported. In each of those cases the Pixie-Bob was cross-bred with other breeds of cats.