LOST BREED - MASKED SILVER

Everybody's Cat Book, Published 1909, By Dorothy Bevill Champion
CHAPTER IX

Masked silvers are a "new" variety, and at present very few are bred, as, in the case of many of the darker varieties of silvers, fanciers are all striving after pale chinchillas, and neglecting the darker colours. There are now several fanciers who have made up their minds to breed this variety in real earnest; therefore, we mayhope to see some beautiful specimens in a few years' time. The illustration on opposite page gives a good example of what a masked silver should be (Lord Sylvester at top of page).

Hitherto very few good specimens have been bred, most of those exhibited being on the order of "spoilt" smokes. The ideal masked silver is a very beautiful animal ; in colouring, or, I should say, marking, they should resemble the Siamese cat; that is to say, they should have a black mask or face, black feet and legs. The body should be as pale silver as possible, with neither a dark spine line nor tabby markings; the silver should be free from any cream or yellow, the eyes deep golden or orange [like the Smoke]. There is no doubt, if more attention were given to this variety, the correct colour could be fixed.

In breeding masked silvers, it must be remembered that no tabby markings should be introduced. Shaded silvers, chinchillas, smokes and blues, crossed, are liable to produce a good masked silver, and if you have a queen who produces a masked silver in every litter, keep her for breeding this variety. Blacks bred from silvers or smokes also make a good cross, but do not use blacks which have been bred from oranges, or tortoise-shells, or any colours which are liable to spoil the purity of the silver ground colour.

THE MASKED SILVER (CFA Yearbook 1959):

Masked Silvers were introduced in America in 1901. Their tenure as a recognized class was brief, coming to an end in 1910. Only nineteen were registered in the combined Stud Books of the Beresford Cat Club, the American Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers Association during this time. There were seven in the first three volumes of the CFA Stud Book and eight in the Registers. The standard for the Masked Silver called for -a pale silver cat having dark face and legs. The lighter the body and darker the face and legs, the nearer approach to type.

Point scale of the Masked Silver:

Head and expression 10
Dark mask and legs 20
Color 20
Color of eyes 10
Coat and condition 15
Shape 15
Brush or tail 10
Total: 100

Mrs. D. B. Champion, who introduced one of the two Masked Silvers to America, writes that the ideal specimen was a very beautiful animal in coloring and marking. It resembled the Siamese in that it had a black mask or face, black feet and legs. The body coat was as pale silver as possible, with neither a dark spine nor tabby markings, and the eyes of a deep golden orange, like the Smoke.

Shaded Silvers. Chinchillas, Smokes and Blues were crossed to produce Masked Silvers. Mrs. Champion states that Blacks bred from Silvers or Smokes also made a good cross, but not those from Reds or Tortoiseshells as they would be apt to spoil the purity of the ground color.

The first two Masked Silvers in America, Champion King of the Silvers (CFA SB No. 85) and Champion Lord Sylvester (CFA SB No. 96) were imported from England. These two were the sires of most of the Masked Silvers registered in this country. King of the Silvers was born August 19. 1898. His sire was Bitterne Silver Chieftain, a Shaded Silver. He was owned by Miss A. L. Pollard of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Lord Sylvester, born July 5, 1899, was brought to America by Mrs. Champion. His sire was Lord Argent, the famous Chinchilla. Lord Sylvester was the most perfect in coloring of any Masked Silver ever bred, and was the biggest winner in his class, but he never captured a Best in Show.

Masked Silvers were dropped by both the Cat Fanciers Association and the American Cat Association in 1910. It is, perhaps, unfortunate as they were beautiful as well as distinctive.

Masked Silvers were introduced from Britain into America in 1901, but they ceased to be recognised just 9 years later. Two Masked Silvers were imported into the USA from England: Champion King of the Silvers (b 1898, sired by Bitterne Silver Chieftain) and Champion Lord Sylvester (b 1899, sired by Lord Argent). Lord Sylvester was considered to be a perfect example of the breed. King of the Silvers was bred by Miss G.M. Taylor and acquired by Miss A.L. Pollard of New Jersey. and Lord Sylvester was bred by Mrs. G. Beuteher and imported by Mrs. J. Champion of Argent Cattery. They didn't breed true and breeders didn't have the benefit of modern genetics knowledge to determine which cats carried the "factors" necessary to produce them. Despite the breed being dropped in 1910, there was a CFA standard for Masked Silvers until 1925. Although they were a short-lived show class of cats and numbers were very low, the breed still intrigues many breeders - what combination of genes could turn a smoke or shaded cat into a masked cat? Cats that meet the description of Masked Silvers still sometimes occur in Smoke lines, but are not recognised as a separate breed. In the combined Stud Books of the Cat Fancier's Association, the American Cat Association, and the Beresford Cat Club, only nineteen masked cats were registered. Seven were registered in the first three volumes of the CFA Stud Book. All nineteen are in the 2 lists below (3 cats are registered with both ACA and CFA).

