The Russian Blue is a cat breed that comes in colors varying from a light shimmering silver to a darker, slate grey. They develop close bonds with their owners and are sought out as pets due to their personalities, beauty and coat. It is their short, dense coat which has been the hallmark of the Russian breed for more than a century. The dense coat stands out from the body and one can draw patterns in the coat that will stay until one smoothes them out again. They are also considered to be hypoallergenic.
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 Great Britain 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 England and Scandinavia until after World War II. Right after the war, 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 British Russian Blues. The Siamese traits have now largely been bred out. The short hair and slate-gray/blue color is often seen in mixed-breed cats, which can affect breeders and showers due to mislabeling a cat as a Russian Blue.
Russian Blues are plush short-haired, shimmering pale blue-gray cats with emerald green eyes. Guard hairs are distinctly silver-tipped giving the cat a silvery sheen or lustrous appearance. 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). Currently they are being used in Italy as a way to make Oriental Shorthairs healthier and more robust called RUS4OSH in FIFe.
Russian Whites and Russian Blacks were created from crosses with domestic white cats which were allegedly imported from Russia. The first line was developed by Frances McLeod (Arctic) in the UK during the 1960s and the second line produced by Dick and Mavis Jones (Myemgay) in Australia in the 1970s. 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 the United Kingdom as Russian cats (in different classes). However, the Cat Fanciers' Association and FIFe does not recognize any variation of the Russian Blue.