Pattern

Ok then, let's talk about all these patterns. We know that the base colors are black or red. We can add on the dilution trait to bleach these to blue or cream and we have the agouti trait that determines whether the cat's pattern should be displayed or hidden. (Remember here all cats have a pattern even if we do not always see it).

The patterns we have on Maine Coon are:

Classic tabby, Mackerel tabby, Spotted tabby or Ticked tabby.

Classic

mcmc

Recessive (double genes are required for the pattern to be displayed).

 

Mackerel

McMc

Dominant

Homozygous Mackerel

Mackerel

Mcmc

Dominant

Heterozygous Mackerel, carries Classic

Spotted

Sp

Dominant

The gene breaks up the basic pattern to dots.

Spotted Sp   The gene breaks up the basic pattern to dots

Tickad

T

Dominate over all the other patterns but are located in a separate locus. This means that a ticked cat can also carry another pattern.

 Ticked

Tickad

t

 

Not ticked

 

Here it will be a bit difficult when we begin to think of inheritance. Patterns are inherited as everything else in pairs, which means that a mackerel tabby can have one trait for mackerel tabby and one for classic tabby, which means that two mackerel tabby, if both are carrying classic tabby, actually can get offsprings who are classic tabby if the mc gene is inherited from both parents. Two classic tabby, on the other hand, can never ever get anything but classic tabby.

In the case of spotted tabby, there are two variants, one who believes be the one who gives us the cats that are mackerel tabby on one side and spotted tabby on the other. This is thought to be the ones who have mackerel tabby as a base pattern, while those who are very clearly spotted tabbies are those who have classic tabby as a basic pattern. How good the dots are, have nothing to do with whether the cat is heterozygous spotted or homozygous spotted.

The ticked tabby can be ticked in two different ways, either with several short breaks on the hair or with a few longer "on and off" (the hair will not become multi-banded ticked). Abessinier and Somali are homozygous ticked and have genotype TT while most other breeds with ticked cats have genotype Tt, heterozygous ticked, of course, we can by mate ticked with ticked also get homozygotes ticked on other breeds with ticked such as our Maine coon.

Below is a table where Cat 1 is heterozygous ticked but is also a carrier of both mackerel and classic tabby. Cat 2 is a mackerel but also a carrier of classic tabby.

Cat 1→

Cat 2↓

McT

Mct

mcT

mct

Mct

McMc Tt

McMc tt

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

Mct

McMc Tt

McMc tt

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mct

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mcmc Tt

mcmc tt

mct

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mcmc Tt

mcmc tt

 

It's a bit tricky and you have to think a little, but hopefully, you understand the principle in any case, so in the example above it will be. 

If you see above, then we see that 50% of the offspring will be Ticked tabby.

About 37.5% will be Mackerel tabby and 12.5% will be Classic tabby.

Some examples of patterns and genetic combinations:

McMc Spsp tt - The cat is homozygous mackerel with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

Mcmc Spsp tt - The cat is heterozygous mackerel with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

McMc spsp tt - The cat is homozygous mackerel without the spotted gene, therefore Mackerel Tabby.

Mcmc spsp tt - The cat is heterozygous mackerel without the spotted gene, therefore Mackerel Tabby.

mcmc Spsp tt - The cat is Classic tabby with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

mcmc spsp tt - The cat is Classic tabby without spotted genes, therefore only Classic Tabby.

In below example, everyone will be visibly ticked but carrying a few different other patterns.

McMc spsp Tt - Ticked cat that also carries homozygous Mackerel Tabby, no spotted

Mcmc spsp Tt - Ticked cat who also carries Mackerel Tabby, as well as carrying Classic tabby, no spotted.

mcmc spsp Tt - Ticked cat who also carries Classic tabby, no spotted.

 

At the moment, there are no DNA tests for the different pattern types, so we still have to live in uncertainty and learn as we may see what traits the cat will pass down to it's offsprings. 

 

Skapad av: Malin Sundqvist

Before we move on with the rest, I think it's important to have a very short basic review of dominant and recessive predispositions.

Dominant resp. Recessive

Traits are inherited in pairs and kittens will then inherit one of these from their mother and one of these from their father. Keep this in mind and go back to this article if it gets messy. I will try visually to show, trait by trait, so that it will be easier for you to see it in front of you, in all articles and for all traits. I will also state from the start whether it is a dominant or recessive predisposition.

