The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed that may have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia. They are also sometimes called Archangel Blues. It is believed that sailors took Russian Blues from the Archangel Isles to England and Northern Europe in the 1860s. The first recorded appearance outside of Russia was in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in England, as the Archangel Cat. The Russian Blue competed in a class including all other blue cats until 1912, when it was given its own class.
The breed was developed mainly in Russia and Scandinavia until after World War II. Prior to this, a lack of numbers of Russian Blues led to cross breeding with the Siamese. Although Russian Blues were in America before the war, it was not until the post-war period that American breeders created the modern Russian Blue that is seen in the US today. This was done by combining the bloodlines of both the Scandinavian and English Russian Blues. The Siamese traits have now been largely bred out. Unfortunately for breeders and showers, the short hair slate gray/blue color is often seen in mixed-breed cats.
Russian Blues are short-haired, blue-gray cats. They usually have green eyes. They have been used on a limited basis to create other breeds (such as the Havana Brown) or alter existing breeds (such as the Nebelung).
During the early 1970s, a solid white Russian Blue (called the Russian White) was created by Australian breeder Mavis Jones through the crossing of a Russian Blue with a domestic white cat. By the late 1970s, the Russian White and Russian Black colors were accepted by cat fanciers in Australia as well as in South Africa and now also in England as Russian cats (in different classes). However, in North America, the Cat Fanciers Association does not recognize either variation of the Russian Blue.
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