Snowshoes originated in the United States in the 1960s and are the result of crosses between Siamese cats and bicolor American Shorthairs. This gives them the unique look of dark points with white feet and even a white inverted V on the face, like tuxedo cats.
However, the markings vary quite a lot between cats due to incomplete dominance and different combinations of the genes that produce the white patterns. In addition, the combination of recessive Siamese genes with dominant American Shorthair genes makes maintaining the correct body type and length difficult.
Purebreds Are Rare
As a result, purebred, show quality snowshoes are rare, though pet quality cats and cats from accidental breedings with the “snowshoe look” are fairly common. This breed attained champion status with the American Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1990 and was recognized by The International Cat Association in 1994. However, the Cat Fanciers’ Association does not yet recognize the snowshoe due to a shortage of breeders.
Snowshoes are medium-sized, with longer than average bodies. Their heads can be triangular or round in shape, with medium-large ears and blue eyes. They are always short-haired with solid and white patterns. Like Siamese kittens, snowshoes are born solid white with the points and body fur on their backs darkening with age while the chest remains light. The points can be seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, cinnamon, or fawn. Lynx and tortoiseshell points are also found. White patterns vary, usually falling along the face, chest, stomach, and paws.
Personality-wise, snowshoes are more mellow than Siamese and less vocal. They are sweet-tempered, social, and intelligent, and will fetch toys and sometimes enjoy water! As with Siamese, they do not like to be left alone; thus they make wonderful interactive family pets.
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