Dominant traits:
Must be seen in one of the parents in order to be passed on and can therefore not be carried hidden.
For the dominant traits, this means that ONE set of the trait is enough for it to be visible.

Recessive traits:

Can be carried hidden, in order for a recessive gene to be visible to the outside world, it is required that the cat has the trait in a double edition. So one edition is not enough for you to see the trait. A recessive trait can be carried hidden for all eternity before it suddenly reappears.

 

By: Malin Sundqvist
Dagdrivarn (www.dagdrivarn.se)

Well, I think I need to start this article with a clarification, not long ago we had shaded, shell, and chinchilla, today this is changed. I will go by the new names remember this so that you do not get confused. The Silver-variation is handled in the article: Shaded and Shell.

 

Designation

Golden Tabby All colors and patterns (ny, ay, fy, gy, dy, ey) and (21, 22, 23, 24 and 25)

Golden Shaded

ny 11, ay 11, fy, 11, gy 11, dy 11 and ey 11.

Golden Shell

ny 12, ay 12, fy 12, gy 12, dy 12 and ey 12

 


Goldens will have the (y) behind their normal color code, I did got dy and ey in the list, I dont think we ever seen one in the Maine Coon breed, but the exists in other breeds.
I know that there is believes that the wideband is is a different trait on the MCO then in for example the Persian or Brittish Shorthair, though I have some trouble with this since all other known traits is the same in every breed. I do not know if I'm correct, maybe time will tell if there during my lifetime will be a gene-test for the wideband and for silver, but for now we just have to settle with theories and what we can actually see. Remember as in the Shaded and Shell articles this is what I have learned and seen I have been looking at those colors for about 10-12 years even if it's just about 2 years since I actually started to breed for them. 

There has been a LOT of speculations and a lot of theories about Golden, I will quickly just mention them here.

Old theories about Goldens
Well I will not go into those other theories, you need to read the whole article to understand how the thought around those and in connetion to the theories about the silvershaded and silvershell. But there is a lot of different theories.
The full article of the different old theories: http://www.mat.uniroma2.it/~picard/Cats/Feline_genetics_notes.pdf



If you read the article about Shaded and Shell you will see that this is exactly the same inheritance, just without the silver.
Golden is a cat who does have the wideband gene but no silver.
For example lets say you got a ns 11 (a blacksilver shaded), then go got a kitten who is the same as the adult but without the silver, this kitten will be a ny 11 (a black golden shaded)
So the genetic designation would be like this:

ns 11  AA, II, wbwb
AA, Ii, wbwb
Aa,  II, wbwb
Aa, Ii, wbwb 
 ny 11 AA, ii, wbwb
Aa, ii, wbwb

 

A is the genetic designation for Agouti (read the other articles about color to fully understand this), a golden tabby, shaded or shell (same goes for the silvervariations), must be agouti (with pattern), the could be homozygous or heterozygous so AA or Aa, as seen above a shaded must have silver eighter homozygous II or heterozygous Ii, while a golden does not have any silver ii. Both variations need to have the wideband-gene in double. As you might know from the other article this was supposed to be a dominant trait but today it's believed to be a recessive trait.

Golden seems to be even more uncommon then shaded, I think thats because it's even harder to determine golden if it's not a good golden and this trait is even more unknown by many breeders even those who actually breed for the silvervariation. And I know that in some associations Golden is not even recognized and allowed.

Below is the same table as I used in the other article, here you can see the hairs of the different patterns.

Don't mind my very terrible skill in painting, but here are are some, well visually pictures of the coat of the different patterns.

 silvershell Silvershaded  palesilvertabby  Silvertabby  goldenshell  goldenshaded  goldentabby  blacktabby 
Silver Shell Silver Shaded   Silver (pale)
Still only in theory 
 Silver tabby  Golden shell  Golden Shaded  Golden tabby Normal tabby 


 

Below are some explanations of the different colors.

Golden Shell  1/8 Of the hair is colored, the hair from the root and up to the last 1/8 is very warm from dark yellow to apricot. 
Golden Shaded 1/3 Of the hair is colored, the hair from the root and up to the last 1/3 is very warm from dark yellow to apricot.
Golden Tabby The yellowish bands in the hair are somewhat wider then on a regular tabby, this gives you in general a lighter expression of color.
Still from dark yellow to apricot.
Normal Tabby This is somewhat tricky do not misstake a warm normal tabby for golden it's not the same thing. Remember that you need to see the wideband for the cat to be golden.

