Oriental Breed Profile
Oriental Breed Standard
OF OSH IN CFA
the summer of 1972, my husband, Peter, and I went to
to look for new Siamese lines to bring back home. During this trip we were
surprised to find the Siamese type we were looking for in the Foreign
Whites, Lavenders, Chestnuts, Spotted Tabbies and Ebonies. We saw these
cats at Mary Dunnill’s Sumfun Cattery and at Angela Sayer’s Solitaire
Cattery. We very much wanted to bring some of these outstanding cats home
with us, but we know that there was no breed to accommodate then in C.F.A.
found ourselves pondering the problem of gaining recognition for these
various colored cats of Siamese type in C.F.A.
registration scheme could not be carried over to C.F.A., because GCCF
color to be a separate breed (GCCF also treats Bristish Shorthair and
Persian in this manner). However, GCCF allows
colors to interbreed and allows kittens of several different breeds (i.e.
colors) to be registered from one litter.
returning home, we carefully followed the progress of many colors of
Orientals in GCCF and the European Cat registry (
). Several articles in Cat World, written by members of
, indicated that cats with Oriental type were being developed: whites,
blues, ebonies, and spotted tabbies, and that they would be grouped into
one breed. We corresponded with as many overseas breeders as we could
track down, and they all, without exception, agreed that these cats should
be one breed, and defined in all possible colors. At the same time, we
kept close contact with C.F.A. Central Office, and we had frequent
discussions about alternate ways to introduce the Orientals in this
country. By the summer of 1973, it was clear that the only possibility
that made sense genetically and that would remain consistent with CFA’s
registration rules was to group all of these cats of foreign type under a
single breed classification.
we knew the direction that was to be taken, two very important questions
were still to be answered: would there be a sufficiently large number of
breeders interested in working with the
breed? Although CFA required ten breeders to pledge their interest, we
felt that twenty would be far better. Without a large number of concurrent
breeding programs working toward a common goal, the development is far too
slow, and breeders tend to become discouraged. It was also of the upmost
importance that the Oriental breeders be able to work harmoniously.
second question, just as crucial as the first, was whether these cats
would have sufficient esthetic appeal to the public, which must eventually
provide good pet homes for the kittens. Without these homes for non-show
specimens, no responsible or compassionate breeder would want to embark on
an ambitious breeding program.
a nutshell, without a substantial number of experiences breeders devoted
to the breeding program, and without interest in the kittens, there was no
October 19, 1973, the first meeting of Oriental Shorthairs International
was held in our home in
. The meeting was fertile in producing what was to become the standard for
, and defined most of the colors. Two weeks later, the breed was names,
and OSA applied for CFA membership.
almost twenty experiences breeders ascertaining their intentions to work
with the Oriental breed, the first question was now answered. These
experienced breeders pledge their time, their hard work, their money,
their outstanding Siamese stock to a strict selective breeding program.
The Charter members of OSI were truly pioneer breeders. And just like all
other pioneer breeders they were wiling to work unselfishly without the
guarantee of registration status or even more remotely the pleasure of
seeing their cats on the show bench. Perhaps the most remarkable fact
about the original OSI members is that not a single one possessed an
Oriental cat and most of them had not even seen one in the flesh. They
pledged their devotion to an abstract concept of beauty.
standard was framed, the lack of Oriental cats among breeders was a
definite advantage. None of the pioneers had any conflict of interest
between defining his ideal and describing his own cats. And now to
introduce the charter members of OSI who laid down the foundation for
Richard and Barbara Levitan
Anthony and Barbara Marescie
Peter and Vicky Markstein
Jeoffry and Gail Miles
Robert and Joan O’Brien
Lou and Lynn Weiss
Donald and Dorothy Wilbur
immediately the OSI Club placed advertisements in Cat World inviting
breeders with similar interests to join forces. The response was far
beyond any expectations. Oriental breeders who were discovered through
these ads provided the majority of cays required to apply for registration
status. The Lavender breeders, interested in promoting their cats in CFA,
reregistered their cats as Lavender Orientals, and joined OSI. By the time
OSI applied for registration status there were over 60 breeders and almost
in February, 1974, the English imports purchased by OSI members arrived:
Solitaire Keleawe, Chestnut female, Harislau Magnolia and Harislau
Myosotis, Spotted Tabby Lavender females, Solitaire Tut, Chestnut Spotted
Tabby male, and Scintilla Tangent, Cream male. Prior to these imports,
Pauline and Sid Thompson had imported two Chestnut females, Solitaire
Tongan Princess and
’s Sakura. Since eight of CFA’s first ten
grand champions have imports in their pedigrees, the overseas breeders
made significant contributions to the USA Oriental development.
after their arrival, the imports were entered in several CFA shows for
exhibition only. After only their first showing at the 1974 Westchester
Cat Club Show, the answer to the second question was unequivocal: the cats
appealed esthetically to judges, breeders, and pet owners alike. The
owners of these first Orientals were getting inquiries on future litters
from breeders who realized that championship status could not be
guaranteed, and from pet owners who were anxious to know when OSHs would
be available to pet homes. Most judges gave lengthy and complimentary
descriptions of the
to the public. They talked at length with
breeders, and their advice indicated interest in seeing the breed het
started on the right foot. At each exhibition of these cats, membership in
OSI increased. We definitely had a breed!
that point on, everything went very smoothly.
Registration status was granted in October 19974, and provisional status
was granted in October 1975, effective May 1, 1976. At that point, OSI
doubled its publicity campaign. At several CFA shows, members of OSI
entered as many as 20
. The breeders realized that only those specimens which would honor the
breed should be exhibited. From the large number of exhibits, the judges
were better able to evaluate the Orientals, and in turn gave us valuable
feedback. The enthusiasm was high and immediate. By October 1976, the
Orientals were advanced to Championship status, in all the proposed
colors, effective May 1, 1977.
of the dedication and unity of the now 80 members of OSI had been
rewarded. The CFA Board, by recognizing all the proposed colors, showed
its appreciation for the possibilities of this hybrid breed. By this one
move, CFA became one of the most advanced registries in its definition of
the Oriental Shorthair.
story of the Oriental Shorthair in CFA is glamorous as the Orientals
advanced to Championship Status in minimum time. I believe this to be the
result of a large number of breeders all working in unison towards the
same goal, the esthetic appeal of the breed, the intelligent breeding
programs, and the foresight of the CFA Board to accept all colors. The
also had very knowledgeable advisors throughout their development years:
Jane Martinke, Dr.
Rosemond Peltz, Muriel Slodden, Pat Turner, Angela Sayer, Jean
Rose, and Richard Gebhardt. It would be impossible to name the dozens of judges who
promoted our breed by their display of enthusiasm, and without whose
assistance, the breed would not have advanced as quickly nor as
successfully. Certainly today, none can deny the appeal of the
breed especially after the splashing results in their first Championship
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