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Proposed changes to the British Shorthair Registration Policy - from the British Shorthair Group Committee.

 The Breed Advisory Committee has been discussing over the past two years, in consultation with its Constituent Clubs, a variety of concerns about the future of the Breed which are outlined below. The first four of these have been agreed both by the BAC and by the AGMs of the Clubs and these will be put to the GCCF for approval in the near future.

 1. Polycystic Kidney Disease

 Proposal - Cats shall only be registered as British Shorthairs on the Reference Register with a Persian (LH) parent, if evidence is (has been) provided that both parents have been tested clear of Polycystic Kidney Disease.

 Whilst this condition affects more Persian cats than other breeds, because of the historic links between the BSH and the Persian breeds, the BSH is classed by the Feline Advisory Bureau as being at significant risk of having this condition. Unfortunately several cases have already been reported to the BAC and positively affected cats have been found during the early stages of the FAB Screening programme.

 This is a progressive condition leading to kidney disease and premature death of the affected individual. Unfortunately symptoms rarely appear until after that individual has passed on its deadly problem to the kittens it has produced. As a FAB Testing Programme exists which can determine that a cat is free of the condition, we feel it reasonable to require that anyone choosing to us an outcrops mating to a Persian, shall determine that both parties to the mating are free of PKD before doing so.

 Only breeders with serious intent will use this route if they are serious about following a particular breeding programme as the offspring are, in most cases. placed on the Reference Register, requiring three generations of breeding back to British Shorthairs before they can return to the Supplementary Register. This will, however, prevent the accidental introduction by uninformed breeders.

 As the problem is by no means as widespread in BSHs as it is in some parts of the Persian section, there is no intention at this stage of asking for testing of all BSH breeding stock, but the BAC would hope that if any breeder experiences kidney problems in their stock or in offspring that their stock has produced, they should avail themselves of the service of the Feline Advisory Bureau Scheme and ensure that any cats they continue to breed with are clear of this condition. Freedom from the disease can be registered with the GCCF on a cats record by supplying the FAB certificate to the GCCF Office.

 2. Deafness in White Cats.

 Proposal -  British Shorthair offspring may only be registered from any White British Shorthair (14, 14a or 14b) stud if a certificate of hearing has been provided for the stud.

It is clearly accepted that there is no straightforward inheritance pattern for the "deafness" gene in white cats of any breed. However, suggestions from European legislation of the regulation of the breeding of white cats at best or an outright ban at worst makes it important that GCCF be seen to be making some attempt to reduce the possibility of producing cats with a hearing deficiency. Other sections of the Fancy have already tackled this problem.

By requiring testing of studs it is hoped to affect as few breeders as possible with what would appear to the uninitiated to be the maximum effect (as one stud is responsible for far more kittens in its lifetime than one queen). The BAC is well aware that this is not going to eliminate the problem but at least the section will be seen to be doing something to tackle the problem.


3. British Variant and Persian Outcrosses

 Proposal - British Shorthair offspring of any colour of British Variant(s) or Persian (in any allowed colour or pattern), shall be registered on the Reference Register for the normal three generations before proceeding to the Supplementary Register.

(i.e. Cats may only be registered as British Shorthairs on the Supplementary register provided they do not have a British Variant or Persian within three generations)

 British Variants (the semi-longhair coated cats which occur occasionally in BSH to BSH matings) are themselves registered on the Reference Register.  When the Registration Policy was devised in 1992, their use was allowed as a parent for the appropriate colour / pattern, the kittens being allowed to be registered directly on the Supplementary Register. The same allowance was made for the use of Persians in the minority Tabby breeds (Brown, Blue, Chocolate and Lilac), Smokes and Tipped.

 It is considered that this allowance is no longer necessary except where used used by serious breeders for a particular programme and therefore it is proposed that the situation should be tidied up to bring British outcrosses into line with those in other sections. The British Shorthair offspring of British Variants and all Persians of the allowed colours, shall remain on the Reference Register for three subsequent generation of BSH breeding before they return to the Supplementary Register.


