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History of Exotics in Silver and Gold

History of the Exotic Shorthair Feline
GC Jade River's Fire & Light
CFA's First Golden Exotic to Grand in Championship


An in Depth Look at the Color and the Quest for Purrfection
Page Six


CH Escorial E-Cenerentola, Shaded Golden Female Exotic
CH Escorial E-Cenerentola
Shaded Golden Female Exotic
Golden Rules

Radiant, as a jeweler's display, is how Golden Exotics should look. With black lines around their dazzling green saucer eyes. Who does not like to remember their favorite teddy bear that was the object of so many childhood cuddles? It is okay to say yes and treasure the memory, but it cannot compete with a real Golden Exotic that answers back too!

Her colour range is varied and versatile. There is a Shaded version, Chinchilla or Shell Golden, and the Golden Tabby with varying dark fur tips and the same tabby patterns as the Silver Tabbies. But gold is not always gold!

Many years ago, the late Sue Hinkle who had bred Golden Persians for years described the endless colour range in her article "Let's Talk Golden Color":

Jade River Golden Exotic Kittens
Jade River Golden Exotic Kittens

She begins with the lightest of six categories, platinum honey. Ranging from a pale beige to ash blond the overall effect is that of dazzling platinum. Honey gold, pale blond with a hint of yellow, lighter than apricot honey. A mix of strawberry blond with a faint whiff of pink, merging into apricot. "Apricot" seems to be the most common term when describing the Golden. Cream colour under coat covered with an orange tint. She describes the hocks as ranging from apricot to light and even dark chocolate brown and black. The two other colours feature a somewhat darker range from red-gold to brown-gold. It looks like a nut or chestnut brown to a dark but warm, deep brown and cognac. The under coat is always one shade lighter.

Cooper vom Klippeneck, Chinchilla Golden Exotic Kitten
Cooper vom Klippeneck
Chinchilla Golden Exotic Kitten
Where Does This Diversity Come From?

There are many explanations. Let's not forget, the first goldens were regarded as faults and that for quite a while these "bastards" were not used for breeding. In 1925 a Golden queen is first mentioned in the British GCCF studbook... She is referred to as "sable chinchilla". In 1967 the CFA wrote the first standard for the Goldens. They had to fight for their final recognition until 1977. In 1984 FIFe acknowledged them as a color category of their own. We are talking about Persians here, not Exotics!

Escorial E-Angel Step, Shaded Golden Female Exotic
Escorial E-Angel Step
Shaded Golden Female Exotic

Even the Persian breeders still want nothing more than a clear and even warm gold. It is like a blessing when one of these is born. That means there is no large gene pool to fall back on and so there can be no talk of an established morphology. It is no surprise that not only the eye colour was lost when the short hair gene was introduced via other colours, (such as blue or black,) but also some original feral colour traits reared their ugly heads. There are unwanted stripes on the legs, the body or in the face and the colour is not necessarily a warm gold from root to tip. The various colours of the undercoat betray the fact that the Goldens have a more diverse genetic background than their Silver Persian relatives.

The Goldens do not have a dominant inhibitor gene (I), genetically referred to as lower case "i" to denote non-inhibitor as recessive to inhibitor. The agoutis, ultimately responsible for their "yellowish" tint, should not be forgotten. Nature has masterfully created the agouti pattern which serves as camouflage so the animals can visually blend into the background. This impression is created by each individual hair beginning with a bluish root and ending in a black tip, broken by the yellow parts. Years of selective breeding turned that into our wonderful gold. To what extent the undesirable "grey" base comes through or not, as the case may be, is a question of selective breeding.

CH, GP Jade Riverís Summer Rain, Shaded Golden Female Exotic
CH, GP Jade River's Summer Rain
Shaded Golden Female Exotic

There are many theoretical attempts of explaining that, e.g. the Wideband theory. However, this is not the time, nor the place to go into any further detail. It warrants special consideration which it will be given at a later date. But, perhaps it is obvious now, why Golden Exotics are rarely evenly Golden and tend to have more ticking or hold color variations. While there may as yet be no scientific explanations for this phenomenon, ultimately selective breeding is always the key to success.

Despite the immense challenge, a few determined Exotic fanciers are nevertheless pursuing their "golden dreams!" Elise Scafani of Jade River Cattery began her love affair with Goldens in 1997 after seeing a Golden Persian in the Eyewitness Book of Cats. She describes this pivotal moment: "When I saw those blue-green eyes set against a palate of deep apricot...Arrow through the heart, I was done! I considered other colors but the copper eyes just don't do it for me." It wasn't long before the "wash-n-wear" coat of the Exotic had won her over. Although the road to success has been steep and rocky, she has since bred CFA's first two Golden Exotic grands, Ch GP Jade River Summer Rain (at right) and GC Jade River's Fire & Light (above).

Article continues -- Please click on the link Page Seven below.




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