Minutes of the July 2016 Breed Council Meeting

2016 Persian Breed Council Meeting at the CFA Annual in Las Vegas, informal meeting minutes

From the Breed Council Secretaries Meeting with the Board of Directors:

1) Grand certificates are only being printed once a month at this time. If you are missing a Grand cert from longer than 2 months ago, contact CO.

2) There have been some issues with poor quality certified pedigrees with CFA; including faded ink/poor ink quality and incorrect spacing/placement on 6 gens. If you ordered a certified pedigree that was lacking in quality, please contact CO for assistance.

3) Registration prefix audit - All the BC secretaries were asked to "audit" the prefixes for their breed. The Persian breed was 11 pages in 8 point font! The Persian was the beta test - I removed prefixes that were outright wrong (for example- 0107 was listed twice, once for solid blue female, once for brown mackerel tabby!) and ones no longer used (all the "van" prefixes, for example, and the 01 series on chocolates and pointed Persians). Hopefully, the removal of these prefixes will cut down on the mistakes made by CO.

4) Unifying color descriptions came up again (this is a common topic - i.e.: why "ebony" for black Orientals? "Flame" vs. "red" points?) Nobody could agree what "set" of color names is the best, so that went nowhere... again. However, it also came up in this discussion that CFA should provide on the main website an easily accessible image gallery of various colors to help educate the public and new breeders alike. (This could be awesome, but it's a massive undertaking, as I have found out in just trying to create a gallery of Persian colors.)

5) One of the BC secretaries mentioned several of her members do not use computers, so she had no way to contact them. CFA should provide a list of physical addresses to BC secretaries (pretty sure they do...) some discussion about online balloting vs. physical. Some people never got the snail-mail renewals, but others did- same with the ballots. There wasn't any resolution here, just discussion.

6) Rules of registration are now online for every breed. No more secrets! (Apparently, that has been an issue in the past.)

7) The Abyssinian BC secretary requested to propose allowing exceptions to their 8-gen pedigree rule for cats registered in certain "approved" associations (IE: those that have the same rules about not allowing SH Somalis to registered as Abyssinians). After some discussion, it was suggested the Abyssinian BC to put the question to their ballot.

8) Mentoring program - request from Mentor Program chair for BC Secretaries to help set up mentor/protégé pairings within the breed. This led to a long discussion about possibly creating two types of mentors for each protégé - a "breed" mentor and a "showing" mentor. There was some discussion about some mentors abusing the protégé relationship and setting up protégé's as "satellite" breeders. For the Persian BC, I would like to develop a list of Persian BC members willing to be mentors (either long or short distance) so I can provide names when asked. During the Persian BC meeting, I reinforced that we really need to be doing more, as a breed, to help new breeders. Please take the time to be a little nicer to new people - they are the future of not just CFA, but our breed. (I realize certain types of new breeders are not those we want - those looking to make fast money (ha!) or not wanting to show, or worse, those who are not properly caring for the cats they already have... but there are many who really are trying for whom a kind word would go a very long way.)

9) Breed statistics. The Persian breed has more cats shown, more litters registered, and more kittens born than any other breed. Where we lag behind is in registrations (which is why the Persian breed is said to be "#2" in CFA, when in reality, it still is #1 as far as pure numbers born & shown.) Registrations in regions 1-9 for Persians outnumber Exotics significantly. It is only in the "ID" that there are more Exotics. Some discussion during the Persian BC meeting about the inflation of all registrations in certain areas of the ID... There were no numbers provided for the breakdown of Exotic SH vs Exotic LH. (I have requested this from Dick K, waiting to see if he can provide it.)

From the meeting itself:

1) I asked if the BC members had any ongoing concerns about how Persians are handled in the ring. Throughout the year, I tend to get some complaints about specific judges. These are not always easy to address, but I can take general comments to the judging program chair. General comments: Jewelry (like big rings/big stones) and bracelets that catch the hair (or worse, could scratch an eye.) Same for long necklaces. Over handling of the head was brought up (this is a fine line, as some judges under handle the head - it would be a good idea to come up with a tutorial on what constitutes good handling of the Persian head - maybe even develop a video?) Also, putting toys too close to the eyes of Persians. Not paying enough attention to the tabby pattern (or lack thereof) in tabby and tabby & white Persians. Finally, not really looking at the undercoat on Smoke Persians.

2) Nancy Petersen discussed two proposed changes to the Persian standard.
a) Feet "loosely coupled" - i.e., the toes should not be "tight" as seen with British Shorthairs (and Exotic Shorthairs).
b) Excessive jowling should not be present on younger Persians... some discussion about what jowling is... we do expect to see jowling in older/mature Persian males (a thickening seen in the cheek/jaw area), but the extra roll of skin seen in Exotic shorthairs and British Shorthairs (even as kittens) that extends from ear to ear across the throat should not be present in Persians.

3) I brought up addressing the issue of nose placement in Persians. Currently the standard says "NOSE: short, snub, and broad, with “break” centered between the eyes." The question I have stems from the word "centered" - when talking with some judges and many breeders, there is no consensus as to what exactly it is "centered" on - vertically or horizontally? I've been seen more and more cats shown in the Persian classes with breaks that are actually ABOVE the top line of the eyes. The places the nose leather in line or above the mid-line of the eyes. Additionally, I have been seeing increasing numbers of cats shown in the Persian classes with noses/breaks that are offset to one side of the other (crooked), including noses that are actually turned (one nare is higher than the other and the nose leather is set on a slant). I'd like to propose a change that reads as such: "NOSE: short, snub, and broad, with “break” centered between the eyes, set no higher than the midline of the eyes." I could probably use some help with the wording, but this will need to be discussed and finalized quickly! The consensus of those at the meeting was that we do not want to see the nose leather above the mid-line of the eyes (the so-called "piggy" look.)

4) The question of removing the ELH from the Persian breed classes will appear on the ballot again. After receiving some feedback from the BOD members, the future home for such cats will NOT be addressed - the BOD feels it is inappropriate for the Persian BC to decide where another breed is shown. Regardless, the majority of the Persian BC does not want the ELH in our breed classes, so the question will appear again, this time, simply to remove them from the Persian Breed classes and suggest either/both the Exotic BC and/or the BOD to decide what to do with them after that.

5) Spotted tabbies - this is a touchy issue, because some feel that the "spotted" tabbies we are seeing in the Persian classes are broken mackerel tabbies (that is, they are born mackerel and the stripes "break" into spots as they mature). A few I have heard are also broken classics. The question is: Do we really want to change the standard to allow a bad example of an existing color/pattern? A true spotted pattern should be BORN spotted and STAY spotted. I have seen this in my American Wirehairs - I currently have a litter with a "broken mackerel" and a "spotted." The spotted was BORN spotted - very clear spots that DO NOT go away - not in any clear pattern (classic or mackerel) either. The broken mackerel was born with perfect, unbroken, pencil line mackerel pattern that began to "break" at 6-7 weeks and continues to break more as the kitten is getting older. The tabby division recently had a large discussion about not wanting "unmarked" tabbies (brown bodies with a few markings on the face & legs). The standard is written for the IDEAL - not reality. The Persian breed has one of the most meticulous and idealistic of breed standards - we very rarely, if ever, "dumb it down" to match what our breeding programs are producing. We have a history of tweaking the standard toward greater and greater perfection, not lesser.

Again, this is unofficial - just my recollections of the meeting and some of my notes, which are not necessarily in order of discussion. I thank those that did attend and participated in the discussions.

--Carissa Altschul