 

Determining Shaded, Shell and Golden Tabbies (wideband cats that do have more than 1/3 tipping)

When looking at those colors, keep in mind that on Maine Coon we have not selected for those colors for decades like the have done on, for example, Persians, so we cannot expect to have perfect goldens. The amount of tipping and the ground color should be correct if you want to register your cat as a golden.

 

Shell

  • Tipping 1/8 of the hair and the tipping should be as even as possible (here we have some work to do in our selective breeding)
  • Ground color from dark yellow to apricot
  • The ground color is more intense on face and back, with a lighter shade on the chin, the ear tufts, down the flanks, on the belly and underside of the tail.
  • Whisker pads, chin and chest might be light to deep cream.
  • Colors and distribution of tipping as for the corresponding silver (shell)
  • Eyes and Nose leather should be outlined with the color of the tipping and even, distinct nose/eye rim is preferred.
  • Paw pads in same color as the tipping.
  • A Golden without tabby markings and bars and with a warm coat color is prefered.
  • White/light colors is tolerated beside the nosetrils, above the lips, on the chin as long as it not extend down to the chest.
  • Coat that is to grey or pale in tone or grey undercoat, are not acceptable.

 

Shaded

  • Tipping 1/3 of the hair and the tipping should be as even as possible (here we have some work to do in our selective breeding
  • Ground color from dark yellow to apricot
  • The ground color is more intense on face and back, with a lighter shade on the chin, the ear tufts, down the flanks, on the belly and underside of the tail.
  • Whisker pads, chin and chest might be light to deep cream.
  • Colors and distribution of tipping as for the corresponding silver (shaded)
  • Eyes and Nose leather should be outlined with the color of the tipping and even, distinct nose/eye rim is preferred.
  • Paw pads in same color as the tipping.
  • A Golden without tabby markings and bars and with a warm coat color is prefered.
  • White/light colors is tolerated beside the nosetrils, above the lips, on the chin as long as it not extend down to the chest.
  • Coat that is to grey or pale in tone or grey undercoat, are not acceptable.

 

Golden Tabby

Golden tabbies is a cat where the yellowish bands in the hair are somewhat wider then on a regular tabby (see the pictures above).

  • Wider bands.
  • Color dark yellow to apricot on the wider bands.
  • White/light colors is tolerated beside the nosetrils, above the lips, on the chin as long as it not extend down to the chest.
  • The dark color of the nose rim may extend over the whole nose leather and thus be the same as the corresponding solid color.
  • Ticked hairs, brindling in the dark parts of the pattern is not acceptable (here is something to work on since we have not selected for those colors).
  • Lack of contrast or coat that is grey or pale in tone or grey undercoat, are not acceptable.

 

One question I think is asked a lot is: How do I know if I got a golden kitten in the litter or not? 

There are a few things to look at, and remember. One thing that is making it very difficult for us is that golden is developing slowly.
Most golden kittens looks more or less like any other tabby we might have, though keep an extra eye on those who are born very, warm in tone.

EvGoldenTjej 01 EvGoldenTjej 02

A Black tortie golden classic tabby (fy 22)
This is a girl at some breeder friends of mine in the south of Sweden, she is a golden tabby.
I will show pictures of her as an adult below so that you can see the developement.
The light in this picture is not optimal but you can see that she got a warm tone.

A Black tortie golden classic tabby (fy 22)
You can see some wideband effect already in the fur but not that clear.
EvGoldenTjej 09 EvGoldenTjej 10
Here you can see the same girl as above as an adult.

And here is the bottom of the coat.
You can clearly see that this is not an normal tabby, she got the wideband effect, even if it's not enough for her to be shaded.

 

Here is a picture not a MCO but just to give a hint what to look for.

goldenbabybri marked 
As you can see here this kitten is very varm and yellowish in the tone between the eye and they ear, where the corresponding silver variation is white, a golden is apricot to dark yellow. 

 

There is so much more to say about this and I will probably get back to this with more pictures and more details when I get my hands on more pictures. Either by being allowed to use others or by getting the chance to take them myself. 

