Section 3 - BRITISH - Group 2
The Chartreux is a natural French breed with a large, robust, well-proportioned, muscular body. It has been renowned since antiquity for its hunting prowess and its dense, greyish-blue, slightly woolly coat. They are extremely supple and agile cats and the qualities of strength, unrivalled intelligence and adaptability, enabled them to survive in the wild for centuries.
It is believed that these blue cats originated in the rugged, mountainous regions of Turkey and Iran. Their unique coat also indicates that they lived in damp areas with cold nights and harsh winters. They were brought to France by returning Crusaders or merchants in the 13th century. The cats adopted France with all their native vitality and intelligence and the country adopted the breed. Stories of the blue cats began during the 16th century, describing them as stocky cats with a woolly ash-grey coat and copper eyes. The name Chartreux was first mentioned in 1723, but the origin of the name remains unclear. Although known as the “Cat of France”, they were also referred to as “the cat of the common people”. They did not lead easy lives, as they were valued primarily for the pelt, the meat and as ratters. Natural colonies of these cats were living in Paris and in some isolated regions of France until the early 20th century. However, after WW I, no major breeding colonies of pure Chartreux were known to exist, so some French breeders became interested in preserving this ancient breed for posterity. They put together a breed standard based on the 18th century naturalists’ descriptions and the breed has changed very little since then, which is unusual in the cat fancy, as many breeds have changed significantly in that time.
Appearance and Colours
The head is the shape of a trapezium, wider at the base and narrower at the top, and broad with rounded contours. The cheeks are full and adult males have well developed jowls. The profile has a gently concave curve at eye level, with a high forehead and a flat plane between the ears. The nose is straight, wide and moderately long. The muzzle is narrow in relation to the overall width of the head, not long nor pointed, with full whisker pads and a firm chin, giving a sweet, smiling expression. The eyes are one of its most endearing features. They are large, open and expressive with the outer corner curving slightly upward, set moderately wide apart with the colour varying from yellow to copper. The ears are broad at the base, slightly rounded and medium size set high on the head. The body is semi-cobby, sturdy with broad shoulders and a deep chest, medium length with a strong bone structure and dense powerful musculature. The neck is short, thick and muscular. Females are significantly smaller, but still robust and well-muscled. The coat is medium-short, dense, slightly woolly and open in texture with abundant undercoat, looking almost water repellent. All uniform shades of greyish blue are acceptable; slate grey nose leather, blue lips and rose-taupe pads.
The Chartreux has a gentle but seldom used voice. They are calm, observant, intelligent, non-aggressive, affectionate and good with children and other animals. The Chartreux are playful well into maturity, which is reached at between two and three years. They tend to bond with one person in their household, preferring to be in their general vicinity, though they are still loving and affectionate towards the other members of the household. They play in short spurts, sleeping and relaxing the rest of the time. They are creatures of habit and enjoy the same games and rituals day after day. They are also known for being particularly intelligent, which has probably enabled them to get quickly used to modern indoor life and to become perfect pets loved by the whole family. They prefer to be nearby, preferably getting their cheeks scratched. Their supportive, cheerful presence can be wonderful for elderly people and people living alone, yet this devotion is never obtrusive. They accommodate themselves to most situations without complaint and do not mind being left alone for long periods.
Because of the dense, slightly woolly coat, it should be combed and not brushed. Comb it regularly as indoor cats shed throughout the year due to the artificial light in the house and the more constant temperature. This helps remove dead hair and keeps the coat looking healthy. Also, trim the claws regularly. The Chartreux is regarded as a "low-maintenance" breed.
It is an indoor cat, but it does like to spend time outdoors when the weather is nice. When outdoors, its movements must be restricted, it must not be allowed to roam freely. The normal ways of achieving this is either with a purpose built enclosure or, if the garden is fenced in, by adding cat fencing or a radio containment system. They also enjoy being taken out on a lead and even for walks.
The Chartreux is considered to be one of the healthiest of all pure breed cats with little to no genetic problems.