Friday, 12 November 2010

Change of plans!

Although I initially decided not to show Alisa....
I am afraid I have changed my mind!
She is a top quality Siberian, and I feel it's my duty to show her,
in order to promote Siberian breed, as well as educate fellow breeders,
exhibitors and judges on a Traditional type.


  1. So Maria are you saying that only YOU can breed traditional Siberians?? It a very big statement! Susie & I have made a concious desision to breed Sibs with very good type that steam from your lines and others of extreamly good type inc colour points which are traditional and just a differant colour varient. For the breed to progress in the UK we all need to work together. Please do dot tar all fellow breeders with the same brush, when you have no idea what we are trying to work for.

  2. I am afraid everyone has different understanding of "Traditional". I am talking about cats TYPE!
    Alisa is a perfect example of traditional, old fashioned Siberian type, which any Russian person would find appealing. Shame you didn't like her. Just shows that people have different tastes, same applies to Judges.
    There is currently a big unofficial campaign worldwide for "New Type" Sibis,who undoubtedly have fair amount of Persian blood in them, which makes kittens rather puffy, but very salable.
    I can not comment on Colour Points, as I simply have no knowledge in that area, I didn't even know that they are colour variants, I though C.P. is a gene.

  3. We did not say that we did not like your girl? She is actually stunning, similar to our Illyana.Hopfully we are producing kittens of similar type?
    At the moment there seems to be big divide between the "Traditional" (none colour point)and Colour point(Neva) sorry if i misinterperated your idea of "traditional" as type. We agree whole hartedly that "type" is and should be first and formost. But why is there such differances in the types in Sibs? and why such a divide in the colour point gene, when it naturaly acures? its very frustrating! We all need to work together with the Siberian club to promote this fantastic breed.
    Thanks & Take Care

    Mark & Susie

  4. You've defintely made the right decision to show this amazing traditional girl. She's an excellent example of the breed and one most breeders would give their right arm to produce.
    Good luck and I hope Alisa sweeps the board.
    Love her colouring and type.

  5. All siberians regardless of colour should be judged against the relevant breed standard of the club you are showing under.
    'Type' is developed by kennel/catteries in their breed programs...owners can usually identify a cat/dog's cattery/kennel origin from its 'type' ie Musrafy cats are very easily identified!
    Often the dominant showing cattery/kennels establishes the 'type' for that time period, but is a fact of life that things change.
    I think it's fair to say that as we do not gene test to prove ancestry, no one can be sure of their cats true origins? We just have to work with what we have.
    You have a lovely cat, Maria, as always and obviously a good example of the breed with her success recently,.... but educating other breeders/judges?...everyone has freedom of choice....
    Take care X

  6. I can see your point Shirley,
    But it's a shame that Siberians can get away with wide variety of looks.
    Don't think you will see that in well established breeds: there aren't many Siamese with puffy cheeks, or Maine Coons with small ears.
    Hope you'll have a good day at a show today!
    I am surprised that you are showing Traditional Torie/Tabby...I though you were the only breeder in the UK concentrating on Colour Points.

  7. she is a nice girl and good type and certainly had improved alot as she has got older. I think as said before it is down to the breeder what they want to breed colour wise and type will vary between lines. Being a new breed there will always be differing type until the type is fixed. This comes with time and careful selection. There are people doing close inbreeding to fix type quicker at what I believe to be of detriment to their health long term for no other reason than show success. I personally choose to breed cats with a diverse gene pool with only common distant relatives. I am well aware of what good type is and aim to produce good examples of the breed. How very noble of you to feel you are the only person who can educate other breeders on good traditional cats. I guess if I inbred though I could get their quicker but for me it is not ethical. Being a young cattery however with the no inbreeding approach it will take me longer than some other breeders here as health is more important to me than constant show success as it does not equal a good breeder.

  8. Maria - you say you won't see change in type in other established breeds just look at the Persian of yesterday years they had long noses, look at the Siamese of gone by years they had more rounded faces and didn't have dumbo ears then take a look at your other Breed the Birman how many males look like females and how many of the General Birman are small stature through people breeding selective. The Siberian will be no different in time as there is far too much selcetive breeding, and with forums for certain colours and breed lines and unrealistic expectations on the breed excluding colour the breed will continue to move in different circles, until people work together to establish the breed, the GCCF standard of points is the one adopted from the Russian federation, but until Breeders unite and work together the breed will have many different disguises. None of my Siberians have fluffy coats and have good type they are all Colour Point carriers but what the hell the next generation has equally good type and substance and I am pleased with the results.
    Your girl is very nice and she looks to be a good foundation to base your next generation on.


