Breeders and other links


    Nick Name: Fox Cat - The Somali is a long-haired Abyssinian cat. The breed appeared spontaneously in the 1950s from Abyssinian breeding programs when a number of Abyssinian kittens were born with bottle-brush tails and long fluffy coats. Abyssinians and Somalis share the same personality (active, intelligent, playful, curious) and appearance. The only difference between them is the fur length and therefore the amount of grooming required. Unlike most long-haired cats, Somalis shed very little excess hair. Their coat is generally shed en masse, or "blown", once or twice a year, rather than constantly shedding like a Persian or other long-haired cat.

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    Type and Characteristics


    The Somali is the long-haired version of the Abyssinian, with the exception of the coat length; they are the same cat. The overall impression of the  ideal Somali is a medium to large cat, regal in appearance. Males are proportionately larger than females. The Somali shows firm muscle tone and is lithe and panther-like in activity showing a lively  interest in all surroundings.

    Medium length, lithe and graceful, showing well-developed muscular strength without coarseness. The cat is solid to the feel, and the rib cage is rounded with no evidence of  flat sides. The back is slightly arched giving the appearance of a cat about to spring. The flank shall be reasonably level without tuck-up. Conformation strikes a medium between the extremes of cobby and  svelte lengthy type. Proportion and general balance to be desired more than mere size. The legs are muscular without coarseness. The Somali stands well off the ground and the length of the leg should be in  proportion with the length of the body. The feet are oval and compact. When stroked the cat gives the impression of standing on tip toe. Toes; 5 in front and 4 in back. The tail is thick at the base, long  and tapering.


    The shape is a modified wedge with rounded contours as viewed from the front. In profile there shall be no flat planes, but a gentle transition between brow, nose and muzzle.  There should be no evidence of a nose break. The head should be of ample length in general balance with the rest of the cat. In profile the skull is to show a gentle curve flowing over the head into an  arched neck. The muzzle shall follow gentle contours in conformity with the head as viewed from the front and in profile. The chin shall be full, neither projecting nor receding, having a rounded appearance.  Adult males may have jowls. The muzzle shall not be sharply pointed and there shall be no evidence of snippiness, foxy appearance or whisker pinch.


    Large, alert and moderately pointed, broad  and cupped at base, arched forward, set as though listening. Hair on ears short and close lying. Although rarely seen today some Somalis may exhibit ear tufts, "thumb print" markings on the back of  the ears or darker colored hocks.


    Almond shaped, large and expressive, neither round nor oriental and the slant is slightly toward the ear. Eyes accentuated by darker lid skin, encircled by  a light colored area. Above each eye appears a short vertical darker pencil stroke amidst the lighter area. At the sides of each eye appears a curved darker pencil line as if a continuation of the upper eye  lid. Eye colors are gold, green or hazel.


    The coat of the Somali has an iridescent quality reflecting warmth of color giving the impression of a colorful cat. Coat pattern is genetically a  form of agouti ticking with even dark colored ticking contrasted with lighter bands of color. The evenness of the ticking and the lighter colored bands give a translucent effect

    Dense and resilient to the  touch, has a lustrous sheen and is fine in texture. The coat lies fairly close to the body, however, the undercoat should be adequate enough to avoid any evidence of slickness. The coat is longest at the  spine, gradually shortening over the
    saddle, flank, legs and head. The coat is of medium length, double coated and long enough to accommodate at least four alternating light and dark colored bands.

    More Breed Descriptions on the Net

    A definitive history of the Somali Cat - This site is designed for the serious student of early Somali history and development. It is meant to be used as a tool for the Somali owner or breeder who wishes to write and speak intelligently about the breed's beginnings. At this moment this study contains over one hundred printed pages of the Somali's early history and the site is still under construction. It is not meant for the casual browser.

    - Walter & Karen Del Pellegrino
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    Also The First Somali Cat  Winners etc. starting in 1973
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    AACE -
    CFA -
    ACFA -
    CCA -
    ACF -

    Somali Cat Breed FAQ - Barbara French -

    Breed Article - The Somali Cat: 30 Years and Going Strong by Kathy Black
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