THE MASKED PHANTOMS – Excerpts from “THEY WENT THAT AWAY, PARDNER” by Jane S. Martinke (Cats Magazine (USA) July 1970

In many ways the Masked Silver Persians are the great mystery of the cat world. Where did they come from originally and why did they not last? The plain truth is that we do not really know. Even the few hints to be found in the literature are extremely contradictory and so only compound the confusion.

Many, many years ago when I attended my very first cat show in a state of ecstasy unclouded even by the need to make a six-hour trip to another city, I came away with two lasting impressions which have remained with me to this day and have caused me much pleasure through the years. This was in the days when cat shows were held in midweek and were primarily for the ladies who duly honored them by appearing in their best bib and tucker and their Sunday-go-to-meeting hats. The shows then were more leisurely with at most two rings and plenty of time for socializing. [. . .] the second outstanding memory was the sight of four magnificent Masked Silver Persians caged in a row. The remembrance is so clear that even today I can see in my mind’s eye exactly how those cages were placed in relation to the judging rings and the cage in which was benched the entry of a close friend, the Chinchilla male who took Best Cat in show for the second successive year, a cat who could, I verily believe, hold his own even in today’s shows. I stood entranced before those Masked Silvers, for I had heard much of this color but had never before had the opportunity to see them for myself, and I returned again and again to study them in detail.

I am indebted to an article in the CFA 1959 Year Book for the following information. It states that Masked Silvers were introduced into America in 1901, but that their tenure as a recognized class came to an end in 1910 when they were dropped by both The Cat Fanciers’ Association and the American Cat Association. It further tells us that only nineteen were registered in the combined stud books of the Beresford Cat Club, the American Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

The standard given for the Masked Silver was for “a pale silver cat having dark face and legs. The lighter the body and darker the face and legs, the nearer approach to type.” Mrs. J. E. F. Champion who introduced one of the two Masked Silver imports to America is quoted as saying that the “ideal specimen was a very beautiful animal in coloring and marking. It resembled the Siamese in that it had a black mask or face, black feet and legs. The body coat was as pale silver as possible, with neither a dark spine nor tabby markings and eyes of deep golden orange like the smoke.” It was speculated that Shaded Silvers, Chinchillas, Smokes and Blues were crossed to produce this color and Mrs. Champion was of the opinion that Blacks bred from Silvers or Smokes also made a good cross, but that Blacks from Reds or Tortoiseshells should be avoided. Mrs. Champion’s import who was sired by a famous Chinchilla of that day was considered to have the most perfect coloration of any Masked Silver ever bred, but he never took a Best in Show win.

Yet all this was more than a little puzzling. If it were indeed true that the color class for Masked Silvers was discontinued in 1910 by CFA and ACA, why were four present and apparently in full competition at my first show which was held under ACA rules? Further investigation turned up the interesting fact that, if these classes were really dropped in 1910, then most assuredly at some subsequent time they must have been reinstated, for show reports in the Cat Courier of January 1926 and February 1927 prove conclusively that Masked Silvers were in competition in both CFA and ACA shows held at that time. An even more interesting discovery in the Cat Courier of August 1925 was a portion of the then current CFA Constitution which included standards. In it was a standard for Masked Silver: “The body color of a Masked Silver should be either Chinchilla or Shaded Silver, face masked like a Smoke, very dark silver or black. Eyes to be green.” This would bear out my own recollection that the points of the ones I had studied so carefully had the narrow white band next to the skin just as the ideal Black Smoke of today has on face and legs. Here, though, we find that the eyes supposed in an earlier day to be “deep orange like the Smoke” have suffered a sea change to the green of the Silver cat, possibly a sign that this color was on its way to becoming silver, the dark points being the last to go. If memory serves me correctly, Masked Silvers were still carried in the standards of CFF until into the fifties although they had not been seen in the shows for many years.

