Ragdoll history – origin
Ragdolls was “created” as the breed by the registered Persian cat breeder Ann Baker in California, United States during the 1960s. They were breed under the cattery name “Raggedy Ann”. In 1963, she mated her neighbors ( “The Pennels”) cats Josephine- a persian-like house cat with Beauty- a Birman-like house cat. From this combination came Daddy Warbucks. Daddy Warbucks was then mated back to Josephine and from the combination came a female called Fugianna. Ann also purchased a female called Buckwheat from her neighbors. The parents of this female was Josephine and Blackie. According to not entirely confirmed data Blackie was also Josephine’s son.
It is from Josephine, Daddy Warbucks, Fugianna, and Buckwheat that Ragdolls originate. Of these however, only Daddy Warbucks and the female called Fugianna were registered as Ragdoll. Buckwheat was mated with Daddy Warbucks. From that litter came four kittens, two fully colored (never registered as Ragdolls), a chocolate colourpoint female -Tiki and a seal mitted male -Kyoto. (look at the crossing schedule I made)
1966 Ragdoll was recognized as a own breed at the first Cat Club “National Cat Fanciers Association” (NCFA). Daddy Warbucks, Fugianna, Tiki and Kyoto. were then registered as Ragdolls. Of these, Merle Pennel stood as breeder to Daddy Warbucks and Fugianna and Ann Baker to Tiki and Kyoto. All was registered as owned by Ann Baker.
The development of the breed
At the beginning of the development of the breed, it was important for Ann to expand the breeding base as much as possible. She therefor divided the cats in to two groups and used them as a system when planing matings. The groups were called “Light Side” and “Dark Side”. The name had nothing to do with the color of the cats. She suggested that Buckwheat belonged to the “dark side” and Fugianna the “light side”. She said that the “light side” cats had longer snouts and ears like Balinese cats. “Dark side” cats had broader faces, shorter ears and was generally more compact built like Himalayan cats or Sacred Birmans. “Light Side” cats were considered to be nicer in temper. Ann’s system was that the breeding pair should consist of a “dark side” cat and a “light side” cat to get the right kind of Ragdoll.
1969 Ann sold the first Ragdolls. It was a breeding pair (Raggedy Ann Buddy and Raggedy Ann Rosie) to Denny and Laura Dayton. They breed Ragdolls under the cattery name “Blossom Time”. From these “Blossom time” cats comes most modern ragdolls.
Ragdoll Historical Society has a super website entirely dedicated to the Ragdoll history with texts, images and documents. I full heartily recommend this website if you want even more information about Ragdoll history – origin and early development.