Above: ‘Proud Foot’- Pixie bob cat photo ©copyright Helmi Flick
This cat is meant to look wild1, as wild as possible it seems but it is entirely domestic – there are no wildcat genes. The coat, although a tabby one should look like a wild cat tabby coat and not the refined, enhanced, high contrast version seen on some other purebred cats. The objective is to breed a cat that has the appearance of a the native American bobcat. There was a trend, in the USA, over the past 30 years or so to place domestic cats with a wildcat appearance in households. This cat breed is one example. The best known example is the Bengal cat. But the Bengal is a wildcat hybrid. As the Pixie-bob is pure domestic cat it is not subject to any statutory restrictions as to ownership and shipment.
Please note: I have spelled this cat’s name as two words. I have seen this and it is a keyword (searched for word or phrase). The classic spelling is Pixiebob. It is sometimes hyphenated. I have adopted all three versions.
This is a cat breed that is large (look at Proud Foot’s paws above) but not quite the largest domestic cat breed, intelligent (leash trainable if training starts early), often polydactyl (see Proud Foot again above, he has one extra toe), quiet with a chitter, friendly and above all dog like in character. And I love Proud Foot’s serious and intense face. Males weigh between 14 – 18 pounds and females 10 – 12 pounds1.
The Pixie bob is quiet and affectionate.
|Pixie-Bob pictures copyright Helmi Flick – click on the thumbnails to see some great large format pictures|
Pixie bob – Origin – History
You wouldn’t necessarily have thought that Pixie-Bob is the name of a cat breed. The “Pixie” element originates in the name given to a particular cat by the person who lived with her, namely, Carol Ann Brewer.
I won’t into the whole story but in North America you’ve got the American Bobcat. This wild cat is widely distributed across the continent.
The Bobcat is one of the 4 species of Lynx and is the smallest of the 4. This cat is not threatened with extinction (perhaps because of her adaptability and resilience) but regulated. The Bobcat is hunted but has maintained her population despite this. I cannot see the pleasure humans get in killing fellow creatures. The photograph, courtesy Wikipedia, show you its size and appearance. The link above shows more.
The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica talks of the possibility of wild cats mating with domestic cats to form or modify breeds and of course the Bengal cat is a successful cross between a wild cat and a domestic cat. The Savannah is another but it is a tricky business producing an F1 Savannah.
Being widespread in American it seems possible that the Bobcat could mate with the domestic cat to create the Pixie-Bob (see wildcat hybrids). However, apparently DNA evidence indicates that the breed does not originate from the wild.
So, back to Carol Ann Brewer, who, in the mid 1980s, acquired 2 cats that had the appearance of being a cross between the Bobcat and a domestic cat. Breeding from these cats she produced a female called, “Pixie”, the founding cat of this breed. Pixie, by the way had a long tail and was bred with a Manx (a short tailed cat). The other part of the name (“Bob”) is obvious, being a reference to the bobbed tail, which is usually 2-6 inches long.
The Pixie-Bob is bred to cats of the same breed now and the main registry (TICA) that registers this breed does not permit Bobcat hybrids. The other registry is the CCA (Canadian Cat Registry), which accepted the Pixie-Bob as NBC (New Breed and Color) in 1998. The CFA is yet to recognize this breed (the same as for the Bengal).
The CFA’s stance in relation to this breed (and in relation to the Bengal) is in-line with the type of cat it prefers (it seems) namely brushed, shampooed and highly domesticated which is manifest in its preferences in relation to the appearance of Maine Coon Cats. Unlike the American Bobtail cat, this cat is always a brown tabby – brown spotted tabby for showing (see a comprehensive post on tabby cats).
Above: Pixie bob cat photo ©copyright Helmi Flick
TICA registered this breed as an experimental breed in October 1994. In September 1995 it was accepted into the new breed or color class. In 1998 it was granted championship status by TICA. The breed is today, 2010, competing with established breeds. As I understand it TICA is the only registry who accept the Pixiebob.
The breed was imported to Europe in 2001 by Nathalie Bent in France. In 2004, Gertrud Maye in Great Britain imported a breeding pair. Michael Harper also imported several breeding pairs into the UK. The breed has been imported into Central Europe and Scandinavia. It is relatively rare in Europe, however.
Pixie bob – Characteristics
Carol Ann knows this cat. I have selected some notable characteristics:
- very quiet cat and when he/she speaks it is a chirp or “chitter”
- very intelligent (I am not sure this is true – it is usually the skinny cats that are the intelligent once
for some reason)
- trainable (fetch)
- dog like
- likes traveling in the car
- gets along with other pets
- coat pattern is heavily ticked (a ticked coat is a form of tabby cat coat) high percentage (50%) of polydactyl cats (more than the usual number of toes). The breed standard is the only one that accepts polydactylism1, it is that much part of this breed.
- possibly happiest as the sole cat in a household2.
The Pixie bob is a large cat as mentioned. It is rangy and muscular with a heavy bone structure. It stands higher on the back legs. The feet are large even when not polydactyl.
You can see the classic Pixie-bob worried look in the photograph of Bear above. The ears should be lynx tipped (have ear tufts coming from the top of the ears). The double coat stands away from the body1. The standard allows for longhaired and shorthaired cats. Coat markings are secondary to body conformation2. The tabby pattern can be spots or rosettes (doughnut shaped spots). The head and tail are the most important characteristics3.
The face should have strong markings. Breeders refer to “spectacles” around the eyes (light coloured fur in this case below the eyes – see Bear).
Pixie bob – Docking
The Pixie bob founder Carol Ann Brewer made a nice point on her website about breeding this cat. You get both long tailed and bob tailed cats in a typical litter. The long tailed cats don’t necessarily sell as well as the short tailed. This is to be expected as the classic appearance is a short tail.
In the past she used to dock the tail but now does not. Instead she relies on the other standout feature, the wild looking face and does not price cut for long tailed cats. She also recognizes buyers who she believes will have the tail docked after purchase. In other words she is being careful with who she sells to and is proud to prioritize the interests of the cat and not profit (i.e. the interests of the person).
A similar issue presents itself, for example, in respect of the dwarf cat, as some cats in the litter are not dwarf. This can drive breeders for commercial reasons to breed dwarf with dwarf cat which is dangerous as it can lead to embryos dying in the womb. The same competing interests exist.
Pixie bob – Sources, notes:
- breeders sites