By: Malin Sundqvist

Agouti

Let's move on to the next part, as I wrote at the in the first article, all cats have a pattern (sometimes two or more) but we will not go into those in this part, different patterns I will address later. In this part we only mention the Agouti gene, it is the trait that controls and tells whether the pattern that the cat carries should be shown or hidden.

Well, after a small side track, let us now sort out some basics and talk about Agouti, this is the trait that decides whether the pattern the cat carries should be shown or if the pattern should be hidden. Agouti / Non-agouti, or in everyday speech patterned / unpatterned or patterned / solid.

Agouti = A
Non-agouti = a

A/A Homozygous agouti

All offsprings will show pattern.

A/a Heterozygous agouti

Offsprings might be agouti or non-agouti. Depending on whether the other part is A/a or a/a.

a/a Homozygot för non-agouti

If this cat is mated to another non-agouti all offsprings will also be non-agouti.

 

Here one must consider that in some colors this trait is more or less transparent, this applies above all to red and cream. Silver and blue might also have some transparency, especially at certain ages.

This means that you will see the pattern on the cat even if it is non-agouti, ie not patterned.
I usually compare red with a glaze and black with a regular paint. If you paint a board with a glaze, you will always see the underlying pattern, but if you paint a board with paint, you will not see the pattern of the board through the paint. In the same way, red tends to act as a glaze and black as a paint.

 

This is a good example of a solid red cat (ie unpatterned red) with a very clear pattern.
Dagdrivarn Prince Mozez who was aa (non-agouti).

2007 06 01 56

Here you might ask yourself, how do you determine if a cat is patterned or not in red or cream? There are ways to see this, if we only have red and cream, it is a bit easier, if you mix in silver, for example, it might be trickier and sometimes even really difficult. Many times, a DNA test is the only way to be completely sure whether the cat is agouti or non-agouti when we are dealing with these colors.

Below are two red cats, the one to the left is red tabby and to the right a solid red.

 Keilir 8veckor 11 Keilir 8veckor 11 
 

Agouti – You can clearly see here that the cat is light in the ears and edges of the ears, it has clear so-called. glasses (the light markings around the eyes) and are also light around the mouth. An agouti is also lighter under the abdomen and normaly has spots there, you might also want to look in the buttocks and will then see that the cat is light around the anus which then goes up in a string on the underside of the tail.

 

Non-Agouti – Here you will instead see that the cat is dark in the ears and around the edges of the ears, the markings around the eyes are admittedly there, but are not white, just a little bit lighter than the base color, as well as the marking around the mouth and under the stomach. A non-agouti is evenly colored on the underside of the tail and around the anus.

 

In conclusion, I will take some examples of inheritance of the trait.

In this example, we have a mother who is homozygous agouti and a father who is agouti but a carrier of non-agouti.

 

Dad
A

Dad
a

Mum
A

AA

Aa

Mum
A

AA

Aa

As we can see above, all kittens will be patterned (remember above, agouti is a dominant trait and it is only required that the cat has ONE copy of the gene for it to be shown). 50% homozygous and 50% heterozygous (ie patterned carriers of the trait non-agouti).

In this example, both mother and father are heterozygous, ie agouti but carriers of non-agouti.

 

Dad
A

Dad
a

Mum
A

AA

Aa

Mum
a

Aa

aa

Here the odds have changed a bit, 25% will be homozygous agouti, these will never be able to have an non-agouti offspring. 50% will be agouti but will carry the trait for non-agouti. And finally, 25% will be non-agouti.

In this example, we have an non-agouti mother and a father who is agouti but carries non-agouti.

 

Dad
A

Dad
a

Mum
a

Aa

aa

Mum
a

Aa

aa

As you can see above, we here got another distribution, 50% will be agouti but carriers of non-agouti, and 50% will be non-agouti.

Let's take one last example for it to be crystal clear. Both mom and dad are non-agouti.

 

Dad
a

Dad
a

Mum
a

aa

aa

Mum
a

aa

aa

 

In this last example, we see that all offspring will be non-agouti, there is no trait for the agouti to be carried on to the offsprings. This means that all offspring will be non-agouti, and this also means that two non-agouti can never ever get an agouti offspring.

By: Malin Sundqvist
Dagdrivarn (www.dagdrivarn.se)

Well, I think I need to start this article with a clarification, not long ago we had shaded, shell, and chinchilla, today this is changed. I will go by the new names remember this so that you do not get confused. I will not go into golden either, golden will have an article of it’s own.

