Chocolate Smokes & Lilac Smokes in CFA,
The Past, Present & Future...

BY CHASITY RADER McCARTY
Ceylon Cattery

Published April 2011

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Crayola Cats Cocoa Chanel
Chocolate Smoke Persian Female

 

In CFA, in order for any unaccepted color to become part of a breed's standard, it must be voted on and passed by a 60% majority of the members of that breed's Breed Council. It then still has to be voted on and passed by the CFA Board.

In the case of the Persian, which has separate Breed Councils for each color division, the relevant Breed Council must pass and accept each new color that will be shown in its color division.

Despite the advances of the Chocolate/Lilac colors in the other color divisions of the Persian breed in CFA, a debate still continues regarding the acceptance of Chocolate/Lilac Smokes by the Shaded & Smoke Breed Council.

Why do these remarkable colors remain on the back burner of acceptance in the Shaded and Smoke division of Persians, especially when Chocolate/Lilac Smokes with white have already been accepted in the Bicolor division?

Let's consider some historical facts to see how this odd situation has come about...

The Past: Introduction Of The Chocolate/Lilac Gene In CFA Persians

While chocolate-point and lilac-point were two of the original CFA Himalayan colors accepted in 1957, it was not until 1984, when the Himalayan breed was merged with their Persian parent, that the chocolate/lilac gene became part of the Persian gene pool and a whole new array of chocolate/lilac Persian colors became genetic possibilities.

The Solid Division of Persians first accepted Chocolate & Lilac in CFA in 1981. Breeders realized that other colors than solid were now possible. Genetically, we could also have Chocolate and Lilac colors in the Tabby, Bicolor and Shaded/Smoke divisions, if and when those divisions recognized specific colors in Chocolate/Lilac.

The first solid lilac Persian granded 1982, but it was a decade later in 1992 before a chocolate Persian earned a GC title. While the solid chocolate and lilac Persians have made great strides since those early years, other divisions have been slower to accept their colors in Chocolate/Lilac and once accepted, developing the quality of Persians in those minority colors (and as with all minority colors) has always been a challenge.

Chocolate/Lilac In The Tabby Division

The first "chocolate/lilac family" tabby grand didn't occur until 2001, when a chocolate mackerel tabby boy granded named GC Featherland's Weird Science. Then in 2003, the second chocolate tabby grand, GC, RW Gorbe Irani Rocky Road of Jude, accomplished a chocolate/lilac color milestone when he was the first ever chocolate/lilac-factored Persian to be ranked in the top 3 nationally for the Persian breed.

GC Featherland's Weird Science
Chocolate Tabby Persian Male

GC, RW Gorbe Irani Rocky Road of Jude
Chocolate Tabby Male

The Chocolate/Lilac Gene In The Bicolor Division

GC Ceylon's Color Me Crazy
Lilac and White Persian Male

In April 2010, breed color history was made in the Bicolor Division, when the lilac and white male Persian, GC Ceylon's Color Me Crazy, became CFA's first Chocolate/Lilac Bicolor Grand Champion.

 

The Chocolate/Lilac gene debuted in the Bicolor division of Persians in 1995 when Chocolate Bicolor, Lilac Bicolor, Chocolate Calico and Lilac Calico were first accepted.

Calico Smokes, including Chocolate/Lilac Smoke Calicos, were accepted in 1997.

The colors of Chocolate Smoke with White and the Lilac Smoke with White were later accepted by the Bicolor Breed Council in February, 2009 by an overwhelming vote of 32 to 2.

Chocolate/Lilac In The Shaded and Smoke Division

While the Chocolate/Lilac Smoke Bicolors were accepted as colors in Persians by the Bicolor Breed Council in 2009, at the same time the smaller Shaded and Smoke Breed Council rejected the acceptance of the Chocolate Smoke and the Lilac Smoke colors by a slim margin of 5 Yes/6 No. It needed 7 Yes votes to be accepted.

As of 2011, the Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke colors remain in limbo as unaccepted colors to be shown in championship in CFA.

It seems a contradiction that if a cat is a Chocolate Smoke it cannot be shown and earn titles in CFA, but if it is a Chocolate Smoke and White it can. The same illogical situation exists with regard to the Lilac Smoke which cannot compete and earn titles while the Lilac Smoke and White Persian can.

The Smokey Past

To investigate why members of the Shaded and Smoke division of CFA Persians rejected the proposal to accept Chocolate Smokes and Lilac Smokes, it may help to look at the past history of the Smoke Persian in CFA.

It's not quite clear how the Smoke Persian first came about. Many have thought it was the result of a mutated tabby gene derived from the silver tabby. The earliest known Smoke Persians had green eyes dating back to the late 1800's and it was only through dedicated breeding to solid Persians that Smokes were produced with the copper eyes required by the modern Persian breed standard.

