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German Longhair

German Longhair

Place of origin

Germany

History

In the early twentieth century, longhaired cats in Germany were generically called Angoras and Biblebred for color rather than consistent conformation. Professor Friedrich Schwangart found the German cats to be different from British-bred Persians, so he created a separate German Longhair breed standard in 1929. Breeders of the German Angoras had to decide whether to breed British-type Persians or the more natural-looking, silky-haired German Longhairs. The German Longhair was first exhibited and recognized in Berlin in 1930, and Schwangart continued to champion the breed until the 1950s. The German Longhair continued to be exhibited until the Second World War.

Schwangart believed the cat resembled the European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) in conformation. In his last description of it in 1954, he noted that there was variability in conformation, especially among the different colors. By the 1950s, it was considered to be extinct as breeders concentrated on the Persian. In 1979, some German Longhairs traceable to original bloodlines were located and were used to reestablish the breed. Further foundation cats, matching Schwangart's breed standard, were found among free-ranging farm cats.

The modern German Longhair standard was registered with the World Cat Federation in 2008 and is based on Schwangart's original breed standard. It is considered the longhaired relative of the European Shorthair breed, which it resembles in general conformation.

The related German Angora has been bred since 2000, but is not recognized by any cat association, either nationally or internationally. It was founded by breeders who considered the genuine German Longhair to be extinct. The German Angora is described as a naturally occurring longhair akin to the Siberian and Norwegian Forest Cats. Until 2007, when the German Longhair was recognized, the names German Angora and German Longhair were used interchangeably. Following a dispute over the authenticity of the modern German Longhair, the German Angora became a trademarked breed and can only be bred by the German Angora Cat Club.

Both the German Longhair and the German Angora have been crossed to old-style Persians to improve the conformation and coat and to maintain a healthy gene pool. The longhair gene is found in the gene pool of random-bred cats, and foundation cats of the correct conformation are still used in reestablishing the German Longhair breed.

Physical appearance

The German Longhair is a medium-sized cat with a long, robust body, sturdy short-to-medium length legs, deep chest, and medium-length, tapering bushy tail. The rounded head is longer than it is broad with a sloping nose, strong chin, and medium-sized upright ears. The coat is medium long with distinct ruff and britches, but is not as dense or woolly as the Persian's coat.

Colors and varieties

All colors are accepted in the German Longhair except chocolate, cinnamon, and their dilutes, lilac and fawn (in both solids and in patterned cats). The colors/patterns otherwise include self/solid, bicolor, tortoiseshell, tortie and white, tipped, smokes, silvers, and both mackerel and classic tabbies.

Temperament

The German Longhair is an intelligent and people-oriented cat. Being partly derived from free-ranging farm cats, they may retain a hunting instinct that can manifest in a playful streak.

Special needs

All longhaired cats benefit from being regularly combed to remove dead hairs and prevent matting. The silky coat of the German Longhair is more "wash and wear" than that of the Persian.

Variations

None

From The Cat Bible, Copyright by Sandy Robins, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with I-5 Press

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