Old designation

Shaded

ns 11, as 11, ds 11, es 11, fs, 11, gs 11 and so on.

Shell

Only ds 12 and es 12

Chinchilla

Only dark colors ns 12, as 12, fs 12 and gs 12

New designation

Shaded

ns 11, as 11, ds 11, es 11, fs, 11, gs 11 and so on.

Shell

ns 12, as 12, fs 12 and gs 12 and  ds 12 and es 12


So nowadays all cats with the ems code 12 is a shell, not chinchilla, though Chinchilla Persian who become a breed of their own many years ago, of course, will still be Chinchilla. But we are not going to talk about Persians in this article, I will focus on the Maine Coon.

There has been a LOT of speculations and a lot of theories about the Shaded and Shell, I will quickly just mention them here.

 The One-Gene Theory
Some time ago, it was suggested that a single unique gene was the origin of all silver colors. It was thought that the Inhibitor gene was the one responsible for Shaded and Shell, in combination with ticked. Nowadays we know this is not true.
The geneticist Roy Robinson, in its well-known book Genetics for Cat Breeders (Cambridge, 1972, 2nd edition)
The Two-Gene Theory 

State that silver colors result from the combined action of two genes, one of which (erase) inhibits pigmentation at the hair’s base, while the other (bleaching) cancels rufism. We shall call the latter “silver gene”, and denote it by Sv. The eraser gene will be denoted by I, but the reader should be warned that some recent books denote by Shaded the mild form of the gene I, which gives rise to shaded silvers, and by Shell its strong form, which gives rise to Shells. There is not enough evidence that these two expressions of I are due to two different alleles rather than to a group of polygenes. (Indeed, the transition from shaded silver to Shell is more gradual than sharp. Therefore, we do not make use of two different alleles shaded and shell and do not distinguish between the genotypes of shaded silvers and chinchillas (as far as principal Mendelian genes are concerned). But the reader can easily adapt our results to the Shaded/Shell notation if so desired.
J. Jerome, TICA Trend vol. 13 n. 6 (dec. 1992/jan. 1993), pg. 14 and TICA Yearbook 12 (1991), pg. 218

 The wide-band-Gene Theory
This is the theory that makes the most sense, the Wide-band Gene was for a long, long time supposed to be a dominant trait, which meant that at least on of the parents needed to be Shaded or Shell to be able to give the traits to the kittens. A shaded was heterozygous on the wideband gene and a Shell was homozygous on the wideband gene. Nowadays we do know by looking at pedigrees and investigate pedigrees that everything points to this gene being a recessive trait. I think it's pretty safe to even say that we today got breeding proof of this since we do have a lot of non-shaded or shell parents that actually do get shaded kittens.
The full article of the different old theories: http://www.mat.uniroma2.it/~picard/Cats/Feline_genetics_notes.pdf



Well, I will continue with the Wideband Gene, first of all, I will share some of my own thoughts around all this. From the beginning, the trait was supposed to be dominant and was therefore typed WbWb for a Shell (old designation Chinchilla), and a Shaded had Wbwb right? 

Well as you do know if you know your genetics dominant traits are set to uppercase, like for instance the inhibitor gene (the silver gene). 
Homozygous Silver II, heterozygous Silver Ii, and Non-silver ii. When we talk about the dilution-gene which is instead recessive it's the opposite, we type in lowercase like this: Diluted dd, Not Diluted but carrier Dd and Not Diluted and not carrier DD. Can you see my point?

We will use, WbWb, Wbwb, and wbwb when we were talking about a dominant trait.

For a couple of years, we were tricked into believing that the wideband trait was in fact recessive, this is not the fact. 
I was wrong others with me were wrong, but as we all do with breeding, no matter how long we are doing this, we always learn new things.

I will explain a bit more about this, the reason why we thought that the wideband gene was recessive was the high amount of very pale cats that suddenly started to arise from all kinds of matings, and none of the parents were visibly shaded. Well here we have two scenarios, one is that one of the parents in fact is a wideband cat but not good enough to be called a shaded, this cat might still give the trait to its offspring.
The other scenario is that we are dealing with the other trait, the trait that has been given the name "Nifty-silver", which I think is a bit wrong. Since the trait has been seen from lines further back but the line we are talking about here is the line: Aloa Nifty Wolf - Allycoon Brightstar - Belushies Utah and Kumskaka Many Waters of Belushies. 
https://www.pawpeds.com/db/?a=p&id=412535&g=4&p=mco&o=ajgrep

I'm not sure I like that naming, I would rather call this trait pseudo-shaded or something, this trait seems to impact smoke to a very high degree.
Also, it seems very common with pseudo merle in those cats.