Occasionally someone becomes excited over what he believes to be a throwback to the Masked Silver of yesteryear only to find that the identification has been premature, probably made in adolescence when it is not at all uncommon for the body to appear much lighter than it should be in a Black Smoke, so that in maturity the cat stabilizes into the proper smoke coloration. From time to time, too, I have heard of Masked Silvers turning up in litters as sports, although I have not personally seen one and cannot verify the accuracy of these beliefs. I am asked how to stabilize them as a color so that they will breed true. I do not know the answer. If there had been a clearcut way to achieve this color in quantity I feel certain we would still have a class for them, for they were breathtakingly lovely.

So our mystery remains unsolved. Were the Masked Silvers never more than sports or were they, perhaps, a way station between two other colors, one from which the color passed on so quickly that it could not be retained permanently. We do not know and perhaps we will never know unless the inquiring and inventive mind of some breeder stumbles on the key to the production of this color and brings it back to us. If this ever happens, let us hope we will find some way to keep it. To lose it a second time would be unforgivable.

MASKED SILVERS IN THE STUD BOOKS

Vols 1 (1909) and 2 (1912) of the CFA Stud Book list the following; the list here is in registration number order.

CH KING OF THE SILVERS (IMP.)
CFA #85, Rule 1 and BCC 170
LH. M. Masked Silver. Eyes: Green
Born: August 19th, 1898.
Bred by : Miss G. M. Taylor, England.
Owner: Miss A. L. Pollard, Elizabeth, N. J.
SIRE: Bitterne Silver Chieftain, CFA 108.
DAM: Blinks, NCC 1656, by Blue Jack, NCC 1149, ex. Tawny, NCC 1502. Tawny, NCC 1502, by Lindfield Bootles, NCC 1226, ex. Brenda, NCC 1085. Lindfield Bootles, by The Friar, NCC 1212, ex. Lily. The Friar, by Turco, ex. Zeika Lily, ex. Zeta. Zeta, by Perso, ex. Moos.

FATIMA
CFA #90, Rule 1
LH. F. Masked Silver, Eyes: Orange.
Owner: Miss Pollard.
SIRE: CH KING OF THE SILVERS (IMP.)
DAM: Kipsie.

CH. LORD SYLVESTER. (IMP.) (ACA. 85).
CFA #96, Rule 5
L. M. Masked silver. Eyes, yellow.
Born July 5th, 1899.
Bred by, Mrs. G. Boutcher, England.
Former owner, Mrs. Champion, Staten Island, N. Y.
Owner, Mrs. Park, Montecito, Cal.
SIRE, Lord Argent, CFA 95, NCC S. B. 3088.
DAM, Atoxina, by Thunder and Lightning, ex. Atoxa. Atoxa, by Glaucus, NCC 1063, ex. Hawthorne Bounce, NCC 1191. Glaucus, by Friar, ex. Zeta. The Friar, by Turco, ex. Zeika. Zeta, by Perso, ex. Moos. Hawthorne Bounce 1191, by Ch. Beauty Boy, NCC 1031, ex. Hawthorne Mousie, NCC 1189. Beauty Boy, by Rajah, ex. Mater. Rajah, by Bogie, ex. Brownie. Mater, by Lewis, ex. Betsy. Hawthorne Mousie 1189, by Banjo, NCC 1033, ex. Viola, NCC 1084. Banjo by Perso, ex. Viola 1084. Viola, by Cloudy, ex. Beata.

ROSEBEN
CFA #115, Rule 1
LH. M. Masked Silver, Eyes: Orange.
SIRE: Bitterne Silver Chieftain, CFA 108.
DAM: CH Bitterne Chiffon, CFA R. log.

PETER PAN
CFA #117, Rule 1
LH. M. Masked silver.
Owner: Mrs. J. Conlisk.
SIRE: Bitterne Silver Chieftain, CFA 108.
DAM: CH Bitterne Chiffon, CFA R. log.

