Sunday, 18 September 2011

Straight profiles, strong chins

One of the defining characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat, and one that sets it apart from its cousins the Maine Coon and the Siberian, is the straight profile when seen from the side.  Strength of chin is also important.

The top picture is a symbol used by NFC clubs worldwide, giving an idealised view of the NFC profile. Below that is a typical Forest kitten bred here at Vieuxtemps.  You can see the resemblance in the shape of the head.

The nose should be long and straight, merging into a rounded forehead. Ideally the line from the nose to the bottom of the chin should be more or less straight, as in the symbolic drawing above. In reality very few NFCs have this strength of chin. The best NFC chin in my household was that of Honeysuckle (rest in peace dear Honey), who really did have as strong a chin as that drawing.   Jet's chin is nearly as good - maybe it is no coincidence that she is Honeysuckle's granddaughter.  


Not only should the chins be strong but they should also be quite deep. A couple of my other cats’ chins aren’t bad and some have receding chins. I have noticed that weakness in many other people’s NFCs also. Breeders should try not to lose the strong chin even though there are a lot of other more important features in the breed.

Ragna’s chin (above) wasn’t bad – maybe it recedes just a little but you can see the good depth and firm bottom corner.

Honeysuckle also had a perfectly straight profile, but she had a great deal of thick fur on her face and that has to be smoothed back in order to see the straight line. An ideal NFC would have the straight profile clearly visible, and it is a joy when you can see this, as you can with my retired stud cat Quink, below. 

Because breeders have been striving for a perfectly straight profile, as opposed to one with a distinct dip or “nosebreak”, some have gone too far the other way and sometimes nowadays you see cats with a roman profile (ie convex, bulging outwards). This in my opinion is worse than a slightly retrouss√© profile. The best profile is like the one in the symbolic drawing, so that is the one that we breeders should keep in mind.

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