Smoke Persians of all colors have always been in a minority. Indeed, the Smoke Persian came close to becoming extinct at the end of the second war. Only through the die-hard dedication of a handful of breeders were the magnificent Smoke colors saved within our beloved breed. By the 1960's, Cameos and Red Smokes were accepted into CFA for championship, paving the way for acceptance of Smoke Tortoiseshells.

Oddly, or perhaps more accurately, illogically, although Black Smoke was one of the earlier recognized Smoke colors, the Blue Smoke was not accepted into championship until after the Red and Cameo Smokes. CFA didn't get to see its first Blue Smoke Grand Champion until 1972 when GC Castilia V.I.C. of Nor-Mont granded. GC Peari's Cordial Cherry then became the first Tortie Smoke Grand in 1978.

GC Castilia V.I.C. of Nor-Mont
CFA's First Blue Smoke Grand Champion (1972)

GC Peari's Cordial Cherry
CFA's First Tortie Smoke Grand Champion (1978)

The Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke may be seen as radical today as a Blue Smoke or a Cameo Smoke would have seemed in the past.

The Traditional "Purist" Smoke Pedigree

Most of the successful breeders in the Smoke division developed their cats from "pure" pedigrees - meaning pedigrees with only smokes or non-white solid colored cats; no Tabbies, Bicolor or Pointed cats were in the pedigree. Most Smoke breeders believed that introducing Bicolor or Brown Tabby into a Smoke program produced barring in the pattern. They didn't want Red Tabbies in the pedigree for fear of introducing tarnishing. You'll likely see little to no Silver Tabby in the pedigrees as well.

As the quality and popularity of the Bicolor Persian began dominating the show ring in more recent years, more breeders of all color divisions began using cats with bicolors in their pedigrees. This resulted in more cats of all colors having pedigrees with Bicolor behind them - and making it more difficult to find cats with "pure" pedigrees preferred by the purist Persian breeder.

Because the spotting gene that produces the white on a Bicolor is a single dominant gene, we know that genetically, if a cat has no white on it, it will not produce Bicolors regardless of how many Bicolored cats it may have in its pedigree.

Some purist Smoke breeders have now accepted wonderful looking solid or smoke Persians into their programs that may not have a "pure" pedigree because it has a Bicolor in its background.

Crayola Cats Chunky Monkey
Chocolate Smoke Persian Male

 

Resistance To The Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke Within The Traditional Smoke Community

Unless one is a Himalayan breeder, most Persian breeders prefer not to have a pointed cat in their pedigrees as it means all offspring become defined (and often stigmatized) as Colorpoint Carriers (CPCs). Of course, this creates a catch-22 with regard to the acceptance of the Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke colors as the Chocolate/Lilac gene originated in the Siamese that were used to produce the first Himalayans. By definition, the Chocolate Smoke or Lilac Smoke MUST have a pointed cat somewhere back in its pedigree, making it a CPC.

The purist Smoke breeders are already struggling to find cats with pure pedigrees that keep within their vision of what's best to have in terms of colors. Accepting the Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke with its CPC pedigree would not benefit the "pure" Smoke gene pool.

In addition to the prejudice against their pedigrees, it is difficult for non-Chocolate/Lilac exhibitors to appreciate the beauty of these colors when they see them so seldom. Because they cannot compete for titles, the Chocolate Smoke and Lilac Smoke Persians haven't been seen often enough in the show halls to prove to the world (and CFA) that enough progress has been made in developing the quality of cats in these colors to include them in the show ring within the Smoke division.

Even the fact that there is a relatively small number of breeders working with Persians in any of the Chocolate/Lilac colors, means few cats of the accepted Chocolate/Lilac colors appear in the show halls and receive titles, a situation that at one time also applied to the Bicolor division. Today, Bicolor is now the most popular division in Persians with more individual breeders and higher numbers competing in the show halls than any other color division including the Smokes. Thus, being a minority color should not be used as an excuse to stifle the expanding genetic possibilities of any color in any division. We need to just look to the example of the Bicolor division to see how being included may mean positive growth in the division.

The Value of Chocolate Smokes & Lilac Smokes

There are distinct advantages to the Persian breed in accepting the colors of Chocolate Smoke and Lilac Smoke.

Acceptance of the Chocolate Smoke & Lilac Smoke for championship will mean there will be more cats that could be entered in the Smoke division in all cat shows. This translates into more grand points available at the divisional level and will lead to more Smokes of all colors granding faster. In addition, more accepted colors means more possible entries and an improved bottom line for CFA show-producing cat clubs.

Those that have studied Smoke pedigrees know one of the finest ways to produce the clearest brown tabby pattern is to breed to a Smoke or Silver Tabby. The same benefit applies to Chocolate Tabbies. Every chocolate tabby breeder wants soundness of color, clarity in pattern with rich depth.

And, of course, the argument must be be made that since the Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke Bicolors are allowed to compete in championship, then logically, the same privilege should apply to the Chocolate Smoke/Lilac Smoke without white. After all, the difference between a Chocolate Smoke bicolor and a Chocolate Smoke is only a single dominant spotting gene. The quality of the Bicolors in Chocolate Smoke and Lilac Smoke are already being proven in the show ring.

