Colour: White Spotted
A recent American short-haired breed with white 'snowshoe' feet, created by crossing a Siamese with a bi-coloured American Shorthair.
Domestic Breed. A recent American short-haired breed with white 'snowshoe' feet, created by crossing a Siamese with a bi-coloured American Shorthair.
Appearance: The body of this cat, as might be expected, is halfway between the long, lean and lanky Siamese and the short, stubby, stocky American Shorthair. By combining these contrasting forms, the Snowshoe presents a well-balanced, elegant compromise.
The key to its success, however, lies in the combination of the two contrasting colour patterns - the pointed pattern of the Siamese and the white spotting of the American Shorthair. In a well-marked individual this shows itself as a typical Siamese colouring with dark extremities, but with contrasting white patches on the face and feet. The ideal is for the white patches to lie symmetrically on the otherwise dark points. Breeder Pat Turner sums up the perfect Snowshoe markings as follows: 'The preferred pattern is that with white to the ankles in front, white to the hocks at the back and an inverted V on the face.'
History: As with a number of recent breeds, the Snowshoe began as an 'error'. White spotted individuals would turn up occasionally in Siamese breeding programmes and then be discarded. But in the 1960s an American breeder who specialized in Siamese, Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty of Philadelphia, decided to keep some of these strangely marked individuals and consider them as a new breed.
There was strong opposition to this from the more traditional Siamese breeders, and for a while it looked as though the Snowshoe Cat would prove to be a non-starter. One breeder, Vikki Olander, persisted however and wrote the first breed standard for the Snowshoe.
By 1977 she was almost alone in her support of the new breed and it was on the verge of dying out when she was contacted by another interested party, Jim Hoffman from Ohio. Together they began a serious campaign to support and develop the Snowshoe and by the mid-eighties had succeeded, with championship status attained at last.
The British breeder, Pat Turner, who encountered the Snowshoe when judging at an international cat show in New York in 1986, was later to form a British breed club to promote the breed in Europe. It is still comparatively rare, but its visual beauty and structural elegance will undoubtedly secure its future.
When it first appeared it was rumoured that the Snowshoe was merely a short-haired version of the Birman - the Sacred Cat of Burma - but this is not true. These two white-footed breeds have completely different, separate origins. Despite this, the Snowshoe has sometimes been incorrectly referred to as the 'Short-haired Birman'.
Another name that was given to the breed at one stage of its development was the 'Silver Lace Cat', but it is now universally known as the Snowshoe.
Personality: Terms used to describe this breed include: Gentle, loving, affectionate , docile, inquisitive, adaptable, unflappable and happy-go-lucky. Described by owners as 'bomb-proof'.
Colour forms: The white face and feet can be combined with any of the Siamese point patterns, although some organizations only recognize Seal and White Point and Blue and White Point. Because of the maximum contrast it affords, the Seal and White Point can be considered as the key pattern for combining with the white patches.
1987. Turner, P. Snowshoe. In: Cat World, July 1987, p.17-18.
1991. Swinyard, J.A. Snowshoes -a Rarity in the UK. In: Cat World, December, 1991, p.8.
The Snowshoes Cat Fanciers of America. A CFF affiliated club.
The Snowshoe Breed Club. Address: P.O. BOX 3201, Sidell, LA 70459, USA.
Snowshoes International (SSI). Formed in 1984. Address: 333 Hoyt St., Buffalo, NY 14213, USA. or P.O. BOX 121, Watkins, CO 80137, USA.
Snowshoe UK. Address: Tudor Cottage, 10 Lyncroft Gardens, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, KT17 1UR, England.
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