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Description of Abyssinian

The Breed History

As with many cat breeds, the true origins of this ancient breed have been lost. One theory is that it was in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) that these distinctive cats originated. According to one source though, genetic studies have indicated their place of origin was in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean coast instead. The first reported export to Britain was Zula, in 1868. The Abyssinian maintains a distinctive wildcat look, closely resembling cats depicted in the Egyptian tombs. By the late 1800s, the Aby, as they are fondly termed, was well known as a distinct breed. Residual tabby markings are often visible along the topline, over the eyes, and faint broken bars may be visible on neck and legs. Note that the breed standard for this cat varies depending on the registry, with the European type being more extreme in shape, and a wider spectrum of colors accepted there. Foundation stock for the American Abyssinian arrived from Britain in the 1930s. Following WW II, only 12 registered cats remained in England. The CFA does not allow outcrossing.

Physical Characteristics

Weight: 9-12 lb (4-5.5 kg)

Coat: It is thought that the tabby pattern underlying the agouti ticked coat was originally much more prominent and that selective breeding for the ticking and against the tabby resulted in the modern coat. Chin and chest are white. The fine, short, shiny, firm but not harsh hairs have the distinctive agouti pattern. The agouti typically provides two to four color bands over the shaft of the hair, with the ticking color at the terminus of the hair and the base of the hair being the main coat color. Names below that are bolded are accepted in CFA. Others are accepted in European registries. Agouti is a dominant coat factor (A).

Ruddy: The most popular color, the "Usual" Abyssinian coloring is a rich medium honey brown (burnt sienna) ticked with dark brown/ black.

Blue: Is a base coat of pale beige (oatmeal) with ticking of bluish-grey (slate blue).

Sorrel: The so-called red color is popular-it's a rich ginger red (also termed apricot); ticking is a dark rich chocolate brown. This is not a true red (red is a sex-linked recessive).

Fawn: A pale orange (rose beige) base color with warm milk chocolate (cocoa) ticking.

Lilac and silver: Not yet accepted in North America.

Eyes: The large almond eyes are fairly wide set; may be green or gold in the CFA-approved colors. There are dark rims set within a lighter spectacle.

Points of Conformation: The Abby is a lithe, medium-sized cat with slender legs and long arched neck. The wide set moderately sized ears are tipped forward. The face and head has a distinct rounded-wedge shape, without flat planes. The English Abyssinian has a more elongated head when compared with the American cat. There is a slight break of the nose. Feet are small, compact, and oval. Chin hairs are light. Tail terminus is the ticking color and the tail is the same length as the body; fine and tapering from a thick base. Back is slightly arched.

Grooming: Low grooming requirements. A chamois cloth or hand grooming once weekly will usually suffice.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Abyssinian