  9. Hi maria
    I am working on my 'points' and in the meantime using my silver, point carriers...yes it is a seperate recessive create my silver 'points'...until then having a bit of fun with my new babiesX

  10. Hi Claire,
    Thanks for your concern regarding my levels of inbreeding.
    Do you think perhaps I am doing the right thing by not selling any kittens for breeding in the UK?
    10-20 years ago there were no more then a dozen of catteries exporting Siberian from Russia. And although now there are hundreds of different names in the pedigrees, if you dig 15-20 generations deeper, you will find same foundation cats.
    I congratulate you on ability to obtain you breeding stock with 0% of inbreeding. Not everyone had that luxury, especially few years back, even your Karlissa's grandmother had 22% inbreeding.
    Thanks for sharing your breeding objectives.
    Not sure that putting kitten through general surgery at 12 weeks is about "health is more important " though. But that's only my opinion.

  11. Cool!
    Would you be doing Smoke and/or Golden Points too?

  12. Hi Maria
    The level of your inbreeding is of no concern to me, I was not referring to just you but others who do this also. I am well aware that there where only a few foundation cats, there are now enough cats to have diverse lines without resorting to mother to son, brother to sister matings. This breed will end up with all the problems other common breeds have eventually if people are not careful. We have to line breed to fix type but at as low a level as possible. Yes all but one of my cats have 0% inbreeding, the one that does not is about 6%. It does not matter what her grandmothers co eff was as she is 0% which is down to careful selection of breeding partners by her breeder.

    As for not selling here well you made that decision based on your own reasoning, it does not matter what others think about that. I think it is a shame you feel you can't trust breeders here but I do think it makes us look bad by implying we can't be trusted to keep to a contract. I think it is a shame people can't work together but to be honest any future cats that come to my cattery will probably be imported so I can keep a diverse gene pool. As I say I don't have a problem with low levels of inbreeding but their is no need in my opinion to heavily inbred.

    Health is important and by close inbreeding people are fixing good genes they want but also bringing together bad genes that may not be apparent at first. Immune systems also work better with the more genetic diversity, if a cat has a weak immune system they don't stand much chance of being healthy. As wayne has said it seems the birmans are suffering with small size and I have heard there are issues with their gene pool which is now very small. Which is probably down to people inbreeding to fix type and colour.

    As for early neutering at 13 weeks I made the decision based on what I felt best for my kittens. I have looked into this very carefully and know exactly what is involved, it may sound extreme but breeders abroad have been doing it along time now with few problems. If it protects even just one of my cats ending up in a kitten farm then it is worth it. Surely a cat being overbred and living in horrendous conditions is not good for health. I will hopefully deter these idiots by early neutering attracting ownly responsible owners.

  13. Yes Maria, smoke points and golden points are hopefully on the cards...some work to go yet though, thanx

    re inbreeding 'discussion'...most new breeds or traits start this way...Arabian horses all came from just seven foundation horses, I think sibbys started with around fifteen good cats at the beginning, my malamute dogs started with only five dogs rescued after a mass cull of dogs when moving stuff with dog sled was replaced by motorised mean!
    With small gene pools its how you handle your stock...if an issue arises, dont repeat the can get problems with complete outcrosses as you dont know what the mix will be! Sometimes it is wiser to use some linebreeding to 'fix' good traits...this is done by breeders who 'know' their lines...sometimes mother nature will throw in a spanner...but we are not gods...just practice controlled creation!!!
    I'm sure people have 'added' other cats along the way in all that should be taken into account if the information is available...its a shame the original cats weren't gene tested at the start..

    Re neutering...Am not an advocate of early neutering, lost a cat through anesthetic problems once and have had a good chat with my vet's practice about it and they have informed me of the significant risks...also lost 200 quid to a breeder who was trying to force me into early neutering the offspring of her cat's progeny so although she pulled out of the agreement, I never saw my money again!Hey ho..

    Isn't is amazing how blogs provoke discussion!!! I'm sure in years to come as each of us increases our knowledge of cats/sibbys we make see things that we are missing now. We should not narrow our paths too soon...learn from others...experience (Clare) is an asset and hindsight a gift...

  14. WOW - I've been offline over the weekend and I'm just trying to catch up. Lots to read and lots to think about!

    What I would say is that I tend to think that a Blog has never been meant to be a 'stomping ground' and I think its unfortunate that it has - to an extent - been used for this.

