Ragdoll History-Chapter 1

The Beginning

The beginning of the Ragdoll breed is clouded in mystery. In talking to Denny Dayton, and reading many of the letters from Ann Baker to Blanche Herman, it appears that Ann began trying to develop the Ragdoll Breed sometime in 1963. Ann borrowed from the Pennels a cat that had the appearance of the Sacred Cat of Burma. She bred this cat to Josephine and Daddy Warbucks was born. Ann also acquired Buckwheat who was a daughter of Josephine from the Pennels. Ann mated Daddy Warbucks to Josephine and produced Fugianna. Bare in mind that NONE of these were Ragdolls, but would become the foundational stock in the breeding for the Ragdoll. It is from these three cats Daddy Warbucks, Fugianna and Buckwheat that Ragdolls are descended from.

Over the future years their offspring would become known for their good temperament, large size, non-matting coat, and striking appearance. At this point Josephine passes from the scene, and we hear no more about her. It is now her three children that play the major role of creating the Ragdoll breed.

It is at this time that Ann decides to split her two girls into the light side and the dark side. Fugianna would become the light side and Buckwheat who was very dark and thick furred would become the dark side. Ann mates Daddy Warbucks to Buckwheat and they produce the first litter of Ragdolls. Ann names the two solids Gueber & Mitts and the two pointed were a seal mitted male named Kyoto and a seal colorpoint named Tiki they were born in the summer of 1965. Kyoto & Tiki are the first cats that Ann registers as Ragdolls.

With that in mind it would be impossible for any Ragdolls to have been sold in 1966 or even 1967. During these years she would have been increasing her breeding stock during these years. The first records that I can find of the Ragdolls being sold is in early 1969 when the Daytons bought a breeding pair of Ragdolls from Ann Baker, they were named Buddy & Rosie.

It is from this small beginnings by the Daytons that most of our current Ragdolls trance their ancestry from. During the years 1969-1973 the Daytons try very hard to work with Ann to help promote the Ragdoll breed, but Ann wants to retain total control (In my opinion Ann is afraid of losing control of what she sees as her gold mine, and is afraid that if it grows to fast she is in danger of losing control.) In 1971 in an attempt to retain control over the growing number of owners and breeders she creates IRCA and comes up with the idea of franchising catteries which she felt would provide her with a study flow of money coming in.

Many of the early owners and breeders rebelled against such an idea and wanted no part of such an arrangement. The Daytons who had bought their Ragdolls prior to this time, refused to go along with this new concept. As a result several owners decided that they no longer wanted to be involved with Ann and her Ragdolls.

In September 1971 a lady by the name of Opel Jensen who owned 5 female Ragdolls that she had bought from Ann decided that she had had enough, and wanted out, and offered to sell all 5 of them to Denny & Laura, who agreed to buy all 5. In Feb 1972 a gentleman by the name of Bob Minter who had bought Pancho Villa and Melonie wanted out and offered to sell both of them to the Daytons who agreed to buy them.

At about this same time the Dayton agreed to buy Pecos Bill and Barbie from Nancy & Phil Delano. At the peak Denny said that he had 18 Ragdolls and they were all Raggedy Ann Ragdolls from Ann Baker. Ann claims that Denny was the first Ragdoll breeder, one thing for sure is that Denny was the first Ragdoll breeder to stick with it, and for this we will be eternally grateful.

It was hard getting started in the early years with a new unknown breed, but in 1974 Denny put an ad in the Los Angeles Times advertising their Ragdolls, and you might say that the floodgates really opened, and for a long time the Daytons were unable to keep up with the demand for their Ragdolls.

Pictures and text copyright © 2006 Wain Pearce, General Historian / RFCI.
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