In the early '60s a woman in Riverside, California, by the
name of Ann Baker created the RAGDOLL.
In all the years of the Cat Fancy there has never been a Breed
more shrouded in controversial mystery than the Ragdoll.
For nearly 40 years rumors abounded that the Ragdoll was the product of
the breeding of several already established breeds. However, more recent
Intensive investigations and pedigree examinations have confirmed that the
Ragdolls beginnings were somewhat different. The following is taken from
the book The Definitive Guide To Ragdolls by Lorna Wallace, Robin
Pickering and David Pollard, published by Ragdoll World UK.
At the time Ann had been borrowing one of Josephine's older sons to sire
progeny in her Black Persian breeding program. This son had the appearance
of a Black/Brown Persian and she named him Blackie, and it was one of her
visits to borrow him that she saw Blackie's brother. He appeared most impressive
and in Ann's words had the appearance of a “Sacred Cat of Burma”.
Having already established the owner's trust, she was also permitted to borrow
this cat to mate with her own females. She was most taken with this son of
Josephine and named him Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks. What Ann clearly states
is that Blackie and Daddy Warbucks are both sons of Josephine, but with different
sires who were unknown and undocumented. In the IRCA booklet it would appear
to indicate that Blackie's father was a black cat from the East, that appeared
more Persian than Burmese. During detailed questioning, Ann confirmed that
no-one had ever seen the father of Daddy Warbucks, and he was the only kitten
in that particular litter of Josephine’s. This being so, makes it difficult
to take the origins of the breed further.
The RAGDOLL was first recognized as a pure breed in 1965 by NCFA
(now defunct). Following that achievement Ann did nothing to further the Ragdoll in
Fortunately, a new breeder husband and wife team, Denny and Laura Dayton,
bought a pair from Ann and realized the breed had to be shown and accepted
by the various associations in the Cat Fancy along with other breeders who
had also purchased breeding pairs from Ann. With the Dayton's spearheading
the effort, Ragdolls began a very long and arduous journey into the show
halls of America and would soon there after find their way to Europe where
England was waiting with open arms to welcome this wonderful breed,
RAGDOLLS are accepted today in all associations for registration;
however, some Associations still do not allow Ragdolls in certain patterns
to compete in their shows
In Denny’s words:
November 1969 was our first introduction to the Ragdolls. And from that
time on, we were destined to become breeders of these magnificent felines.
A pair was acquired from Ann Baker and the male was named Buddy (Bud) and
the female was Rosie (Rose). We appropriately penned the Cattery name Blossom-Time,
carrying various names of flowers, herbs or living plants for all subsequent
breeders. It served us well.
The breed has had many “ups and downs” in pursuit of being
accepted in the various associations. The learning curve as novice breeders
seemed almost insurmountable to gain any recognition however, with perseverance
and the growing number of breeders, slowly but surely, attitudes about the
Ragdolls did change. The biggest obstacle was the bias from different associations
regarding some of the claims by Baker, who did not believe in the show circuits.
There were questions to be answered about the origination of the breed, which
was difficult to trace, as Baker kept everything in her head.
The obvious first step was to document whatever was furnished to a genetic
chart. The “hand made” chart we created started to grow and grow
as new breeders surfaced. As it became almost unmanageable, Charlie Meyers
consented to bring it all up to date on the computer. As a result, his authoritative
manual is detailed to the extent that it has the distinction of being able
to trace any legitimate Ragdoll back to the founding stock, which is available
We felt that the Ragdoll owners, however few there were at the time, needed
to band together. As a result of a CFF show in Ohio, 1975, ten pet owners,
Blanche Herman, a breeder and me participated. The final outcome was we were
granted championship status in all patterns, the first active association
to do so. With this great excitement, generated by CFF, we immediately founded
the Ragdoll Club in Ohio in 1975.
The beauty of the Ragdolls started to roll and “snowballed” in
some cases, as there was a high demand for kittens. Even with this success,
there were times of financial stress due to litigation with Baker over the
authenticity of the cats. Much credit goes to Bob Trubey, who was a true “Angel” watching
over the development of the breed, lending support in different times of
Certainly, no one person has been responsible for the popularity of the
breed, but homage must be paid to all that has spent so much time and money,
bonding together to help within the confines of the Ragdoll Club, to be in
a high esteem in the Cat Fancy today.
Laura and I felt that it was time for others to carry on. We hope that
with our limited knowledge of the breed, others will keep breeding to the
high standards of the breed. Consequently, the bulk of our breed stock was
sold in England. Thus, the first Ragdolls were introduced in the United Kingdom.
With humble thanks to the Dayton's and many other breeders who have diligently
perused and continue to strive for acceptance of the Ragdoll. To all who
will continue to preserve excellence, to the new breeders who follow in the
footsteps of those who believed so passionately in the Ragdoll and who paved
the way, we dedicate this web site.
Pictures and text copyright © 2006 RFCI.
May not be reprinted/published without authors express written permission.
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