The following written information was taken from the
written by Norma Placchi entitled
"The Cat in a Not So Plain Brown Wrapper"
and appearing in the Cat Fanciers' Almanac (May 1991).
is well documented that self-brown cats were known and shown in Europe
in the 1890’s. One of the recorded names given these brown cats was
“Swiss Mountain Cat.”
Unfortunately, they disappeared from the organized cat fancy and, as
far as records show, from all cat lovers’ lives until the Post World
War II period when they resurfaced.
One possible reason for their demise was the edict given by the Siamese
Cat Club of Britain near the end of 1920 — “The club much regrets it
is unable to encourage the breeding of any but blue-eyed Siamese.” Whereupon
all solid-brown cats with non-blue eyes were excluded from Siamese classes
at shows and that was the end of brown cats as the early breeders knew
In the early 1950’s, a group of English fanciers who previously had
worked independently, began to band together to systematically isolate
the genetic design of a self brown cat. The core of this pioneer group
consisted of Mrs. Armitage Hargreaves of Laurentide Cattery, Mrs. Munroe-Smith
of Elmtower Cattery, the Baroness Von Ullmann of Roofspringer Cattery,
Mrs. Elsie Fisher of Praha Cattery, and Mrs. Judd of Crossways Cattery.
These dedicated English breeders studied available genetic information
and kept detailed records of their experiments. It is believed that
the first chestnut brown kitten, a male, Praha Gypka, produced by this
group of ladies resulted from mating a black shorthair and a chocolate
point Siamese. Other breedings supposedly took place using Russian Blue
|However, it should be noted that the year before this designed breeding
produced a Havana Brown, one was accidentally bred by Mrs. Munroe-Smith,
who mated a black shorthair, Elmtower Susannah, and a seal point Siamese,
A male self-chocolate was produced — Elmtower Bronze Idol, the first
Havana Brown to be registered in England, and the fore-runner of our
present day breed. Susannah’s sire was a black domestic named Pickles;
her dam was a seal point Siamese, Tsiu Chow. Tombee’s dam was also Tsiu
Chow and her sire was Pickles.
When Annette Bittaker and I did our extensive research for the 1982
CFA YEARBOOK article on the Havana Brown, we found that the early developers
of the breed used not only Siamese but also a small amount of Russian
Blues early on to derive a self-brown cat; but careful study of pedigrees
and of the written accounts of the founders’ original work shows that
the cats producing the early parentage of the present breed contained
almost no Russian Blue and a small amount of chocolate point Siamese.
The most successful and most often used combination was that of a black
shorthair and a seal point Siamese carrying the chocolate gene.
on Page -2-]
of the Havana Brown