Photos from FogForest Cattery and Forest Den Cattery
The Pixie-Bob is a Native breed of the North American domestic cat. Legend suggests its family tree began when European domestic cats arrived in the New World and met their wildcat cousins. Though it emerged through the selection of foundation kittens from distinctive barn cat litters, known as Legend CatsTM, the true origin of the Pixie-Bob as a breed remains unproven. On the other hand, there are those who are unshaken in their belief of the legends which say that an occasional male Bobcat has been enticed to mate rather than eat a barn cat.
A number of ‘native sons’ of North America have recently come to attention within the cat fancy but, despite the fact that they have a similar ending to their name and they both have a naturally bobbed tail, the Pixie-Bob should not be confused with the American Bobtail. The Pixie-Bob is a distinct breed with several unique polygenes and, unlike the American Bob, it is always a Brown Tabby.
Sometimes called a ‘Bobcat look-alike’, despite its wild appearance, the Pixie-Bob is thoroughly domestic in its temperament. In fact, this breed is bred Pixie-Bob to Pixie-Bob and Bobcat hybrids are not allowed in the pedigrees of TICA-registered cats. Genetic testing conducted by TICA’s geneticists has not discovered any ‘wild markers’ and most reputable breeders will only say that it is a domestic cat bred to ‘look’ like the Coastal Red Bobcat. It does have outcrosses to the foundation Pixie-Bobs known as Legend CatsTM which continue to appear in a rare rural litter, but – unlike some modern ‘designer breeds’ – outcrosses to other breeds are not permitted.
Two cat associations currently recognize the Pixie-Bob. In 1995, TICA accepted it as New Breed and Colour (NBC). It obtained Championship status in 1998 and quickly produced several SGC. The breed crossed national borders and was introduced to the cat fancy in Canada in 1998, when CCA accepted the Pixie-Bob as NBC. It is expected that CCA will soon grant the Pixie-Bob Championship, however, CFA is still considering the breed’s application for NBC.
This breed was developed in the Pacific Northwest when Carol Ann Brewer realized her beloved Pixie, born to two Legend CatsTM, continually produced distinctive bob-tail litters with spotted coats. Acknowledged as the breed founder, Brewer has suggested she only recognized what had previously existed in obscurity. She has always worked to accent the Pixie-Bob’s resemblance to one species of Bobcat, the Coastal Red Bobcat, inhabiting the Northwest coastal region. The Coastal Red Bobcat is the smallest in some 23 species of Lynx and the size of a large domestic cat, whereas other species of Lynx can be as large as a big dog. Therefore, size is not a main attribute of the breed among reputable Pixie-Bob breeders, though some males are remarkably large. Instead, even the naturally bobbed tail is considered far less important in the Pixie-Bob standard than the head and its features.
While legend suggests it is hundreds of years in existence, this breed was unrecognized when Brewer began her breeding program. She worked to develop the Pixie-Bob and applied for its recognition by TICA with a small collective of dedicated breeders in her vicinity. Indeed, most Pixie-Bob breeders are still located in the Pacific Northwest, USA. However, with assistance from the FTLOPTM collective and a growing number of breeders across the continent, the Pixie-Bob has crossed both state and national boundaries. Currently, there are breeders in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, Central and Eastern regions of the USA, as well as a handful of breeders working with the breed in Canada and one breeder in France.
This remarkable breed has risen from obscurity to be featured in the January 1999 issue of CatFancy. The TICA magazine has also offered a feature article on the Pixie-Bob and it is even beginning to collect attention from overseas with a feature article due to appear in a Swedish magazine in year 2000. It is also amazing how quickly the Pixie-Bob is capturing the hearts of those who had believed they were not cat lovers.
Many people suggest upon their first meeting with the breed that the Pixie-Bob looks like a small brown Lynx. Indeed, it often has lynx tufting on its ears though this is not a required physical trait. It has a very heavy brow over hooded eyes, a broad muzzle and broad puffy nose leather. The coat of mature cats develops a ‘grizzled’ appearance due to heavy ticking that mutes its coat pattern and all of these features contribute to the Pixie-Bob’s wild look.
The Pixie-Bob is heavily muscled and medium large with thick boning and oversized feet. Even a straightfoot (regular foot) Pixie-Bob has oversized feet, but polydactility is so common that this is the only breed allowed to show in TICA and CCA with extra toes. Their naturally bobbed tail ranges from 2 inches to the hock with the ideal length being about 4 inches or Bobcat length. Males are usually 15-20 pounds with an occasional 25 pound fellow and females are one-third to one-half the size of males, ranging from 7-15 pounds.
