Where did Ragdolls come from?
The breed was developed in Riverside, California by breeder Ann Baker. A regular, non-pedigreed, white domestic longhaired cat named Josephine produced several litters of typical cats. Josephine was not of any particular breed, nor were the males who sired the original litters. Ann Baker described herself that the original cats of the Ragdoll breed were "alley cats". Josephine later produced kittens with a docile, placid temperament, affectionate nature, and a tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up.
Out of those early litters came Blackie, an all-black male, and Daddy Warbucks, a seal point with white feet. Daddy Warbucks sired the founding bi-color female Fugianna, and Blackie sired Buckwheat, a dark brown/black Burmese-like female. Both Fugianna and Buckwheat were daughters of Josephine. All Ragdolls are descended from Baker's cats through matings of Daddy Warbucks to Fugianna and Buckwheat.
Baker, in an unusual move, spurned traditional cat breeding associations. She trademarked the name Ragdoll, set up her own registry – the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) – around 1971, and enforced stringent standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name. The Ragdolls were also not allowed to be registered by other breed associations. The IRCA is still in existence today but is quite small, particularly since Baker's death in 1997.
In 1975, a group led by a husband-and-wife team, Denny and Laura Dayton, broke ranks with the IRCA with the aim of gaining mainstream recognition for the Ragdoll. Beginning with a breeding pair of IRCA cats, this group eventually developed the Ragdoll standard currently accepted by major cat registries such as the CFA and the FIFe. Around the time of the spread of the Ragdoll breed in America during the early 1960s, a breeding pair of Ragdolls was exported to the UK. Eight more cats followed this pair to fully establish the breed in the UK, where it is recognized by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.