Savannah Breed History

IMG_3496

Breed History – Saezar 
by Cynthia A. King
The Kasbah

Although Savannahs did not gain worldwide popularity and recognition until the late 1990s, the first known Savannah (pairing of an African Serval and a domestic cat) was achieved in the early 1980s by Breeder Judee Frank. The F1 female resulting from this unplanned breeding was named, “Savannah,” and most appropriately, is the official name of this fascinating breed today, nearly 30 years later.

The efforts of many dedicated breeders helped to establish the Savannah Cat in its elevated position as one of the rarest and most sought after domestic companion pets in the world today, however, very special recognition should be accredited to the following individuals:

Joyce Sroufe, considered the Founder of the Savannah Breed, who armed with little more than a vision, risked this experimental breeding and produced her very first litter of kittens in 1994 and officially introduced the “Savannah Cat” to the public.

Patrick Kelly, who presented the first Savannah Breed Standard to the TICA Board of Directors in February 1996, and continued to work diligently until 2001 when TICA lifted their moratorium on new breeds and accepted Savannahs for domestic registration and granted them Experimental New Breed Status.

Another person who deserves recognition as being instrumental in the development of Savannahs as a very successful and popular breed is Lorre Smith, the first TICA Savannah Breed Chair person, whose dedicated efforts helped launch Savannahs forward within the ranks of TICA at a rate more rapid than any other breed in its history. It was through Lorre’s efforts during a moratorium on hybrid breeds within TICA, that this breed was eventually accepted into TICA’s New Breed program.
Carol Streit, succeeded Lorre Smith as Savannah Breed Chair and served in this capacity until Savannahs attained Championship status in 2012.

Brigitte Cowell, was elected TICA Savannah Breed Chairman in 2012. She is, quite notably, the first Savannah Breed Chairman elected by the members of the Savannah Breed Section, and continues to lead the Breed into the future, with confidence, creativity and political savvy.

In the years since TICA first accepted Savannahs for registration as domestic cats, Savannahs have advanced from “Experimental New Breed Status” to “Preliminary New Breed Status” to ” Advanced New Breed” and in May 2012, finally advanced to “Championship” status.

The response of TICA Judges and the general public has been overwhelmingly favorable over the past few years, establishing Savannah Cats, with their elegant, exotic looks and interactive personalities as perhaps the most sought after companion animal in the world today.