History of the American Curl



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As with other cat breeds the American Curl also has it's own "history of origin". Where the origination of other breeds often is covered in mystic mist, the origination of the American Curl has been established and  documented. 

In june 1981 a little black straycat with ears curled back wandered into the home of Joe and Grace Ruga in California.  This cat was taken into the family where she earned her own place through her sweet and affectionate character. The Ruga's named this cat Shulamith.

Shulamith is the first American Curl and is known as the  "foundation female". American Curl pedigrees are re-traceable to Shulamith.

Shulamith had her first litter in Decemer 1981 which consisted of four  kittens. Two of the kittens had the same peculiar curled ears as Shulamith. This fenomena is eventually examined by genetic expert biologists among  which Roy Robinson.
In 1989 Robinson wrote (source: "Genetics for catbreeders"): "A feature of the American Curl breed is the remarkable backward curve of the ear pinnae. However, although the ear shape is anomalous in the sense of being a departure from normality, it may be regarded as minor. The condition is due to to a dominant gene Cu and a large number of heterozygotes have been bred which have shown no sign of other anomaly. Only the homozygote CuCu may possibly turn out to posses undesirable defects but, at the time of writing, nothing out of this nature has emerged."

From 1983 onwards Curls are selectively bred and were first showed on catshows. In 1986 the first Curls were registered within the CFA with a prelimenary recognition in 1991 and a final, definitive recognition in the champion class in 1993.
The American Curl is the first breed recognized within the CFA in two coat length varieties. After recognition within the CFA, other cat fancier organizations like TICA and FIFé recognized the American Curl breed. Also independent cat clubs (i.e. not affiliated with CFA, TICA or FIFé) have recognized the American Curl breed.

Shulamith of Curlniques. Photo by Chanan.

Shulamith herself has role modelled the draft of the first breed standard. It has to be said that some "improvements" have been added to the standard. for instance Shulamith had a weak chin (i.e. slanting back) and her ears weren't as beautifully curled as some of her off spring. The earshape of her descendants are the basis of what nowadays is reagrded as the ideal.

Shulamith herself wasn't a big cat. A description of Shulamith phrased: "a long, slender body with medium to light boning". The judges who were presented Shulamith were unanymous in comparing her to Turkish Angora's.

Her head was describes as  "modified wedge", a bit longer than broad with smooth transitions. Her profile was not entirely straight and had a gentle slope. Her coat was semi longhair with only minimal undercoat.

Although Shulamith phenotyped a solid black cat was, she delivered kittens in diffenent coatcolours and coatpatterns when mated to other housecats.  She delivered cholocate, pointed and Burmese colour varieties.