ABDUL MOKO. (ACA. 80).
CFA #240, Rule 5
L. M. Light smoke (Really a Masked Silver). Eyes, yellow.
Bred by Mrs. J. N. Smith, Detroit, Mich.
Owner, Dr. Bowen, Buffalo, N. Y.
SIRE, Bar Abdul, BCC 541 (aka Arlington Dingley Bar Abdul) by Abdul Hamet of Dingley, ex. True Love of Dingley. Abdul Hamet by Ch. Abdul Zaphir, NCC 2417 ex. Mimi, NCC 1593. Abdul Zaphir, by Ch. Felix ex. unknown. True Love of Dingley, by Ch. Felix ex. Sunshine.
Dam, Kuko, by Silver Mist, NCC 1655 ex. Roly Poly San NCC 3149. Silver Mist, by Silver Lambkin ex. Judy. Roly Poly San, by Reggie, NCC 1871 ex. Adrienne, NCC 1870. Reggie, by Blue Plume, NCC 1110 ex. Juliet, NCC 1296. Blue Plume, by Goblin, NCC 1036 ex. Blue Duchess, NCC 1535. Juliet, NCC 1296 by Shah ex. Victoria, NCC 1109. Shah, by Jumbo. Victoria, NCC 1109, by Tommy, NCC 1030, ex. Midi, NCC 1044. Tommy, 1030 by Oscar, NCC 1298 ex. Phyllis.

COMEDIENNE
CFA #265, Rules 1 and 4
LH. F. Masked silver. Eyes, Orange
Born: June 8th, 1907
SIRE: Cigarette, CFA 138.
DAM: Waverly Celeste, CFA 257, by Radium, CFA 61 ex. Waverly Pansy, CFA 248, by Titus, ex. Phroso Titus by Ben Hur, ex. Fuzzy Wuzzy. Phroso, by Bumble, ex. Bee.

MISTER
CFA #285, Rule 1
LH. M. Masked silver
Born: June 27th, 1907
Bred by: Mrs. C. C. Ashmun.
Owner: Miss H. E. Brown.
SIRE: Beauty of Sunnyholme, A. C. A. 304, (see 287).
DAM: Fancy Lady, CFA 246.

BARNEY
CFA #293, Rules 1 and 3
LH. M. Masked silver. Eyes, green.
Born: March 3rd, 1907.
Breeder and Owner: Mrs. J. Conlisk Gowanda, New York.
SIRE: Bitterne Silver Chieftain, CFA 108.
DAM: Ch. Bitterne Chiffon, CFA 109, BCC 888 by Tintagel, BCC 862, ex. Silverine II. Tintagel, by Ch. Lord Southampton (extended pedigree see 97), ex. Silver Spangle. Silver Spangle, by Ferry Victor, ex. Ferry Nina. Ferry Victor, by Puff, ex. Lambkin Queen. Ferry Nina, by St. Anthony, ex. Lady Jane. Silverine II, by Silver Starlight, ex. Silverine. Silver Starlight, by Silver Laddie, ex. Minette. Silverine, by Lord Argent, CFA 95, ex. Atoxina (see CFA 96).

PHYLLIS OF DAYBREAK.
CFA #482, Rule 1.
L. F. Masked Silver.
Owner, Dr. J. A. Jackson.
SIRE, Jock of Daybreak 367.
DAM, Argent Bunny, CFA R. 26.

RAMONA.
CFA #548, Rule 6.
L. F. Masked Silver. Eyes, green.
Born March 9, 1906.
Bred by Dr. Isabel Church.
Owner, Mrs. E. B. Cridler, Dansville, N. Y.
SIRE, Jack Frost, BCC 794 (see 892).
DAM, Lady of Dreams (see 892).

SHADOWS OF DAYBREAK.
CFA #551, Rule 1.
L. F. Masked Silver.
Owner, Mrs. E. B. Cridler.
SIRE, Jock of Daybreak 367.
DAM, Argent Bunny, CFA R.

PRINCE VINCERE.
CFA #557, Rule 1.
L. M. Masked Silver. Eyes, orange.
Owner, Mrs. Fuller.
SIRE, Ch. Kewlocke 362.
DAM, Psyche.

ORPHAN ANNIE.
CFA #613, Rule 1.
L. F. Masked Silver. Eyes, green.
Owner, Miss A. O. Moore.
SIRE, Silver Chieftain, Ill.
DAM, Peggy Conlisk 242.

