We have recently started to test all our breeding cats for the gene responsible for the Chocolate and Lilac colouration in the Ragdoll breed.
Up until now, it has been believed that this gene has been 'lost' within the Ragdoll gene pool in the UK. In 2002, a breeding program was initiated to allow breeders to reintroduce the gene by outcrossing to Persians and Siamese. A few years ago, some breeders in the UK started to import Ragdolls into the UK which showed an outcross to the Balinese within their pedigrees. The Balinese outcrosses are highly controversial at the moment within the UK, with many breeders believing these cats should not have been registered as Ragdolls with the Governing Council for the Cat Fancy (GCCF), as the outcross was never allowable under the GCCF Ragdoll Registration Policy.
Here at Eiserblew Ragdolls we have a strict no outcrossing policy, so have never taken part in any outcrossing programs, nor have we used cats in our breeding which show any outcrosses in their pedigrees. Because the gene responsible for Chocolate and Lilac colouring was believed to be lost in the UK gene pool, we didn't expect to find any carriers. On the 16th April, much to our surprise, the DNA test we sent to Australia for one of our 100% Old English (Descended entirely from the first 12 Ragdolls imported into the UK) stud boys confirmed that he was in fact a carrier of the Chocolate gene. One of his daughters has also inherited this gene from him.
We are currently screening all our Ragdolls to find out if we have any other carriers within our home, so we can work towards moving our lines forward in these two rare colours.
Since we found our first carriers, many other breeders have come forward with proof that their Ragdolls also carry the Chocolate gene. We have found Ragdolls in the UK from many different lines who carry Chocolate. The same overseas. We are also aware of a 100% Old English Ragdoll outside of the UK who also carries Chocolate. For all these years, UK breeders have been denying the existance of the Chocolate gene. How wrong we all were.