This leads us back to the fact that a shaded will be Wbwb and a shell WbWb, this also makes it very logical for us to get a lot of normal silvers out of one or even two shaded parents since we all know that if we do have two cats who both are Wbwb, the can very well get offsprings being wbwb, which is a non-wideband cat.

I myself still believe that the shaded and shell colors are due to the wideband gene, this gene will turn the trait on or off like with agouti, where the agouti-gene is turning the visibility of the cat's pattern on or off, the cat still has their pattern, the agouti-gene is just turning the visibility on or off. In this case, the wideband turns the widening of the agouti-bands on or off.


When we have a cat who is heterozygous (Wbwb) the widening of the bands on the hair is on and the then normal agouti-bands get wider and we get a shaded cat. If the cat is homozygous (WbWb) the band gets even wider and the cat becomes a shell.


I believe that we also have a lot of polygenes, they will decide how even the tipping will be, how dark or pale the cat will be, and it will affect the rings on the legs, the belly, the necklace, and all those little details. This is where selective breeding comes in to be able to get those really nice shaded and shell kittens. 

Now, have to get in on golden for a while since there is something here that I believe should apply also to shaded.
In golden we do have what is called "golden tabbies" a golden is in short a cat with the wideband turned on, but the Inhibitor Gene (silver) turned off, a non-silver cat with wideband effect.

 

This means that in goldens we have golden tabby, golden shaded, and golden shell. 
I have my own theory here, that we should have one more "color" on silver. We cannot call it silver tabby, that name is already used so maybe just pale silver or wideband affected silver? Well, I don't really know but it seems like there are a lot of cats who are wideband but do not fulfill the demands to be called shaded but still have the wideband and those would be really valuable in our strive to create more shaded and shell kittens.

Today those kittens are registered as normal silver which is kind of wrong, but since we do not have any ems code for them, we do not have a choice but to register them eighter as shaded although they are not really shaded, or normal silver tabby although they are not normal silver tabbies eighter.

Don't mind my very terrible skill in painting, but here are some, well visually pictures of the coat with the different patterns.

 silvershell Silvershaded  palesilvertabby  Silvertabby  goldenshell  goldenshaded  goldentabby  blacktabby 
Silver Shell Silver Shaded   Silver (pale)
Still only in theory 
 Silver tabby  Golden shell  Golden Shaded  Golden tabby Normal tabby 


 

Below are some explanations of the different colors, I will handle golden in another article.

Silver Shell  1/8 Of the hair is colored, the hair from the root and up to the last 1/8 is pure white. 
Silver Shaded  1/3 Of the hair is colored, the hair from the root and up to the last 1/3 is pure white.
Pale Silver You can see that the cat has some wideband effect but it does have more coloring from the tip and down the hair than 1/3 so it cannot be called a shaded.
But you can see that the cat got some wideband effect as you can see above like the golden tabbies those have bands on their hair but the white parts are wider and the colored parts are smaller than on a silver tabby.
Silver Tabby  Well, we all do know what a Silver tabby looks like and you can see above that they got even agouti-bands on their hair, unlike the Shaded and Shell cats.

 

Determining Shaded, Shell, and Pale Silver (wideband cats that do have more than 1/3 tipping)

When looking at those colors, keep in mind that on Maine Coon we have not been selecting to improve those colors for decades like they have done on, for example, Persians, so we cannot expect to have perfect shaded and shell. The amount of tipping should be correct if you want to register your cat as a shaded, but still, there might be things your cat has that a shaded or shell should not have to be a really good one.

I would say be careful with cats who have very pale tipping (the 1/3 or 1/8 with color) since those can be very hard to determine. 
If the tipping is very pale you will have a very hard time seeing where the silver stops and the tipping begins.

