The history of the Ragdoll is surrounded in myths. It was developed in the early 60’s by a woman named Ann Baker of Riverside, California. She began with four cats: Josephine, Buckwheat, Daddy Warbucks, and Fugianna. None of these cats were Ragdolls at the time, but they became the foundation cats in creating the Ragdoll breed. Buckwheat and Fugianna were both daughters of Josephine, and all Ragdolls are descended from the matings of Daddy Warbucks to both Buckwheat and Fugianna.
Ann eventually set up her own registry, the IRCA (International Ragdoll Cat Association) and enforced standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell Ragdolls.
Denny and Laura Dayton bought a breeding pair from Ann, with the realization that the breed had to be shown and accepted by the various cat assocations in order to be recognized. It is through the Dayton's efforts that Ragdolls became a legitimate breed in the cat fancy. In 1967, Dayton succeeded and the Ragdoll became recognized in the United States, eventually being welcomed by Europe with open arms.
Traditional Ragdolls (not including the new “mink” type) are born completely white. Their color begins to show within a week or two, but Ragdolls can take up to 2 years, sometimes 3, to fully develop their color. It takes between 7 and 10 days for their eyes to open. Their eyes stay that beautiful blue color for their whole lives! The shade of blue can vary anywhere from a light sky blue to a deep, midnight blue.
Ragdolls can come in seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, or cream. Their patterns include lynx, tortie, torbie, mitted, and bicolor.
Lynx is tabby markings on the face and legs.
Tortie is colorpoint with red or cream patches anywhere on the body.
Torbie is lynx plus tortie.
Mitted is mitts on the front paws, white chin, and socks up to the hocks on the back paws.
Bicolor is an inverted “v” on the face. A bicolor Ragdoll can be broken down into three types: a true bicolor, a high mitted bicolor, and a vans bicolor. To get a further explanation on the different types of bicolors, click here. The explanation of genetics and how these colors/patterns are produced can become quite complicated, even when put in the most simple terms.
Female Ragdolls can weigh anywhere from 8 to 15 pounds, with males ranging from 10 pounds to 20 pounds. Despite their size, they are a gentle, laid back breed.
Their fur is medium length, and is both soft and bunny-like in texture. Quality of food and their environment contributes to how their coat looks and feels. Their coat should not mat, therefore requiring minimal attention. Ragdolls are not hypoallergenic; however, they do shed less than most breeds of cats.
They are not the type of cat that likes solitude. In comparison to any other cat breed, they are closest you will get to a dog. Many of them have “dog-like” personalities, with their wanting of attention and belly rubs, and following you from room to room.
The Ragdoll’s temperament is why so many people are drawn to them. Once you have a Ragdoll, you never want to be without one. Not only are they easy to train, but they are extremely docile, sweet-natured, intelligent, and they just want to be loved. This is what makes them the perfect companion for just about anyone, whether a child wants a new best friend or an elderly person wants a low maintenance, quiet companion.
Ragdolls got their name because of their tendency to go limp when held. From my experience, not all Ragdolls do this. In fact, not all Ragdolls like to be held. It depends on the Ragdoll's individual personality. Some prefer to sit beside you and be petted rather than be restricted in your arms. Some Ragdolls are more independent than others, but no Ragdoll should ever express aggressive behaviour.