Russian Blue Cat Breed Information
Russian Blue Cat: The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed that may have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk in Russia. They are also sometimes called Archangel Blues. It is believed that sailors took Russian Blues from the Archangel Isles to Great Britain and Northern Europe in the 1860s. The first recorded appearance outside of Russia was in 1875 at The Crystal Palace in England as the Archangel Cat. The Russian Blue competed in a class including all other blue cats until 1912, when it was given its own class. The breed was developed mainly in England and Scandinavia until after World War II.
Right after the war, a lack of numbers of Russian Blues led to cross-breeding with the Siamese. Although Russian Blues were in the United States before the war, it was not until the post-war period that American breeders created the modern Russian Blue that is seen in the United States today. American breeders combined the bloodlines of both the Scandinavian and British Russian Blues. The Siamese traits have now largely been bred out. The short hair and slate-gray/blue color are often seen in mixed-breed cats, which can affect breeders and showers due to mislabeling a cat as a Russian Blue.
Russian Blue Cat Personality
The Russian Blue is a curious and tranquil animal. They are known for their friendliness and intelligence and are somewhat reserved. They have been known to play fetch and open doors, and are sensitive to human emotions. They enjoy playing with a variety of toys and develop loyal bonds to their loved ones and other family pets. They are generally considered to be a quiet breed but there are always exceptions. They are normally reserved around strangers unless they are brought up in an active household. Many Russian Blues have been trained to do tricks. They can also be fierce hunters, often catching rodents, birds, rabbits, small mammals, or reptiles.
Russian Blue kittens are energetic and require adequate playmates or toys as they can become mischievous if bored. They have exceptional athleticism and rival even Abyssinians for their ability to leap and climb. Slow to mature, Russian Blues retain many of their adolescent traits both good and otherwise until they are 3–4 years old and even much older Blues can be easily enticed into play by their owners. Russian Blues are also highly intelligent. They have an excellent memory and will learn the hiding place of favorite toys (e.g., laser pointers) and lead their owners to them when they want a game. They also have a keen ability to remember favorite visitors and will race to greet familiar faces even if quite some time has passed between visits—a radical departure from their normally very reserved behavior around unfamiliar people.
Russian Blue Cat Breeders
With her triangular-shaped head, the Russian blue is a long and slender cat. She is fine-boned with large ears, a broad forehead, and straight nose, making her a very regal animal. Russian blues are known for a natural “smile.” In addition to her luxurious silvery coat, her most distinctive features are her brilliant green eyes.
Despite being slender, the Russian blue is very strong and muscular, although her thick fur often hides her neck and shoulders, giving the impression that her frame is more robust. Her long legs allow her to run at high speeds.
Russian Blue Cat Size
Male: 10-12 pounds
Female: 7-10 pounds
Eyes are yellow with green rims as a kitten and become bright green as an adult.
Longevity Range: 15-20 years
Social/Attention Needs: Low
The tendency to Shed: Low
Characteristics: Straight, double-coat, plush
Colors: Dark gray tipped with silver
Pattern: None. Faint stripes may be present as a kitten but disappear in adulthood.
Less Allergenic: Yes
Overall Grooming Needs: Low
Cat Association Recognition:
CFA, ACFA, FIFe, TICA, WCF
Russian Blue Cat History
Not much is known about this rare breed; however, it is believed that the Russian blue originates from northern Russia, specifically the Archangel Isles. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), cat rumor has it that “the Russian blue breed descended from the cats kept by the Russian Czars. Assuming the Russian blue did migrate from northern Russia, it was likely via ship to England and northern Europe in the mid-1860s.” As early as the sixteenth century, recorded history shows that trade ships passed between this territory and the British Isles, and the Vikings were active in both regions centuries prior, but there is no mention of the Russian blue cat until the nineteenth century.
As the CFA further explains, the Russian blue cat made its first public appearance in 1875 in a very regal way: exhibited at London’s Crystal Palace as the “Archangel Cat.” The Crystal Palace was constructed under the leadership of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, as the location of The Great Exhibition in 1851 and thereafter was used to exhibit items of interest (living and otherwise) to the people of Victorian London, and the attractions held international appeal as well. By the middle of the nineteenth century, “cat shows” had become regular and popular events.
It’s no surprise that such a stately cat has such royal roots, with its sleek, sophisticated demeanor. Although it was exhibited alongside other blue cats, by 1912, the Russian blue was given its own classification, points out Vetstreet, after its introduction to the United States in the early 1900s. However, says the CFA, the breed really took ahold of pet lovers’ hearts after World War II, and it has been gaining popularity steadily since the 1960s.