PORTIA FROST.
CFA #892, Rule 6.
L. F. Masked Silver. Eyes, green.
Born March 9, 1906.
Bred by Dr. Isabel Church.
Owner, Mrs. F. Connolly, Roosevelt, L. I.
SIRE, Jack Frost, BCC 794, by King of the Silvers, CFA 85, ex Silver Rime. Silver Rime by Lord Southampton, NCC 1690, ex Silver Moon.
DAM, Lady of Dreams by Columbia Patrick, CFA 355, ex The Blessed Damosel by Lord Southampton, U. S. R. 62, ex Peggy. Lord Southampton by Silver Lambkin, ex Southampton Duchess. Peggy by Silver Mist, ex Lady Betty.

This list is from Vol 1 of the American Cat Association Stud Book (1907).

MASKED SILVER-MALE.

ABDUL MOKO
ACA #80. Rules 2 and 3.
Date of birth, June 9, 1904. Color of eyes, Yellow.
Breeder, Mrs. J. N. Smith, Detroit, Mich.
Owner, Mrs. Luella Hodges, Pittsburgh, Penn.
SIRE, Bar Abdul (541), by Abdul Hamet of Dingley 42 out of True Love of Dingley. True Love of Dingley, by Ch. Felix 46 out of Sunshine. DAM, Kuko, by Ch. Silver Mist [1655] out of Roly Poly San [3149]. Ch. Silver Mist [1655], by Silver Lambkin out of Judy. Silver Lambkin. (For extended pedigree see 15). Roly Poly San [3149], by Reggie [1871] out of Adrienne [1870]. Reggie [1871], by Blue Plume [1110] out of Juliet [1296]. Blue Plume [1110], by Goblin [1036] out of Blue Dutchess [1535]. Goblin [1036], by Turko. Blue Duchess [1535], by Blue King out of Blue Queen. Juliet [1296], by Shah out of Victoria [1109]. Shah, by Jumbo. Jumbo, by Old Jumbo. Victoria [1109] by Tommy [1030] out of Midi [1044]. Tommy [1030], by Oscar [1298] out of Phyllis.

IMP. LORD SYLVESTER
ACA # 85, Rule 3
Date of birth, July 5, 18". Color of eyes, Yellow.
Breeder, Mrs. G. Boutcher, England.
Owner, Mrs. F. E. J. Champion, Staten Island, N. Y.
SIRE, Lord Argent 86 [3088].
DAM, Atoxina (C. C. R.), by Thunder and Lightning out of Atoxa. Atoxa, by Glaucus [1063] out of Hawthorne Bounce [1191]. Glaucus [1063]. (For extended pedigree see 6). Hawthorne Bounce [1191]. (For extended pedigree see 6).

ARIEL
ACA # 106, Rule 1
Date of birth, June 4, 1904. Color of eyes, Green.
Breeder, Mrs. E. E. Calkins, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Owner, Breeder.
SIRE, Ch. Lord Sylvester 85.
DAM, Kensington Mina 104.

MADISON MASKQUEY
ACA #318, Rule 2.
Date of birth, April 5, 1905. Color of eyes, Greenish Yellow.
Breeder, Lucy C. Johnstone, Chicago, Ill..
Owner, Breeder.
SIRE, Silver Flash 91.
DAM, Madison Gipsy Jane (808). (For extended pedigree see 84).

MASKED SILVER-FEMALE.

PUSSY WILLOW FROST 221.
ACA #221, Rules 2 and 1
Date of birth, June 5, 1905. Color of eyes, Green.
Breeder, Isabel A. Church, M. D., New York City, N. Y.
Owner, Miss Mary C. Ames, Williamsport, Pa.
SIRE, Jack Frost (794). (For extended pedigree see 174).
DAM, Lady of Dreams 210.

PRINCESS IOLE
ACA #269, Rules 1 and 2
Date of birth, July 27, 1905. Color of eyes, Orange.
Breeder, Mrs. G. B. Brayton, Brighton, Mass.
Owner, Mrs. G. White, Dorchester, Mass.
SIRE, Waterside Nicotine 268.
DAM, The Beadle's Psyche (985), by Lockehaven The Beadle (125) [1872] out of Cushka (642). Lockehaven The Beadle (125) [1872]. (For extended pedigree see 6). Cushka (642) out of Mimidatzi [1593]. Mimidatzi [1593], by Blue Boy the Great of Islington [1090] out of Boots of Bridgeyate [1225]. Blue Boy the Great of Islington [1090], by Jumbo out of Silvie.

MESSYBEAST : BREEDING ETHICS AND PURPORTED BREED ORIGINS

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