    The original comment was made - the way I read it was that it meant 'Traditional' in terms of what the 'Traditional' Siberian is in Russia. NOT a PerSib. Clearly Mark and Susie thought it referred to Neva Masquerade - which in many areas is termed as 'non-Traditional'.

    There is issue now with the - what breeders are calling - PerSib. Basically - the Siberian become TOO Persian in type. The Siberian is NOT a Persian - and whether it is Brown Tabby, Golden, or Coloupoint - it should NOT look like a Persian. As an example - if you check the SWS in Scandinavia - the overall winner is a stunning cat (Siberian) who I would take home any day of the week with pleasure - however - he is Persian in his look - and there is NO denying it. That isn't what we - as Siberian breeders - should be aiming for. We should be trying to breed as closely to the Standard as possible, but irrespective of whether our kittens match that Breed Standard or not - our breeding should be primarily for strong, healthy kittens.

  15. In terms of inbreeding - it is not something which I think is ideal, but for many new Breeds - it is a necessity. In terms of the Birman - during the 1980's it was common for inbreeding to take place and for father/daughter matings to happen - fairly regularly. It 'set' type, and it generally produced a good Standard. However, with those plus points - there could also be negatives - and therefore - its something which should - if considered - only be done if you are confident on the lines you have, and have researched to discover whether there have been health issues crop up in the past. Line-breeding - where you can go back into the lines - not overly closely - is a useful tool - and is something which breeders in many varying breeds actually do. I'm not justifying it - merely stating that it can and will - almost certainly - continue to happen.

    Having an inbred cat - you outcross - you negate the inbreeding co-efficient. Only an idiot would take a highly inbred cat and breed it then to something within those lines. Therefore - whilst inbreeding isn't perhaps ideal for many of us - it can have its uses. Its NOT a quick-fix - and you can never be sure of the results - but if there are doubts on the health and stablity of the lines - then you shouldn't be considering doing it in the first place.

  16. In terms of what Wayne said about the Birman. I find it surprising that the Birman has changed SO much in 20 years. The Birman Standard calls for a 'large rangy cat'. What I see - in many, many cases - is a small cat - which is inferior to any of the Birmans I have seen in past years - and this is clearly down to poor selection of breeding cats, and breeders either not working together or just 'playing' at it. Having had the first ever Grand Champion Male Birman in the UK - I can say that Birmans have suffered at the hands of breeders - and its a sad fact. There are still a number of excellent Birmans around - and in fact - one of the best of the 'newer generation' was the late Musrafy Cadir.

    We each - as breeders have a choice, and the ability to make up our own minds. Some will breed both the traditional Tabby and also the Colourpoint. That is an individual choice, and is not one which needs to be forced upon others. I personally don't want to breed Coloupoint - my cats are not carriers. However, I would not discount the use of a Colourpoint carrier - if it were a good example of the Breed. There is no reason that this can't be used in a Breeding Program, however, for me - the offspring of any carrier would have to be DNA swabbed to ascertain its status - and that way - I can then know if I produce a carrier or non-carrier. Its how I am - its what I would do. Its NOT what I expect others to do - as each of us have our own thoughts and there is no right of enforcement. I chose to have a White Siberian - and most people don't like them - thats fine - I don't care - I do - and that is what matters. I wouldn't try and force White Siberians down anyones throat - and likewise - my choosing not to breed Colourpoint is my choice, and my right - and I don't expect that others will try and push their views on me.

    The Siberian Cat Club have not helped the Breed during the years since its foundation - 2002 - and its only with the hard work and head-banging of Wayne that we are now in the process of application for the Intermediate Status within GCCF. Hopefullyl that will be ratified and Siberians will have Intermediate Status in 2011. Championship Status - will be - in my opinion - 12-18 months from then.

    Having initially had alters - I have watched from the sidelines and can see that there are varying 'camps' within the Siberian breeders. There is little in the way of co-operation. I doubt that will change - when there appear to be attitudes whereby breeders think that they know best. We - each and every one of us - have our own thoughts, our own ethics and our own reasons for breeding - but that main reason for breeding should be that we produce the best kittens we can to enhance and progress the Breed - but we MUST ensure that health is the paramount objective. There is little point in a stunning kitten without health.

  17. I think its clear to see that there are differences of opinion - and that is right and good. What I do feel is that bickering is not the way forward - and whilst discussion is good - there seems to be an 'undercurrent' which in my view is not healthy.

    We won't always agree, we may never agree - but the fact is - breeders exhibitors and judges do need to be educated - else how is it that when an exhibitor sees a Colourpoint Siberian they say its a Birman or a Ragdoll. Likewise - judges don't always know - they see Brown Tabby and thats what they expect - it would come out of a forest!

