The problem of completely different registration rules:
Shorthair Somalis appearing as "Abys" on European pedigrees issued by FIFE member and Independent registries

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Once the Somali cat was recognized as a stand-alone breed in CFA (1979) and GCCF (1991) they were no longer allowed to be used in Abyssinian breeding programs in these associations. But, since Abys are allowed to be used in Somali breeding programs due to their restricted gene pool, offspring out of Aby x Somali are always and indefinitely registered as Somalis (breed number in GCCF = 63) at least in these two associations (others will be listed as soon as they are identified) regardless of coat length and in order to keep the Aby gene pool clear of such new mixed breed processes. After all, early Abyssinian breeders have worked hard and for decades to breed unwanted features (including the longhair) out of the breed. Re-introducing them is not something that most breeders of today (and probably even less so those from the past) would appraise.

It has been reported that since recently, CFF (Cat Fanciers Federation) and CCA (Canadian Cat Association) both require 8 generations of disclosure for any Aby coming from another registry because several breeders aired their concerns about Somalis appearing in some of the imports. Some of the pedigrees with Somali backgrounds have been revoked as a consequence.
Matings between Somalis x Abys are always registered as Somalis (either longhair or shorthair depending their phenotype) in CCA (check the CCA show rules at the bottom end).

Unfortunately, not all associations do follow the same registration principles. Fife, the largest umbrella cat registering body in Europe, registers offspring out of these two different breeds simply as Abyssinian (example pedigree, note that the Somali out of two "Abys" actually is out of two 1st/2nd gen SH Somalis of course. Look at another example pedigree 2 ). The same applies to all independent cat associations in Europe including LOOF in France. Most of the experienced breeders in Europe know about that unfortunate practice and have learned to identify such mixed bred lines and stay away from it.

When, after the turn of this century the cat fancy became more international a new problem arose: Some of these Somali/Aby hybrids have started to enter the CFA registration book via the pedigree registration process as Abys instead of Somalis. For practical reasons, the generations to be screened to see if applicant fulfills CFA registration requirements has to be limited and CFA has set that limit right now to 7 generations. So any true Somali in the 8th generation or true longhair carrier in the 7th generation will be missed and hence be able to be registered as Abyssinian instead of Somali.

Most of the people working with Somali/Aby pedigrees are aware of this fact and so they wait just long enough and until the visible Somali falls out of the screening process before they apply for CFA registration. People not working with Somali/Aby pedigrees however still believe that if a cat has a CFA registration number, it won't have any Somali (or other breed) introduced after 1980. This is still currently mostly the case but there may be exemptions to the rules and we see a slight increase in this development due to international trading and many new people entering the cat fancy not knowing the history of the breed. If you want to make an informed decision about your breeding program you may find the following list helpful. This is not a "black list" of any sort, it's only a tool of information and transparency - all of these cats are displayed as SH Somalis in the Aby database already! Important note: Some of these SH Somali pedigrees may contain wellknown and famous cattery names - do NOT automatically assume that their owners did agree with using their cats in such breeding choices! On the other hand, not every cattery having had a Shorthair Somali line introduced has done so knowingly and/or willingly either! If you recognize a name in the following list where you have exported your precious lines to, please do contact the breeder and discuss the facts first, before you choose to blame him! We have had quite a couple of individuals that have decided to take such cats out of their breeding program immediately when they became aware of it!

Any pedigree having a Somali introduced after 1980 however can be a huge asset to a Somali breeding program! So, instead of neutering/spaying your Shorthair Somali you may want to offer it to a serious Somali breeder instead. But, make sure that all offspring will be registered as Somalis;-)

Don't blame CFA, they do pedigree register the imports according to the rules and they need every registration they can get! But, registering CFA via pedigree only registers the cat in question but not any of their ancestors unless they are already CFA registered!! If you have a certified CFA pedigree with some cats not having a CFA registration number, then this is an indication that these may not have been bred according to CFA registration rules. If you plan to import a cat from another registry, the best thing is to encourage the exporter to CFA register every cat not having a CFA registration # yet, as this is the only way to ascertain that all ancestors have been bred according to CFA registration rules. You can find more information about how to register cats via certified pedigrees here. But, one more time, only if EVERY ancestor in a pedigree has been registered via litter registration can you be certain that CFA registration rules have been upheld! Also, always order at least a 5 generation certified CFA pedigree on the parents BEFORE you import a kitten especially if you want to acquire a kitten from either Dakarai or Cedarwood cattery as they continue to use offspring from mix-bred parents and they are not willing to compensate once you have paid for the kitten and find out later! If you see a "0000-/0001-" (not necessarily mixed) or "0358/0359" (definitely mixed) prefix on any registration number in the pedigree, this may be indication of mix-bred background!

While today, a longhair carrying cat could be dedected via DNA testing, most responsible breeders do not want to base their breeding program on testing for single phenotypic features (because they are only a small part of what defines a breed) but on ancestors being used. Breeds are not defined by genes and cannot be distinguished via genetic testing, only coat colors, patterns, lenghts, etc. can! Or, with other words, the gene responsible for the phenotypic blue color for example is the same whether it comes from a Russian Blue, Aby, Maine Coon, Persian or any other breed! And, a black Maine Coon and a black Norvegian Forest Cat or even a black Persian are genetically the same: A solid colored longhair cat! Or, look at the following example and listen carefully to the video here: These two mice look phenotypically completely different yet their genome is absolutely identical! All breeds are genetically cats. Breeds clearly are defined by those having created them and via history, tradition, standard, selection, and ancestral choices and not by their genetic background. A black ticked shorthaired cat of slender type is not a ruddy Abyssinian by the fact that it is a black ticked shorthaired slender cat - it sure takes a little bit more than that! :-)

Fortunately, the Abyssinian cat has remained a popular breed up to now and does not suffer from limited genetic diversity, that is, if the full potential of available breeding cats is being used. Therefore, there is currently no need to hybridize the Abyssinian breed as it was necessary back in the 60s when most Abys have been destroyed in Europe during WW II or a little later again when FeLV almost eradicated the breed again. Most of the cats listed below had their Somali re-introduced in 1999-2000. So, the relevant problem is NOT the generation where the Somali (or any other non-Aby breed) can be found but the point of time when it was introduced - else, we would only honor those that breed forward fast as hell in order to cover up the no no matings!! We should all know that the Abyssinian is a man made breed and hence its creation has been based on other, older breeds as well as non-breeds. But the fact, that early Abyssinians had Siameses, Russian Blues, Burmeses, longhaired cats, house cats, etc. as their foundation doesn't justify the re-introduction of such 40-60 years later again! The gene pool of the Abyssinian breed is currently still large enough to breed only Abyssinians to Abyssinians without having to run into health problems while on the other hand hybrid breeding is not a guarantee for health either.


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