ONE-SHOW-GRAND, GC, RW COONOPRY HONEYSUCKLE ROSE OF PRAIRIEBABY, "HONEY"
Breeder: Sheila Haskins/Judith Schulz
Honeysuckle Rose is a 6th generation part foundation Maine Coon cat with a foundation content of almost 50 %. She became CFA 7th best kitten in the nation and CFA Gulfshore Region's 2nd Best Maine Coon kitten and 8th best Allbreed kitten !! She also granded at only 8 months of age! What an incentive for every Cattery to finally start outcrossing!
THE JOY OF OUTCROSS- AND FOUNDATION BREEDING
by: Judith Schulz, Copyright April 21, 2001
Note: Foundation breeding is VERY DIFFICULT but absolutely CRUCIAL for the survival or ANY breed. It is absolutely NOT to be attempted by inexperienced breeders (a MINIMUM requirement for early generation foundation work would be 10 years breed experience).
Here is a comprised, bite-size version of the original articles (with small revisions where necessary)
The term foundation is quite confusing, isn't it? Let's try to simplify: In the beginning of the Maine Coon breed there were several different foundation lines. Those were the lines our whole breed was founded on. Every owner of a first generation Maine Coon cat was a foundation breeder at one point in time.
Nowadays, we call it foundation breeding, when people are creating new lines by introducing foundation cats into the general gene pool of the Maine Coon breed. When we speak of foundation lines, we mean newer bloodlines that are not yet present in nowadays, common pedigrees.
We are very fortunate that the stud books for the Maine Coon are still open in the American Cat Association. This allows us to broaden the effective population of our breed - a very important process to fight immune related and genetic problems. When looking at the present situation, every Cattery should consider eventually adding some outcrossed lines to their program. The sooner the better.
Foundation breeders introduce carefully selected North American blood lines, in order to widen the gene pool and improve hybrid vigor. The aim is not to create mixed breed cats, but to introduce a little outcross blood into the Maine Coon breed.
The Maine Coon is still hardy and strong - compared to many other breeds. However, like in most purebred species, the gene pool in our breed is relatively small, which has led to several immune system-related and genetic problems.
The following paragraph is from a breed article from the CFA website:
<<Favoured varieties of today have been bred sire to daughter and cousin to cousin until their breeds are ruined [...] man's insistence on upon breeding in order to perpetuate features approved in the show ring has produced animals of weak constitution, prone to such conditions as skin troubles, lacking in intelligence, no longer mentally alert, eventually stupid; and at last breeding with difficulty: a state of affairs leading in the end to the sterility and death of the breed.">>
Q: What is an F1 or F2?
An F1 is a first generation Maine Coon foundation cat. This cat is preferably, but not always, found in the wild or on a farm. None or only one parent of an F1 is known and registered. An F2 is a second generation Maine Coon foundation cat where both parents are known and registered. An F3 is a third generation Maine Coon foundation cat where both parents and both grandparents are known and registered. An F4 is a fourth generation Maine Coon foundation cat - and so forth.
Q: What is the difference between foundation, part foundation and outcross?
Before looking for outcross it is important to understand the words foundation, part foundation and outcross. A foundation cat we call a cat from newer lines that are 100 % different from the ones in a common pedigree. A part foundation cat is a cat with a certain amount of foundation mixed with a pedigreed cat from common lines. Part foundation Maine Coons can vary a great deal in their foundation content. Most times, cats in higher generations have less foundation content than cats in lower generations unless the foundation breeder manages to keep up high foundation numbers for several generations. Part foundation cats and even some full foundation cats can already have a pedigree with several generations. An outcrossed cat can be anything from foundation to part foundation to a cat with a regular pedigree. It all depends on what we are outcrossing to. So, the word outcross can be misleading as well. A cat can be a half-sibling to one cat and a total outcross to another. Some people consider a cat with a full pedigree, but a low Clone or Heidi Ho content a sufficient outcross to other pedigreed cats. For an explanation of the words Clones, Top Five, Top Three, Top Two and Heidi Ho please visit the Maine Coon Heritage Site http://bowen1.home.mindspring.com/mchs/home.htm on the internet). Others feel that every cat with a pedigree from an older gene pool needs a part foundation cat to get sufficient results, regarding health.
Q: I want to start outcrossing. How much foundation content do I need?
Fist of all you should be commended for taking a step into the right direction. In the beginning, it might be a good idea to run all your pedigrees through the Swedish Pedigree Database on the internet: www.pawpeds.com , find out about their Top Two, Three, Five and Clone content, and make decisions accordingly. What is your goal? Do you want to provide others with outcross or do you simply freshen up your own lines? When looking at your pedigree, it is important to also consider foundation cats besides the five most common ones, in order to find a suitable outcross. They might vary to some extent in certain pedigrees. If you have mostly cats with full pedigrees and all from common show lines, where Clones are often skyrocket, it might be best to look for part foundations with a relatively high foundation content, since a pedigree with low Clones or Heidi Ho will probably not do the job for you. Then think about what generation you want to start with. Remember that cats in lower generations cannot be shown in Championship class (actually only once and you can’t claim the title). If that bothers you, you might be better off with an F4, F5 or F6. Also, check with your association in your particular country on what the requirements are. If you are a new breeder, please stay away from early generation cats and cats with a very high foundation content. When deciding on the foundation content in the cat you are purchasing, ask yourself the question: How much fresh blood will be necessary for my breeding program to boost immunity in my kittens and/or hopefully get rid of problems that have manifested themselves for many years? Sadly, nobody can answer that for you. All we can do here is guess. Some breeders might not have experienced major health problems in their breeding program. They are simply looking for outcross to increase hybrid vigor in their kittens and to be proactive.
GP, RW COONOPRY’S BRAHMS
BREEDER: SHEILA HASKINS
OWNERS: JIM AND SHELLY TAYLOR OF JACKSONVILLE, TX
Below his Grandsire: