History of the Ragdoll Breed
The origins and development of the Ragdoll Breed is shrouded in legend and myth. But, there are certain facts we do know for sure.
In the early 1960′s in Riverside, California, Ann Baker (right) created the Ragdoll Breed by breeding her white Persian-Angora type cat named Josephine (left) with outcrossings to Birman-type and Burmese-type cats and that was the beginning.
Ms. Baker, a marketing genius, promoted her new breed to cat lovers nation wide. In those days that meant using a type-writter, a Polaroid camera and hand mailing. Early publicity spread like wild fire and the breed quickly became an object of controversy in the rather snooty world of cat breeding and showing.
Baker’s breeding program consisted of a handful of breeders she contracted to breed for her. She was paid a royalty fee for every kitten sold.
As time went on, Ms. Baker’s representations about the breed became unusual and unbelievable. She published information in great detail stating Ragdoll cats have human genes, are immune to pain and they represent a link between humans and space aliens. Well, it was the 60′s
The breeders once loyal to Baker were now concerned about maintaining the integrity of the wonderful Ragdoll Cats they so definitely deserved. Several of Bakers’ contracted breeders cried “Mutiny”, jumped from Bakers’ spaceship and continued on breeding the Ragdolls for what they are – big, gentle and lover of human affection. And, the tendency to go limp like a Ragdoll when picked up.
Denny Dayton (right) was an instrumental figure in the acceptance and legitimacy of the Ragdoll breed. After leaving the Barker consortium, Dayton worked tirelessly to establish a breed standard and have the Ragdoll breed accepted for registration. Dayton succeeded and in 1967, the Ragdoll breed was first recognized in the United States.
Dayton is the founder of Ragdoll Fanciers Club International. Additionally, Dayton was instrumental in the acceptance of the Ragdoll Breed by The International Cat Association, which is the largest and most respected all breed cat registry.
In 1971, Ann Baker created her own cat registry and association known as the International Ragdoll Cat Association. Baker continued her breeding program holding steadfast to her belief that her cats were the only true Ragdolls. Ann Baker has passed away. She will be remembered for her dedication and passion. And, for the remarkable achievement in giving us our beloved Ragdolls.
Today there are over 500 Ragdoll breeders world wide and the Ragdoll breed is highly regarded, despite it’s controversial beginning.