Russian Blue

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For the dark-blue pigment, see Prussian blue. For the white power duo, see Prussian Blue.
Russian Blue
Russian blue.jpg
1 year old Russian Blue male (American style)
Alternative names Archangel Blue, Archangel Cat
Origin Russia Russia
Breed standards
CFA standard
FIFe standard
TICA standard
AACE standard
ACF standard
ACFA/CAA standard
CCA-AFC standard
GCCF standard
The ACF and GCCF also recognize Russian Blues in white and black, however the CFA does not. In addition, ACFA recognizes Russian Shorthairs in white, black, and blue.
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

The Russian Blue is a cat breed that tends to come in colors varying from a light shale grey to a darker, opaque black. The lighter colored felines in this specific family tend to be more aggressive and territorial than their counterparts, but are both very intelligent and playful, also tending to be more shy around strangers. They develop close bonds with their human companions and are sought out as pets due to their personalities and coat.


The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed that may have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia.[1] They are also sometimes called Archangel Blues.[2] It is believed that sailors took Russian Blues from the Archangel Isles to Great Britain and Northern Europe in the 1860s.[1] The first recorded appearance outside of Russia was in 1875 at the Crystal Palace in England, as the Archangel Cat. The Russian Blue competed in a class including all other blue cats until 1912, when it was given its own class.

The breed was developed mainly in England and Scandinavia until after World War II. Right after the war, a lack of numbers of Russian Blues led to cross breeding with the Siamese. Although Russian Blues were in America before the war, it was not until the post-war period that American breeders created the modern Russian Blue that is seen in the US today. This was done by combining the bloodlines of both the Scandinavian and British Russian Blues. The Siamese traits have now largely been bred out. The short hair and slate-gray/blue color is often seen in mixed-breed cats, which can have an impact on breeders and showers.[3]

Russian Blues are short-haired, blue-gray cats. They usually have green eyes. They have been used on a limited basis to create other breeds (such as the Havana Brown) or alter existing breeds (such as the Nebelung).

Russian Whites and Russian Blacks were created from crosses with domestic white cats which were allegedly imported from Russia. The first line was developed by Frances McLeod (Arctic) in the UK during the 1960s and the second line produced by Dick and Mavis Jones (Myemgay) in Australia in the 1970s.[4] By the late 1970s, the Russian White and Russian Black colors were accepted by cat fanciers in Australia as well as in South Africa and now also in the United Kingdom as Russian cats (in different classes). However, in North America, the Cat Fanciers Association does not recognize either variation of the Russian Blue.

Physical characteristics[edit]

1 year old Russian Blue
Four-month-old Russian Blue male

The Russian Blue has bright green eyes, pinkish lavender or mauve paws, two layers of short thick fur, and a blue-grey coat.[5] The color is a bluish-gray that is the dilute expression of the black gene. However, as dilute genes are recessive ("d") and each parent will have a set of two recessive genes ("dd") two Russian Blues will always produce a blue cat. The coat is known as a "double coat", with the undercoat being soft, downy, and equal in length to the guard hairs, which are an even blue with silver tips. The tail, however, may have a few very dull, almost unnoticeable stripes. Only Russian Blues and the French Chartreux have this type of coat, which is described as thick and soft to the touch. The silver tips give the coat a shimmering appearance. Its eyes are almost always a dark and vivid green. Any white patches of fur or yellow eyes in adulthood are seen as flaws in show cats.[6] Russian Blues should not be confused with British Blues (which are not a distinct breed, but rather a British Shorthair with a coat; the British Shorthair breed itself comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns), nor the Chartreux or Korat which are two other naturally occurring breeds of blue cats, although they have similar traits.

Behavioral characteristics[edit]

A Russian blue male
Russian blue's green eyes

The Russian Blue is an intelligent, curious, and tranquil animal. They are known for their friendliness, but are generally shy with strangers. They have been known to play fetch, and are sensitive to human emotions. They enjoy playing with a variety of toys and develop loyal bonds to their loved ones.[7] They can be quiet, only meowing occasionally, but can also be very talkative. They are clean animals that are normally reserved around strangers, unless they are brought up in an active household. Many Russian Blues have been trained to do tricks. Russian Blues can also be fierce hunters, often catching rodents, birds, rabbits, and small mammals, or reptiles.

Growth and maturity[edit]

Russian Blues have an average life expectancy of around 15–20 years, some have even lived up to a maximum of 25 years, and have few health problems as they tend to have little to no genetic problems and are not prone to illness.[8] They are a moderate-sized cat with an average weight of 3.5 to 7 kg (7.7 to 15.4 lb) when full grown. Males will typically be larger than females. Their gestation period is approximately 65 days.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Russian Blue may be better tolerated by individuals with mild to moderate allergies. There is speculation that the Russian Blue produces less glycoprotein Fel d 1, one source of cat allergies. The thicker coat may also trap more of the allergens closer to the cat's skin. Glycoprotein is one source of cat allergies, but this does not mean they are suitable to be homed with people allergic to cats; they will still cause the allergy to be affected, only to a lesser degree for short periods of time.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Felicity, a character in the novel and film Felidae, was a Russian Blue.
  • A Russian Blue kitten is a trained assassin in the Cats & Dogs film. According to audio commentary on the DVD, several kittens were used due to the kittens growing faster than the filming schedule.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Russian Blue". Breed Profiles. The Cat Fanciers' Association. Retrieved October 11, 2013. Many believe the Russian Blue is a natural breed originating from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia, where the long winters developed a cat with a dense, plush coat. Rumors also abound that the Russian Blue breed descended from the cats kept by the Russian Czars. Assuming the Russian Blue did migrate from northern Russia, it was likely via ship to Great Britain and northern Europe in the mid 1860s. 
  2. ^ Alderton, David (1992). The Eyewitness Handbook of Cats. Dorling Kindersley. p. 182. ISBN 1-56458-070-9. 
  3. ^ "Is my cat a Russian Blue?". Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Russian Black & the Russian White in the UK". Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2011). "Cats": 1–2. 
  6. ^ "Is my cat a Russian Blue?". Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ Helgren, J. Anne (12). "Rhapsody in Blue". Cat Magazine: 54, 4.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  8. ^ Smith, Derek. "Russian Blue Life Expectancy". Retrieved 7 February 2015. 

External links[edit]