CFA Havana Brown
Breed Council Website

History of the Havana Brown

The following written information was taken from the
Breed Article written by Norma Placchi entitled

"The Cat in a Not So Plain Brown Wrapper"

and appearing in the Cat Fanciers' Almanac (May 1991).

...It is well documented that self-brown cats were known and shown in Europe in the 1890’s. One of the recorded names given these brown cats was “Swiss Mountain Cat.” Unfortunately, they disappeared from the organized cat fancy and, as far as records show, from all cat lovers’ lives until the Post World War II period when they resurfaced. One possible reason for their demise was the edict given by the Siamese Cat Club of Britain near the end of 1920 — “The club much regrets it is unable to encourage the breeding of any but blue-eyed Siamese.” Whereupon all solid-brown cats with non-blue eyes were excluded from Siamese classes at shows and that was the end of brown cats as the early breeders knew them. In the early 1950’s, a group of English fanciers who previously had worked independently, began to band together to systematically isolate the genetic design of a self brown cat. The core of this pioneer group consisted of Mrs. Armitage Hargreaves of Laurentide Cattery, Mrs. Munroe-Smith of Elmtower Cattery, the Baroness Von Ullmann of Roofspringer Cattery, Mrs. Elsie Fisher of Praha Cattery, and Mrs. Judd of Crossways Cattery. These dedicated English breeders studied available genetic information and kept detailed records of their experiments. It is believed that the first chestnut brown kitten, a male, Praha Gypka, produced by this group of ladies resulted from mating a black shorthair and a chocolate point Siamese. Other breedings supposedly took place using Russian Blue and Siamese.

However, it should be noted that the year before this designed breeding produced a Havana Brown, one was accidentally bred by Mrs. Munroe-Smith, who mated a black shorthair, Elmtower Susannah, and a seal point Siamese, Elmtower Tombee.

A male self-chocolate was produced — Elmtower Bronze Idol, the first Havana Brown to be registered in England, and the fore-runner of our present day breed. Susannah’s sire was a black domestic named Pickles; her dam was a seal point Siamese, Tsiu Chow. Tombee’s dam was also Tsiu Chow and her sire was Pickles.

When Annette Bittaker and I did our extensive research for the 1982 CFA YEARBOOK article on the Havana Brown, we found that the early developers of the breed used not only Siamese but also a small amount of Russian Blues early on to derive a self-brown cat; but careful study of pedigrees and of the written accounts of the founders’ original work shows that the cats producing the early parentage of the present breed contained almost no Russian Blue and a small amount of chocolate point Siamese. The most successful and most often used combination was that of a black shorthair and a seal point Siamese carrying the chocolate gene.

Our study found that Laurentide Areeto Pearl, a black shorthair female resulting from a breeding between a chocolate point Siamese male, Briary Saccharin, and a black shorthair female, Laurentide Ephone Jet, had a Russian Blue in her background. Apparently, Ephone Jet was the product of a Russian Blue and seal point Siamese cross. Laurentide Areeto Pearl produced Havana Brown cats when bred back to her sire, a chocolate point Siamese. She was also bred to Havana Browns developed by other breeders which did not carry any Russian Blue and these crosses also produced brown kittens.


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