4. Self British Shorthairs 

There is a great degree of concern that the allowance in the Registration Policy that Self cats could be registered on the Full Register from any British Shorthair parents has led to a multitude of mixed matings and lead to a serious deterioration in the quality of these Self  breeds for various reasons depending on the other breeds used.

 The following has therefore been approved.

 Red Series Tabby cats

Proposal - Red or Cream British Shorthairs with one or more Tabby parent(s) shall be registered as Tabby until proved otherwise.

 This restriction is already in existence in several other sections. Whilst a requirement was introduced several years ago in the British Section that Red or Cream cats which did not have a tabby parent must be registered as a Self (despite the presence of tabby ghost markings such cats are genetically Selfs), it is still theoretically possible to register a Red or Cream as a Self even though it has one or two tabby parents.

 This can cause serious problems when such cats are incorrectly registered (as Selfs when they are genetically Tabby) and then are used for breeding e.g. when used in a bi-colour mating, cats can be produced that prove that the cat is indeed tabby and the breeder finds that the offspring cannot be recognised as Bi-colour BSH, which are required to be only one self colour and white.

 All the above are the proposals have been agreed and are to be submitted to the GCCF

 The two proposals below are still under discussion.


(a) Self or Tortie Cats with Silver Parents

Any Self-coloured offspring with one or more "Silver" parent(s) shall be registered on the Reference Register.  

 All cats with a history of silver in their pedigrees are overstamped "silver in pedigree" throughout all sections to warn breeders of the possibility that kittens which appear to be solid colours and patterns may well be, in actual fact, "low grade" silvers.  Although the silver (Inhibitor) gene is dominant genetically, its effect is not immediately obvious especially in the young cat when it is diluted by mixed breeding and increases with time so that cats originally registered as non-silver have to be reregistered as silver, often when it is too late and they have already produced other "mixed" offspring.

 Many inexperienced breeders appear not to appreciate the damage that can be caused by indiscriminate crossing of silver and non-silver cats in terms of soundness of coat colour and accuracy of eye colour. When the facts are explained to them they appreciate the inadvisability of doing this in British Shorthairs where the Standard of Points has different requirements for the Silver and Non-Silver breeds and the two are shown in separate classes. 

In some sections the standards are more alike and re-registration of growing cats, even after having achieved Championship Status, is very common. This is not what the BAC wishes to see becoming the norm in the British section.

 This is a particular problem in the Self cats where, without the benefit of a pattern, confusion between a poor silver undercoat and an unsound non-silver coat leads to ongoing registration problems. By putting the Self offspring on the Reference register for three generations, differentiation will be encouraged without totally excluding them from a planned breeding programme.


(b) Any Self or Tortie offspring with a Colourpointed parent shall be registered on the Reference Register 

The use of good quality Self British Shorthairs has been and still can be a desirable tool in the improvement of many Colourpointed cats but the Self (and Tortie) cats produced are a by-product and not the intended product of the mating. Some Selfs, particularly the lilacs and chocolates, would benefit in the long term as a breed in their own right when bred to other self cats and not as a bi-product of colourpointed breeding programmes. "British" Self cats from colourpointed cats can to have poor eye colour and unsound coat colour and are inferior to those bred on the Continent where Self to Self breeding is the norm. Whilst some good Self cats can occur in colourpointed matings but this is more the exception than the rule.

 The carrying of the recessive "Siamese" gene throughout our Self cats will cause long term damage if the practice continues as it has been up till now. It is also detrimental to the breeding of other patterns such as Bi-colours and Tabbies where Selfs are allowed to be used, by mixing the "Siamese" pattern with the White Spotting and Tabby genes, which was specifically excluded by direct mating in the breeding policy by not allowing the use of Colourpointed BSHs in their matings.

Committees of all the Breed Clubs in the section are taking part in the ongoing discussions on the last two items and breeders who have queries or points to raise should do so through the Secretaries or Committee Members of the Clubs of which there are members. It is hoped that the BAC Seminar to held next April will also provide an opportunity for discussion. Full details will be available later.