Monday, April 25, 2011

Hybrid Cats: The Arctic Curl

Hybrid cats, sometimes called designer cats, are quickly rising in popularity. One of the most beautiful of the designer cats is the Arctic Curl. This hybrid cat is a unique cross between the Selkirk Rex and the Turkish Angora. In fact, it is very similar to the Turkish Angora in both appearance and personality. It does, however, incorporate much of the Selkirk Rex as well.

The Arctic Curl is a new breed of cat that some breeders are currently attempting to establish. Unlike the American Curl, the ‘curl’ in Arctic Curl does not refer to the ears in any way. Instead, ‘curl’ is used to indicate the state of the coat. The Arctic Curl has curly hair, much like the Selkirk Rex. Often described as a Turkish Angora with slightly rounded eyes and curly fur, the Arctic Curl has hair that is generally the length of the Turkish Angora. However, because this hair is curly, it appears to be shorter, except for the tail plume.

Though these cats come in a variety of colors, the original breeder of the Artic Curl, Penny Odell, is predominately interested in white cats with blue eyes. This is the reason for the addition of the word ‘arctic’ into the name. She is also attempting to control the shape of the ears. As such, she is considering outcrossing to the Balinese in an attempt to achieve the desired look.

The Arctic Curl seems to have incorporated the personality of both the Selkirk Rex and the Turkish Angora. Boasting a budding personality, this hybrid cat can be very playful at times. Other times, they definitely need their own space, often retreating to a dark corner of the house for a few minutes of peace and quiet. This is very much like the Selkirk Rex, so this occasional need for solitude should be respected.

This is a new breed, and so is quite rare. At this time, the Arctic Curl is not recognized by any association as a purebred cat. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It takes time to establish a new breed, time for a consistent standard to be developed. As a hybrid, this breed is not subject to the inbreeding that often occurs with purebred cats. In addition, the Arctic Curl appears to be free of any known genetic defects. However, because the breed is very young, it is impossible to truly evaluate health or lifespan.

Though this breed is in its infancy, it is possible that the Arctic Curl will eventually be a recognized breed. This will mean that a breed standard will have to be introduced. This is no small task, and will require the cooperation of multiple breeders and associations.

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