Ann Baker was a lady who was involved with breeding cats of various breeds in Riverside California. Ann is the lady who started the Ragdoll using a white cat called Josephine.
Ann was a rather eccentric lady who made various claims regarding Ragdolls most of which have been disproved over the years. Ann kept a lot of information regarding what she was doing and planning to herself. She was a lady who liked to keep a tight hold on what she had created.
Josephine was a white cat of unknown ancestry who is described as being of Angora type. At some point Ann started to use a cat that looked like a Birman in her breeding programme. She called him Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks and he is as equally famous as Josephine. Like Josephine his ancestors are unknown but he did have the white gloved feet like the Birman.
At this time all Ragdolls were seal so how were blue and lilac achieved? Again, Ann kept this pretty much to herself but she was involved in a breeding programme using Applehead lilac Balinese (Applehead are Traditional Balinese and do not resemble the Balinese that we know today) and Persians. In a letter to her friend she wrote of her intention of using the Applehead Balinese to bring in lilac. We can only guess if this is what happened but it does make sense of how the colour was achieved.
In 2002 a UK outcross programme was agreed to reintroduce the colours of Chocolate and Lilac (lost through inexperienced breeding in the early days) using the Persian and the Siamese.
2007/8 has seen the arrival of Chocolate and Lilac Ragdolls from Australia and Europe.
RAGDOLLS IN THE REST OF THE WORLD
In America breeders were outcrossing to the Persian and the Birman to increase the gene pool and to reintroduce the colours of chocolate and lilac.
In Australia they wanted to bring in the colours of chocolate and lilac but were also concerned about their small gene pool and health issues. A strictly regulated (overseen at every level) outcross programme was started using the Traditional Balinese, a cat chosen with no known health issues and with a similar look and temperament to the Ragdoll.
Also in Australia another cat similar to the Ragdoll was being used in another regulated outcross programme, the Sacred Birman, a cat that carries the low-grade recessive white spotting gene. Birmans have been bred for many generations for the low degree of white, and can reproduce that degree with consistency. Matings between the Birman and the Ragdoll indicated that the gloving can be lost very easily and as soon as the first generation.
Traditional Applehead Balinese, Sacred Birmans and the Persians, were all cats believed to have been used in the beginning by Ann Baker to bring in the colours of Chocolate, Lilac and Blue.
The world seems a much smaller place than it was twenty-eight years ago when the first Ragdolls came to the UK and had to go into quarantine for six months. With the introduction of the Pet Passport Scheme it has become much easier for breeders to import Ragdolls from around the world with different types of pedigrees.