Native Country Somalia Other Names Longhaired Abyssinian, Somali Life Expectancy No Information Available Litter Size No Information Available
Breed Appearance Like its Abyssinian forebear, the Somali has a
ticked coat: each hair on its body has three to 12 bands of color
that produce a vibrant shimmer when the cat is in full coat. The
striking facial markings resemble eyeliner. The Somali is a natural
hunter that thrives on outdoor activities and will only accept
confinement if introduced to it at an early age.
Breed Description Head: Viewed from the front, shaped like
a triangle with rounded contours. Slightly domed forehead. In
profile, the head has a gentle curve. Muzzle neither small nor
pointed. A whisker pinch is a fault. Nose of medium length, without
stop. Firm, well-developed chin. Eyes: Large, almond-shaped, well-spaced, with dark markings
below the eyes. Above each eye is a short vertical marking (remnants
of the tabby "M"). Color: amber, green, gold. Neck: Carried gracefully. Body: Medium in size and length, semi-foreign type, graceful.
Slightly arched back. Powerful muscles. Paw: Long and thin, well-muscled. Compact, oval paws. The
Somali appears to stand on tiptoe. Tail: Long, carried high, and well-furnished like that of a
fox. Coat: Semilong, dense, very fine, and soft hair. Short on the
face, front of the legs, and shoulders; semilong on the back,
flanks, chest, and belly. It is long on the throat (ruff), behind
the thighs (britches), and tail (plume). The undercoat is not long
as in the Persian. Color: Ticked coat, that is, the presence on each
hair of alternating bands of dark and light coloration. At least two
or three bands, up to eight banks. The tip of the hair must have a
dark band. Let us mention several varieties: - ruddy ("usually" in
Great Britain): black bands and apricot bands - blue: slate blue
bands and cream bands - red (or sorrel): chocolate bands and apricot
bands - fawn beige: dark cream bands and dull beige bands - black
silver: black bands and white bands - sorrel silver: chocolate bands
and white bands - blue silver: blue bands and white bands The C.F.A.
accepts the ruddy, red, blue, and fawn. A greater number of colors
is accepted in Europe. Fault: Round, Siamese type head. Pronounced stop. Round eyes
without markings the same color as ticking. Small or pointed ears.
Body too stocky. Short legs and tail. Disqualify: absence of or too
little ticking. Ringed tail and legs. Whip tail. White locket,
markings on the belly, etc.
History For a long time, kittens with semilong, soft
hair appeared in litters of Abyssinians (which were actually of a
much heavier type than today). But breeders were not interested in
them and did not use them in reproduction. The gene responsible for
semilong hair was probably introduced by crossing Abyssinians with
longhaired cats (Persians or Angoras). In Canada, it was not until
the 1960s that breeders Don Richings and Mary Mailing and judge Ken
MacGill became interested in these new cats. In 1967, American
breeder Evelyn Mague managed to pin down the semilonghair gene in
Abyssinians. The new breed was named the Somali, in reference to the
neighboring country of Ethiopia, the supposed birthplace of the
Abyssinian. Mague founded the Lynn Lee Cattery and the first breed
club in the United States. She showed the first Somali in 1972. The
C.F.A. recognized the breed in 1978. Lynn Lee's Picasso and Lynn
Lee's Pearl, two Somalis from Mague's cattery, arrived in France in
1979. The F.I.Fe. approved the breed in 1982. It is highly prized by
more and more people.
Behavior This very lively cat is active but not
exuberant. Hardy, well-balanced, and even-tempered, he is calmer
than the Abyssinian. Somalis have a gentle temperament and are
sociable toward other cats and strangers. Very playful, they get
along well with children. Gentle and very affectionate, they demand
lots of attention but are less possessive than the Abyssinian.
Although a bit sensitive to cold. In terms of grooming, they require
only weekly brushing. During shedding, they should be brushed daily.
Somali kittens are born with nearly bicolor coats: dark on the back
and light on the underparts. Ticking appears very gradually.
Similarly, the length and final appearance of the coat are not
attained until the second year.