The Snowshoe is born completely white at birth and develops into the points a few weeks later. The most common coat colors are seal and blue as the lighter colors made the white mitts and facial markings difficult to identify. This breed is a short haired breed and should not be confused with the Birman or Ragdoll as it is not related to either. The coat of the Snowshoe is a single layer with no under coat.
The head of the Snowshoe should be a broad, modified wedge. The cheekbones should be set high and with gentle contours that help the head to resemble an equilateral triangle. Ears should be medium and broad, a continuation of the wedge with slightly rounded tips. They should be in proportion to the body. The eyes should be oval in shape and any shade of blue.
Snowshoes are medium sized cats, with males weighing between 9 and 12 pounds and females between 7 and 10. The body should be semi-foreign and moderately long, but not extreme or oriental; neither cobby nor delicate. The body should be well balanced, well build, powerful and agile with no extremes. The legs should be of good length, with medium boning and oval feet.
The Snowshoe loves to touch and be touched. They are intelligent and can be taught a number of tricks. The breed is also well known for its fascination with water and many will even climb into the tub for a swim as long as the idea is theirs. While not as loud or vocal as the Siamese, they are still accomplished conversationalists and will happy keep up with anything you wish to speak about.
The Snowshoe is a breed that is very easy to care for as they groom themselves. If your Snowshoe is not grooming itself it is a sure sign that they are feeling under the weather and likely need professional care.
The Snowshoe is a beautiful accident. In the late 1960's, a Siamese breeder named Dorothy Hinds Daugherty of Pennsylvania discovered a litter of little Siamese colored kittens with white mitts. Smitten by the look, she began working to develop a new breed of cat- a Siamese with mitts and a white facial marking in the shape of a V. By breeding these new kittens to an American Shorthair with tuxedo markings, she established a new breed in color with the combined personality of its parents.
The breed was accepted into the CFF and ACA in 1974, but interest dwindled and for a time there was only one breeder in the whole of the United States. The lack of interest on the part of breeders was likely the result of the difficulty in turning out a quality Snowshoe. The genetics are difficult to manipulate, particularly the gene in charge of the white on the face. It is recessive and as such when two parents with the gene mate, the V shaped is larger than when only one parent carries the gene. In addition, the breed calls for Siamese style pointing for the white to fall on. To top all this off, the standard calls for the body to be hefty like that of the American Shorthair but long like the Siamese.
Snowshoes have since made something of a comeback and were accepted by the ACFA in 1990. Breeders are currently working towards CFA acceptance, but there are not enough cats nor breeders to meet the requirements.