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Scottish Fold Breed Profile

History of the Scottish Fold:

Scottish FoldThe first Scottish Fold appeared as a spontaneous mutation in 1961. Susie, a white kitten was born on a farm near Coupar Angus in Scotland and had unusual folded ears. A neighbouring farmer and cat enthusiast by the name of William Ross noticed Susie's unusual ears which he pointed out to Susie's owners, Mr & Mrs McRae. Two years later, Susie had a litter of kittens, producing two offspring with folded ears. One, a white female was given to William Ross, naming her Snooks.  Snooks was bred, producing more offspring. At this point, the new "breed" was called "Lop Eared Cats"

A London-based breeder by the name of Pat Turner visited the Ross's, returning home with a male called Snowdrift. She began an experimental breeding programme with the breed. Patricia convinced the Ross's to change the name to Fold.

Three of Snowdrift's descendants arrived in the United States in the early 1970's & the breed received championship status with the CFA in 1978. However some registering bodies no longer/refuse to accept Scottish Folds due to the affects the "fold" gene has on the breed (see below).

The ears are in the normal "pricked" position at birth but in the folded cat, start to bend forward around four weeks of age. The gene responsible for the folded ears is known as the Fd gene which causes the cartilage of the ear to fold forwards. The Fd is a dominant gene with incomplete penetrance. Only one copy of the gene is required for the offspring to inherit the trait. The heterozygous Scottish fold will have one copy of the Fd & one copy of the non-fd gene, ie: Fdfd. The chart below explains this.

Fd - Folded Ears Locus

Genotype

Description

Phenotype

Fd/Fd

Homozygous - Folded Ears 

Ears Folded Forwards 

Fd/fd

Heterozygous - Folded Ears - carrying non-folded ears or standard ears (rare)

Ears Folded Forwards

fd/fd

Homozygous - Normal ears

Standard Ears - no effect

The Folded ear allele is a dominant trait with incomplete penetrance. Homozygous folds may have cartilage defects that are rarely seen in the non-folds. Thus breeders breed heterozygous folds to non-folds. Unfortunately, as the allele has incomplete penetrance an occasional normal eared cat from the breeding program may, in fact, be a heterozygous fold. Which can produce breeding problems when the normal eared off spring are used.

Unfortunately, the gene responsible for the folded ears also has an impact on the skeletal system. Known as "osteodystrophy or osteochondrodysplasia", this condition affects cartilage throughout the body including bone lesions, thickening of the tail, bones in the hind legs becoming thickened and arthritic, resulting in pain & discomfort.

Scottish Folds should never be mated to Scottish Folds as the offspring will be homozygous (ie, have two sets of the Fd gene, making it "double strength", so to speak), resulting in debilitating skeletal deformities. Permitted outcrosses are the British Shorthair & American Shorthair.

Appearance of the Scottish Fold:

Scottish FoldThe Scottish Fold is a medium sized cat, with a solid/cobby body.  The most prominent feature of the breed is the ears which point downwards and forwards, which gives the head and face a round appearance. This folding occurs to differing degrees, but the more tightly folded & smaller the ears, the better.

The coat of the Scottish Fold is short and dense (there is a longhaired version known as the Coupari. Most coat colours can be found in the Scottish Fold, the only colours not permitted are the "colour point" colours.

Scottish Fold Personality:

The Scottish Fold is a quiet breed of cat. He is  affectionate, intelligent, softly spoken, sweet & loyal. They get on with people and other household animals and children.

Scottish Fold Lifespan:

12-14 years.

Also see:

Scottish Fold Breeders   Cat Breeds List