Saturday, 13 February 2010

Are they bobcat hybrids?

Pixie Bobs are a domestic breed of cat bred to resemble the North American bobcat. The breed was started over 20 years ago, from essentially ferral cats who were found in remote forested areas. Anecdotal evidence suggested that these were the offspring from naturally ocurring matings between domestic cats and Bobcats. However, there is no genetic proof and attempts to produce bobcat hybrids in captivity have largely been unsuccessful. It is interesting to note that the genetic markers for wild blood in cats can be detected for up to 3 generations after the initial hybrid mating. But beyond that, you cannot prove or disprove what is in the ancestry.

What remains therefore, are the stories, myths, and the visual similarity, as well as some behavioural traits, that make us often question the pure domestic roots of some of the Pixie Bob lines.  Just listen to the video below of Nala (Ansonroad Nala Wahla), one of my homebread girls, in this video:



Or look at those two faces, bobcat on the left, one of our Pixie Bob kittens (Ansonroad Wilf Wolfbiter) on the right ...

Or behold this cat, called Winterhawk, and said to be a bobcat hybrid - personally, I do not need genetic proof to believe that this is indeed a bobcat hybrid (photo courtesy of Special Agents Pixie Bobs site):

Now look at this collage of our Pixie Bob stud, Toby. All but one of the images is Toby, a Pixie Bob. The image in the bottom left is that of a bobcat:

I have spent a lot of time researching the different lines. I believe that there are not many Pixie Bobs who really do trace back to bobcats. But I strongly believe that some very few, definitely have something very special and wild about them: a high intelligence, a strong resemblance and wild behaviours despite having reliable, domestic temperaments.  I have been working with those lines, and the more I have spent time with them, the more I believe that there is a grain of truth in the anecdotes.

It would be a mixed blessing to own a wild hybrid cat (ie first 3 or 4 generations). Whilst those hybrids may have the look of the wild, they often also have wild and unpredictable temperaments. This is what makes the Pixie Bob such an interesting breed. The potentially wild ancestry is many generations back. Breeders have been working with cats of stable temperaments whilst also working to bring out the wild beauty of the bobcat. The best of both worlds. But even within those rare lines, you have to select carefully to bring out that magic. So that's why Anson Road Pixie Bob have something quite unique about them.

And you don't have to take my word for it. Just browse through the various blogs and see what owners say about their Anson Road Pixie Bob.

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