The Snowshoe was created in North America, as the result of crosses between Siamese, whose legacy is to be seen in the coloration of these cats, and bicoloured American Shorthairs, who have influenced their appearance more significantly. Distinctive white markings on the paws are responsible for their name. Although the first Snowshoes were bred during the 1960s, the breed was slow to gain popularity, and even today these cats are relatively scarce.
Breeders favour Bicolour Snowshoes where the white area extends up between the eyes, creating what is known as a blaze. This is not a feature of the other form of Snowshoe, described as the Mitted. Snowshoe.
- BREED DEVELOPED: 1960s
- COUNTRY: USA
- TYPE: Shorthair
- BODY SHAPE: Strong and square
- WEIGHS UP TO: 5 .5kg/12 pounds
- PLUS POINTS: Affectionate and friendly
- WATCH POINTS: Lively and rather vocal
The Snowshoe exists in all four of the traditional colours associated with the Siamese breed. In the Bicolour, the white patches on the body must not exceed more than two-thirds of the total area. A white blaze, forming an inverted V-shaped area on the muzzle is desirable, contrasting with the vivid blue eyes inherited from the Siamese. There must be very clear delineation between the white and coloured areas of the coat. The paws should be white, as is characteristic of the breed. Snowshoes are larger and heavierthan Siamese, which is a reflection of their American Shorthair ancestry, while their faces are more rounded in shape. Male Snowshoes are usually noticeably bigger than females.
ORIGINS OF THE BREED
The main difficulty in developing this breed was opposition from some Siamese breeders, who were worried about the bloodlines of their cats being harmed by random crosses of this type. The actual origins of the Snowshoe are found in Siamese cats with white areas on their paws, which in the Siamese breed is considered to be a serious flaw. It was thanks to the perseverance of an American breeder called Dorothy Hinds-Daugherty that the Snowshoe survived and ultimately, in the 1980s started to attract a much greater level of support among breeders. The breed has now gained a following in Europe.
- The Snowshoe has very little undercoat, which contributes to its sleek appearance.
- The other recognised colours in this breed are seal, chocolate and lilac forms.
- Snowshoe kittens are born entirely white and develop their distinctive coloration as they grow older.
- Show judges place more emphasis on the type of these cats rather than their markings.