Breed Registrations in CFA, TICA & GCCF

by Lorraine Shelton
Featherland


Published February 2006

In the article titled, Comparing Cats Registry Numbers in 2005, we looked at total yearly kitten registrations in CFA, TICA and GCCF from 2000-2004.

 

The chart above demonstrate that CFA registrations are continuing to decline, but recently TICA's growth is starting to compensate, stabilizing the total number of US kitten registrations. ACFA registrations account for a small percentage of US kitten registrations. The cat fancy in England, in contrast, appears to be keeping fairly stable in numbers. Within a few years, if current trends continue, CFA will have to relinquish its title of "The World's Largest Registry of Pedigreed Cats" to GCCF.

Could looking into the breed distribution of kitten registration in different cat registries help us identify what is behind these trends?

Which Breeds Dominate?

To get an idea of which breeds dominate in each registry, we will look at the breed breakdown for each to try to determine which breeds contribute most to the size and growth of the registry.

For the purpose of this comparison, Persian+ includes Persians, Himalayans and Exotics. Oriental+ includes Orientals Shorthairs, Siamese, and Colorpoint Shorthairs.

The chart below was constructed by including the top ten breeds in CFA, looking at the statistics for these breeds in the other registries, and then adding a selection of other significant breeds for the other associations.

A Comparison of 2004 Kitten Registrations of Selected Breeds for CFA, TICA & GCCF
Breeds/Registries
CFA
TICA
GCCF
Persian+
21,014
798
4777
Maine Coon
4162
1973
1985
Oriental+
2475
379
5389
Abyssinian
1462
319
362
Ragdolls
981
4234
1635
Birman
945
197
2006
Burmese
667
69
2525
American SH
846
110
 
Tonkinese
717
71
495
Cornish Rex
715
75
185
NFC
592
449
1071
Sphynx
568
882
 
British Shorthair
525
279
6602
Siberian
153
474
101
Bengals
na
4766
2926
Pixiebob
na
401
na
Savannah
na
387
na
Munchkin
na..
362.
na..
na - Breed not recognized by registry

So... does the fact that different breeds dominate in different registries explain the differences in their yearly registrations? Lets look closer at the breakdown of registrations by breed for the year 2004 - the last year for which we have statistics for each registry.

CFA

In CFA, Persians represent 50% of registrations, with the next most popular breed, the Maine Coon, lagging far behind at only 10%.

 


Selected CFA Breeds
Breeds/Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Persian/Exotic 27618 25683 24425 23151 21014
Maine Coon 4599 4485 4604 4385 4162
Siamese 2131 1986 2036 1921 1621
Oriental 1085 988 1016 952 854
Abyssinian 1683 1609 1507 1417 1462
Birman 998 878 954 1057 945
American SH 885 968 874 874 846
Tonkinese 998 878 874 864 717
Burmese 846 933 839 772 667
Ragdoll
-
-
761 765 981
Cornish Rex
-
-
771 726 715
Scottish Fold
-
-
785 723 580
NFC
-
-
656 681 592
Sphynx
-
-
120 430 568
Total of top ten breeds 40843 38408 37129 35393 32288
All Others 8708 8727 9414 9381 9318

CFA's registrations rely heavily on a single breed, the Persian.

The decline in popularity of this breed has had a drastic effect on overall registrations in this association.

Although a single genetic disease prevalent in the breed, polycystic kidney disease, has taken a great deal of the blame, I feel that this attribution is unwarranted, as the precipitous decline pre-dates widespread testing, especially at the level of the casual breeder.

A more probable reason for this decline is that the high maintenance of this breed does not fit in well with the increasingly busy and stressful lifestyle of the 21st century

Although most CFA breeds are experiencing a decline in numbers, the Ragdoll and the Sphynx stand out as breeds that are both significant in number and experiencing a rise in popularity.

The Abyssinian also appears to be potentially recovering from an earlier trend towards declining numbers.

GCCF

In contrast, the diversity of GCCF's registrations leaves their registry in a much stronger position for the future.

 

A decline in popularity of their largest breed (the British Shorthair) would only affect 20% of their registrations, with the next most popular breed, the Oriental/Siamese family at 16%.

Other breeds remain prominent, such as the Persian (14%) and Bengal (9%).

 

Top GCCF Breeds
Breeds/Years
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
British Shorthair 4705 5380 5365 6057 6602
Siamese 3788 3946 3546 3985 4240
Persian 5463 5067 4264 3908 3625
Bengal 1699 1942 2126 2384 2926
Burmese 2737 2655 2624 2591 2525
Birman 2101 2223 1958 2023 2006
Maine Coon 1251 1382 1392 1729 1985
Ragdoll 1462 1398 1608 1376 1635
Exotic 652 793 815 983 1152
Oriental 1223 1310 1241 1300 1149
NFC 257 312 388 938 1071

 

TICA

TICA's level of diversity falls between that of CFA and GCCF, with Bengals representing 26% of their registrations, Ragdolls 23%, then falling off to a position similar to CFA's level of diversity. Diversification of breeds allows a registry to handle unpredictable changes in popularity without significant fluctuations in its income level.

The decline in popularity of the Persian is also reflected in TICA's numbers, but other breeds are experiencing significant levels of growth which compensate for this loss, in particular the Bengal and Ragdoll breeds.

 

 

The popularity of Ragdolls in TICA is most probably due to the fact that they allow all Ragdoll colors to be shown, unlike CFA which limits the colors in which this breed can be shown. Surprisingly, however, CFA's acceptance of all the Tonkinese colors for show purposes has not resulted in an increased popularity of that breed.

 

Selected TICA Breeds
Breed/Year
2001
2002
2003
2004
Bengal 3835 4347 4530 4766
Ragdoll 3223 3571 4044 4234
Maine Coon 1971 1936 2000 1973
Sphynx 669 685 812 882
Persian+ 1043 837 778 798
Oriental+ 415 386 391 423
Siberian 294 352 381 474
NFC 403 470 492 449
Pixie-Bob 395 421 379 401
Munchkin 413 363 307 362
Abyssinian 252 278 275 319

 

 

In Conclusion

In conclusion, CFA's precipitous decline in registrations is due to the overwhelming dominance of a single breed in this registry, one which is declining in popularity. Support of a more diversified array of breeds, such as that seen in GCCF, would better allow an association to weather the waxing and waning of breed popularity with breeders and the public. TICA's acceptance of newer and increasingly popular breeds is contributing to their growth, in contrast to CFA's decline in registrations. GCCF's diversity in breed popularity seems to be contributing to their overall strength and stability.


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