    Lets all try and promote this wonderful breed - the Siberian - and ensure that it is nurtured.

    Personal opinions aside - we have a common goal - to ensure that the Siberian in the UK makes its presence felt - and for the right reasons - and not for the bickering of its breeders!

    Lesley x

  18. Shirley - I've sorry that you had an experience re neutering - likewise so did I. I think if our Vets aren't happy with it - then we must - for sure - take their advice.

    Lesley x

  19. Look who is back...big and scary Auntie Lesley :)

  20. I was having my broomstick serviced!!! LOLOL - Cali and I had a 'Double Grand' time in Yorkshire :0))

  21. wow I think you have taken up most of the blog there Lesley. It is interesting that you say Birmans type is poor at present and sown to people selceting poor cats, would that not have anything to do with all the inbreeding going on at the start to fix type. Inbreeding depression is something that will occur eventually if there is a limited gene pool, producing small, weak, sickly cats. If the gene pool was small to begin with why would people want to go back into the lines and narrow it even more? We go on about type and how well they fit the standard but that is all exterior, beauty and good type does not equal good health and quite often there can be underlying issues hidden that will evetually cause problems. I read something interesting on pawpeds yesterday 'code of silence' maybe you should all read it if you have not already, very interesting and some good points about how show success and external beauty are over shadowed by underlying issues and how breeders keep things hidden for fear of ruining their reputation as a breeder who produces great show cats..I think in part of the text they were likened to the mafia? Anyway the point was that beauty and looks means nothing if the health and testing is not there.

    Also alot of good information on genetics and inbreeding. The people writing this do not advocate harsh inbreeding and not once do they say its ok if you know your lines. No one knows their lines well enough to say that by bringing two closely related cats together will not produce issues. Experience does not give a breeder the ability to see what is hidden. Two related cats may carry lethal recessives which will come together and cause problems. Yes an outcross could introduce a problem but if the gene pool is diverse the chance of another unrelated cat with the same defective gene is slim. Much safer to practice low level line breeding than to inbreed.

    I do sometimes wonder what drives some people and why they do the things they do. You all know my profession and so health and ethics must come first and sometimes the things that go on with pedigrees makes me wonder if I want to be part of it. There was a programme about pedigree dogs on the tv awhile ago exposing breeders and the health issues in certain breeds, I think it is only a matter of time before the spotlight is put onto cats. We all need to be thinking about health and not just fixing type for show success.

    I may be new to breeding but I have been working in the veterinary profession for over 10 yrs. I know about health issues and producing healthy, well balanced kittens, that does not change just because you have a particular breed. We can all learn new things, thats the great thing about breeding and I don't know it all but as far as I am concerned there is no place for heavy inbreeding in any breed.

  22. As for early neutering, there are many who think it is not a great idea and have had issues with neutering in the past. This proceure carries risk at any age but there is no more risk with a 3 month old than a 6 month old if the people carrying out the procedure understand the specific requirements young kittens have and how their body is different to a slightly older kitten. I have advice and specifics from a vet doing early neutering for cp and he has done hundreds of procedures with no problems, thats not to say the risk is not there, any anesthetic has a risk but there are alot of breeders doing it abroad. I have my reasons for doing it just as others dont want to take the risk or have a vet that does not agree to it. Ofcourse if your vet says no then you can't go against that, luckily my colleagues don't have issues with it and are confident that the research I have done covers all the potential issues that could arise. They understand the specific requirements of younger kittens that need to be carried out before surgery and if some vets are not aware of these differences or the safest drugs to use then there are bound to be issues. Ofcourse I am nervous about it but I have complete confidence in the people I work with and the surgeon doing the ops is one of the quickest in the practice and can have a cat spay done in less than 10 minutes.

  23. think it is time to put this to bed? lesley said, the original post was about where the sibby is going in type. I hope my info has been helpful to people...and hope to see as many of you as possible at the FIFe Siberian Special in December?
    Shirley X

  24. As yet I don't qualify as a new breeder but would like to say just one more thing.
    If Maria intended her original remark to educate fellow breeders I'd like to to say a big THANKYOU. The comments from you all have educated me a great deal.
    I have found them thought provoking and interesting.
    I have my own beliefs and opinions which I shall keep to myself at this point as I don't feel it necessary to ram them down more experienced throats.
    We each have our own paths to follow and I should hope we can do so as free spirits allowing others to do likewise.
    If it were not for that we would all be breeding clones. How sad would that be ??
    Well done Maria and thanks to you all.