Crayola Cat O-R-E-O
Chocolate Smoke and White Persian Male

Crayola Cats Caramello
Chocolate Calico Smoke Female

The Future For Chocolate Smokes & Lilac Smokes

Chocolate/Lilac breeders must work together to breed as a community rather than as individuals. The future of Chocolate/Lilac Smokes will be one for all to enjoy. The acceptance of the Chocolate/Lilac Smoke Bicolor was a positive step in the right direction. Breeders will not stop working toward the acceptance of Chocolate/Lilac Smokes. It's more than simply a genetically proven possibility, it's something positive many feel is missing in the show halls.

Acceptance Of The Chocolate Smoke & Lilac Smoke

Communication, knowledge about breed history, pedigrees and genetics will take the concept of the Chocolate Smoke & Lilac Smoke Persian into the future. To be accepted, these colors must be voted in by members of the Shaded and Smoke Breed Council. New breeders must become members of the Shaded and Smoke Breed Council and vote for the acceptance of Smokes in Chocolate and Lilac. When Chocolate/Lilac smoke breeders qualify for the breed council, it helps to legitimize these colors in the eyes of the Persian community and illustrates the true dedication of the lovers of Chocolate/Lilac Smokes. Open mindedness on part of the current Smoke breeders wouldn't hurt either. There is a future to had with these splendid colors.

How does a breeder qualify to join The Shaded & Smoke Breed Council?
http://www.cfa.org/client/breedcouncils.aspx

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  1. Have a CFA registered cattery name.
  2. Are at least 18 years of age or older.
  3. Have bred and registered with CFA at least three litters of the appropriate breed/division.
  4. A judge or an officer of another cat registering association is not eligible.
    In addition to the above requirements, membership is limited to individuals who have met either of the following qualifications: Bred at least one CFA Grand Champion or Grand Premier of the appropriate breed/division,
    OR
    Registered one litter of the appropriate breed/division within the previous two calendar years and, have exhibited a cat/kitten of the appropriate breed/division at a CFA show within the previous two calendar years.?

Crayola Cats Yoohoo
Chocolate Smoke Male Persian

February, 2009 Chocolate Smoke & Lilac Smoke Color Descriptions
Submitted to the CFA Shaded & Smoke Breed Council

PROPOSED: Add the following four color descriptions to the list of accepted Shaded and Smoke Division Colors and list the four colors under separate breed color class numbers:

CHOCOLATE Smoke: undercoat white, deeply tipped with chocolate. Cat in repose appears chocolate. In motion the white undercoat is clearly apparent. Face, legs and tail, chocolate with narrow bands of white at base of hairs next to the skin which may only be seen when hair is parted. White frill and ear tufts. Nose leather: brown. Paw Pads: cinnamon-pink. Eye color: brilliant copper.

LILAC Smoke: undercoat white, deeply tipped with lilac. Cat in repose appears lilac. In motion the white undercoat is clearly apparent. Face, legs and tail, lilac with narrow bands of white at base of hairs next to the skin which may only be seen when hair is parted. White frill and ear tufts. Nose leather: lavender. Paw Pads: pink. Eye Color: brilliant copper.

CHOCOLATE TORTOISESHELL Smoke: white undercoat, deeply tipped with chocolate, red and shades of red. Cat in repose appears chocolate tortoiseshell. In motion the white undercoat is clearly apparent. Face, legs and tail, chocolate tortoiseshell pattern with narrow band of white at base of hairs next to skin which may only be seen when hair is parted. White frill and ears tufts. Nose leather: brown, brick red and/or pink. Paw Pads: brick red, cinnamon pink and/or pink. Eye color: brilliant copper.

LILAC-CREAM Smoke: white undercoat, deeply tipped with lilac and cream. Cat in repose appears lilac-cream. In motion the white undercoat is clearly apparent. Face, legs and tail, lilac-cream pattern with narrow band of white at base of hairs next to skin which may only be seen when hair is parted. White frill and ear tufts. Nose leather: lavender, lavender pink and/or pink. Paw Pads: lavender pink and/or pink. Eye color: brilliant copper.

RATIONALE: Chocolate, lilac, chocolate tortoiseshell, and lilac-cream Smokes are naturally occurring colors within the breed and worthy of obtaining championship status within CFA. The Shaded and Smoke Division is the only Persian division that doesn't accept chocolate and lilac colors. Lovely examples of these colors are now being produced. Acceptance of these colors for championship status should increase the number of cats competing within the Shaded and Smoke Division. But currently, these colors can only be shown in other cat registries in order to obtain titles.

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Crayola Cats Chunky Monkey
Chocolate Smoke Persian Male
DOB: 6/10/2004
Sire: GC RW Furpleasure's Anikin Skywalker (lilac)
Dam: Ch  Crayola Cats Up In Smoke (black smoke)
Breeder/Owner: Julie Beeman
Photo by St Arnaud

 

 

 
 

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