 

Shell

  • Tipping 1/8 of the hair and the tipping should be as even as possible (here we have some work to do in our selective breeding)
  • Tipping is shading down from the back of the flanks and lighter on the front of the legs.
  • Face and legs may be slightly shaded with very light tipping.
  • No rings on the legs are allowed.
  • No spots on the chest or belly are allowed.
  • Eyes and Nose leather should be outlined with the color of the tipping and an even, distinct nose/eye rim is preferred.
  • The color on the underside of the feet is not allowed to extend up to the joint of the hindlegs.
  • In general, a shell appears much lighter than a shaded.
  • There are some more things a shell should not have but a lot of shell Maine Coons do have, like uneven tipping, solid-colored hairs, possibly some shown pattern.

Shaded

  • Tipping 1/3 of the hair and the tipping should be as even as possible (here we have some work to do in our selective breeding)
  • Tipping is shading down from the back of the flanks and lighter on the front of the legs.
  • Broken rings on the legs are allowed, but not unbroken (also here we need to select to get the perfect shaded cats, I have seen many shaded who actually got one unbroken ring but still clearly a shaded cat. 
  • Also, spots on the belly are something we still do see even though we got a Maine Coon that is actually shaded, we need to keep selecting for this.
  • Coat on the head, ears, back, flanks, and upper side of the tail must be tipped with color.
  • Chin, ear tufts, chest, and belly, inside of the legs, and underside of the tail must be without tipping. (also here we need to allow some faults and keep selecting for better shaded).
  • Eyes and Nose leather should be outlined with the color of the tipping and an even, distinct nose/eye rim is preferred.
  • The fur on the underside of the feet is colored with the color of the tipping, on the back of the hindfeet the color extends up as far as up, to the joint.
  • In general, a shaded cat appears much darker than a shell.
  • There are some more things a shaded should not have but a lot of shaded Maine Coons do have, like uneven tipping, visible pattern, all kinds of tabby markings, and solid-colored hairs.

Pale Silver

Well, those ones are not mentioned in the standard since they are not recognized, but they do exist so I will give some hints at least.

  • Tipping 1/3 or close to 1/3 of the hair, at least you can see that they do not have the bands on the hair like a normal tabby.
  • They might have some unbroken rings on the legs, but not look like a normal silver tabby.
  • Overall they look like a bad shaded.

One question I think is asked a lot is: How do I know if I got a shaded kitten in the litter or not? 

There are a few things to look at, a dark shaded (black, blue, or tortie) shaded is most often dark on the body but is white or really pale on the face and back of the ears.
A red or creme shaded will be completely white on the ears and most of the back of the head and the face a lot less color than a black.

NewbornShaded1   NewbornShaded2

Blue Tortie Silver Shaded (gs 11)
She is tested with DNA and she is agouti and completely without white.
This one is particularly white, they can be darker but the red circled
area should be white or almost white on a shaded.

Blue Tortie Silver Shaded (gs 11) 

I will also show some legs here with rings and completely without rings, not even broken rings (remember a shaded is allowed to have broken rings though).

nobrokenrings  ringsonebroken
This kitten got some broken rings,
She is almost pure white on the inside of the legs.
If you look closely you can see that on the left leg she actually got a very pale unbroken ring.
 This one, on the other hand, got unbroken rings, you can clearly see the rings also on the inside of the legs. On the left leg, there is one broken ring.

 

There is so much more to say about this and I will probably get back to you with more pictures and more details when I get my hands on more pictures. Either by being allowed to use others or by getting the chance to take them myself. I will finish up with a few photos of one of my girls, she is a pretty bad shaded but nevertheless a shaded. 

This is Sally as she was in her darkest period, a lot of cats get darker around 6 months to 1 year just to start to be paler again, at around 3 they are completely finished developing their coat and color. Persian breeders say that you can tell the end color of the cat by looking at it at the age of 6 weeks. Whether this is true for the Maine Coon is yet to be seen.

 Sallydarkest


I guess you wonder how on earth I could get that one to be shaded, even a bad shaded? Well here are some pictures and if you look at this picture above, on the legs, you can see that she actually does have broken rings on her legs.

MCESallyDividedFur1  MCESallyDividedFur2  MCESallyDividedFur3 
In this picture you see the bottom of her fur, she is clearly not a normal silver tabby.  Another picture of the bottom of the fur where it shows that she is actually 1/3 tipped and the rest are white (though if you look you can see that she also got a Merlespot (I will talk about merle In another article), and that the tipping is a bit uneven.

 And yet another picture to show the bottom of her coat.

 

By: Malin Sundqvist