This breed has a woolly, double ‘stand out’ coat with loft that is shed seasonally. In fact, the Pixie-Bob is the only domestic breed that shifts colour with the seasons. Wild ticking mutes a random or broken mackeral spotting and they are always Brown Tabby, but the breed ranges in tone from golden or tawny to rufus coloring and light to medium-dark shades of brown. It is because the ticking on the hair shafts is much heavier in the winter that they appear lighter in their colour during the cool months.
This breed’s temperament seems to contradict its appearance. While the Pixie-Bob is not a ‘lap cat’ and will not tolerate being ‘held to the bossom’ very long, it is an affectionate breed and loves to play with, hang out with, or simply drape itself over its companions. Despite having the look of their wild cousins they are people loving and easy to train. In fact, they have become known as ‘the canine of cats’ or ‘a dog in disguise’ because they love to play fetch and will often run to greet company at the door like the family dog. Indeed, they get along well with all members of their family, other species of pets included. They are gentle with children and extremely loyal to their family. While there are individual exceptions, the breed are reknowned for being remarkably quiet, tending to communicate in chirrups.
Some issues of controversy have arisen for the breed surrounding the question of outcrosses and much of it is an unfounded rumor mill about the breed being a compound of other breeds. There are unscrupulous breeders who will try to cash in on the rise in popularity of any ‘new’ breed, but the Legendary origins of the Pixie-Bob have been exploited by those who suggest they have Pixie-Bobs of hybrid Bobcat background. Some people seeking exotic hybrid pets have also misunderstood the Legends. The Pixie-Bob is a domestic cat and hybrids cannot be registered with TICA or CCA. Yet, recently there are issues surrounding the outcrosses used in various breeding programs and this has affected the lines of breeders working with bona fide Pixie-Bobs within the TICA and CCA standards.
As breeders in other regions of the continent adopted the Pixie-Bob, some introduced foundation Legend CatsTM from the Southern and Eastern regions of North America. The result is differences in the appearance of lines from those regions and the original Pacific Northwest lines. To protect the integrity of the breed under its original mission – which was to capture the look of Pixie and the Coastal Red Bobcat – an FTLOP BoardTM formed by a collective of Pixie-Bob breeders was created. This FTLOP Board (translated For The Love Of Pixie) operates independently of any cat association to certify and maintain a Blue ListTM registry of cats. The FTLOP Board also administers an FTLOP BreederTM program.
No one interested in the Pixie-Bob as a breed should forgo visiting the breed founder’s website, which is home of The Official Pixie-Bob Organization and Stone Island Cattery. This is where Carol Ann Brewer provides the story of her beloved Pixie and Pixie’s parents. Brewer also offers a number of cautions to protect the person seeking either a pet or breeder quality Pixie-Bob from those breeders who would cash in on the breed’s sudden popularity. The Pixie-Bob Organization site also offers information about both the Blue ListTM and FTLOPTM Breeder programs and the FTLOP Board that administers those programs. Brewer also offers links to her personal preference list of FTLOP catteries.
At the same time, it should be remembered that there are two additional sources for lists of bona fide Pixie-Bob breeders who are working within the Pixie-Bob standards created in association with the FTLOP Board. They are found on the TICA and CCA websites.
A Few FAQs:
- Bobcat heritage is not proven but Legend CatsTM (fondation Pixie-Bobs) are ‘believed’ to originate from natural crosses between barn cats and Bobcats.
- The tail of the Pixie-Bob is naturally bobbed and the result of a short tail polygene distinct from either the American Bob, Manx or Japanese Bob polygenes for short tails.
- The breed is otherwise hardy but, like wildcats, it has sensitivity to both Rabies and FeLV vaccinations. The FeLV vaccine should not be administered and the Rabies vaccine should be avoided where state and provincial laws permit!
- They may look wild or even disgruntled and aloof but the Pixie-Bob is a friendly, out-going, gentle and intelligent breed. They love to please their owners so they train very easily.
- It is said that Pixie-Bob ownership is addictive. You can never have just one. It is also seems to be contagious. When they meet your cats, your neighbors will want to get their own Pixie-Bob.
For a great deal more information about the Pixibob please read Native Born: The Pixi-Bob by Sharon Berg of FogForest Cattery.
- BREED TYPE: Natural (Native to North America)
- BODY TYPE: Rectangular, heavy boned, long-legged.
- COAT TYPE: Longhair and Shorthair in wooly double-coat.
- SIZE: Medium to large (Male = 15-20/Female = 7-15)
- TEMPERAMENT: Dog-like disposition. Highly intelligent and loyal to all members of the household.
- COLORS: Brown spotted tabby only.
Recommended Web Links
The Canadian Pixie-Bobs Scratching Post, the meeting place for people interested in Canadian Pixie-Bobs