  25. Final one but something we may all like to consider as Maria has highlighted with her post where she reffered to Traditional Type, and how all our understandings differ, but isn't it great from what ever path we go down with the Siberian or other breeds we have our own thoughts and also experiences and with a topical discussion which is often missing in the Siberian community we have shared a great deal of information, so wouldn't it be nice if a Forum was actually set in motion so we could all discuss things openly and honestly, as we are all showing in different registeries so when will any of us ever be all in the same place. I am well aware of a forum that is very selctive who can join the list due to what line you have and whether it contains CP!!! so a good many of us could not share our ideas so any one game for setting up a Siberian breeders forum to keep us communicating????


  26. Clare - firstly the issue with the Birman - NO - its not down to inbreeding. Its down to greed. Again breeders selling poor breeding stock - and those being bred from. Destroys the type, the look and the health. I understand that there are some health issues in lines. There is also Blood Group Incompatability which seems to affect the Birman more - in my opinion - than it does other Breeds. Therefore - the catteries who were selectively inbreeding, such as Hilken, Belleview, Tamandria etc., used their stock well - produced great cats - and left a fabulous legacy. However, as with all breeding - greed is there for some - and we then see poor cats sold for breeding. Likewise now with the Siberian this is happening regularly.

    As for PawPeds - we are all aware of the good information therein - and I'm sure you'll learn a lot from it. I know that its good reading for sure.

    Early neutering - we all have to agree to disagree - Vet dependent. I'd personally never go against my Vet - certainly not in terms of an operation. For treatment - yes I might - providing I was confident and sure of my information.

    I think its important that we don't 'bash' the inbreeding which has been done - as in early breeding of a Breed - it does have to be done - but with great care. IF there is any issue regarding health - then negate the use of it.

    I certainly don't want to inbreed - but can see use in line-breeding. However, one has to have access to those cats in the lines. Thats something which most of us don't have.

    No-one here is right or wrong - but strong and bitter feelings don't auger well for the progress of the Siberian.

    As Shirley has said - I think we have all put our point across - lets respect each others views - and move on.

  27. Wayne - I think the possibility of a Siberian Breeders Forum would be a really useful thing. I appreciate your comment re the Forum you mention - and in truth - there is not a whole lot of discussion which goes on there.

    I'll have a look at information on setting up - and see how that looks. Then we can perhaps consider doing this.

    If anyone else is interested in a Forum - then contact me privately. I think everyone can probably find my email address. If not - just send it to Transylvania - it'll probably get to me LOLOL!!

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. What a great idea for a forum, the one mentioned are very selective and clearly state no breeders of cp are allowed. It would however have to be a mixed forum as it is not fair to exclude certain colours. As for inbreeding we are never going to agree on it but from a health point of view so many illnesses exist because of inbreeding, its not what im about and never plan on doing it regardless how good the results are. Yes line breeding can be helpful and it depends as you say Leslie if you have access to the lines. I don't mean to bash peoples views and we are all entitled to our opinion wheter we are new or not. Maria has lovely cats there is no disputing that and this girl is very nice, its a shame we can't work together as breeders in Europe do to help improve the breed as a whole. There is alot of closed cattery systems in this country where lines are kept restricted which further narrows the gene pool.

    As for Birmans, I know nothing about them so can't comment on the reasons for poor examples of the breed but inbreeding depression is a problem and is affecting many of the pedigrees with smaller numbers. When a breed is young you can get away with inbreeding without seeing physical problems with health but eventually health will be affected. As I said there is more to a breed than just physical beauty and that does not mean good health. In my opinion inbreeding needs to be taken more seriously so it does not start to cause issues in this breed, but it is no use to the breed as a whole if only a small handful of people pay attention to it. Anyway I won't take up more space on here discussing it, people will do what they like at the end of the day regardless of what others think.

  30. Lesley I wouldn't know what goes on at that forum as I am not allowed to join as my cats can produce those Siberians that are pointed! LOL!!!

    Clare - I think you need to look at the European breeders a bit more carefully as they have influenced the split of colours more than anyone, they were the ones that asked for the FIFE split, and they are also selling kittens with unrealistic agreements of not allowing Siberians who don't carry CP gene to be mated with CP or CP carriers, as they see the colours as taboo. Not all admittedly but a good many hence why we all have different understanding of the term "traditional" how many of you have Mars and Roman in your pedigree's I have they were the more prolific 1st generation males and they were both CP or carriers so how can any Siberian be totally free from the influence of CP!