The Snowshoe is as individual as snowflakes, no two are ever identical - the Snowshoe breed is one of the rare cat breeds of the world.
History: The origin of the Snowshoe can be traced back to the early 1960's when Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, Philadelphia USA, found three kittens in a litter of Siamese, each with four white feet. Dorothy liked the unique combination of pointed colours and white feet and began the process to establish a breed. In developing the breed, Dorothy bred the kittens to a domestic (American Shorthair) cat with tuxedo markings and eventually developed the popular white 'V' facial markings. The result of the breeding to a domestic cat produced a cat that is unlike either of the two ancestors but with a combination of the personality of both ancestors.
Physical Traits: The combination of blue eyes, pointed pattern and white trim makes the Snowshoe unique amongst shorthaired cats. The ‘Preferred’ pattern is most striking, but very difficult to achieve. Some American breeders describe Snowshoes as being ‘as different as pebbles on the beach’, each kitten showing its own distinctive pattern, each having its own unique appeal. The coat is a single layer with no evidence of an undercoat and is usually smooth to the touch. Because of the randomness of the white spotting gene that is responsible for the white markings there are a few kittens born that are simply pointed with no white. They are still are Snowshoes that can track their pedigree back several generations. They have the same wonderful temperament.
The Snowshoe is a medium sized cat, combining the heftiness of the shorthair with the length of its oriental ancestors. The cat is well balanced overall, neither too small nor too large. It is firm and muscular, deceptively powerful and agile. A long cat, it has the appearance of a runner rather than a weightlifter. Males generally weigh approx 4.5 - 6 kg & females 3.5 - 5 kg. The Snowshoe is also renowned as a particularly healthy cat with no known heritable defects.
Personality: The Snowshoe personality is as unique as their appearance and is never boring. Generally a 'talker', with a soft, melodic voice - the Snowshoe normally habitats well in a multiple cat family. Almost all are inquisitive and active, offering many hours of delightful entertainment and a cat's lifetime of affectionate companionship.
Most Snowshoes form a primary bond with their chosen person while still maintaining friendship with other people. They know what you are going to do long before you know it. They like to be near you, but unlike a dog, they prefer to lead you rather than to follow you. The resulting personality is unique and being 'owned' by a Snowshoe is something you have to experience to appreciate. Once 'owned', you will probably never want to be without one.
The temperament is described as ‘bombproof’ and indeed little seems to faze them. They are generally great extroverts at shows, revelling in the attention they receive. They love interactive play with their owners. Fishing rod toys are a great favourite, as are climbing frames, especially those that include a tunnel or hammock. They are quick, intelligent and love human company. They also readily accept other breeds of cats, dogs and of course children! The Snowshoe is truly the ideal all-round cat.
The future: The Snowshoe is a very rare breed of cat world wide. It's popularity is increasing particularly through the UK and Europe and once again the number of Snowshoe breeders is increasing. It is imperative that the gene pool of this rare breed be preserved without too much inbreeding and therefore each Breed Society involved with the Snowshoe carefully monitors the breeding programs and enables the expansion of the gene pool by the use of suitable "foundation level" outcross cats. In Australia the CCCA allowable outcrosses are the Thai Siamese or a carefully selected DSH of Thai Siamese type. These foundation cats go through a rigorous selection process (including DNA & Health testing & Physical inspection by a panel of accreditited Judges) before their registration as Foundation Snowshoes. This carefully monitored breeding program should enable the Australian Snowshoe to flourish as a healthy & hardy breed.