The Pixiebob is a relatively recent domestic breed that originated in the Northwestern United States. This is a medium to large-sized, muscular, brawny cat that was intentionally bred to closely resemble the wild Coastal Red Bobcat found in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The breed has a stocky athletic build, large bone structure and long, heavy legs. Its hind legs are a bit longer than its front legs. This, together with its big paws and long toes, give the Pixiebob a rolling gait similar to that of true wild felines.
The Pixiebob's slightly pointed face resembles that of the bobcat and is shaped somewhat like an inverted pear. Pixiebobs also have a heavy brow over medium-sized, soft triangular eyes. Their eyes can be yellow to golden brown, or even a color described as gooseberry green. Like wild bobcats, many Pixiebobs have lynx-like tufts of hair on the tips of their ears. The hair on their face grows distinctively downward, giving them the appearance of having "muttonchop" sideburns. Like most cat breeds, the males of this breed are larger and heavier than the females, typically weighing between 12 and 17 pounds. The smaller females range from about 8 to 12 pounds. Pixibobs have unusually short tails. According to The International Cat Association (TICA), its minimum length is 2 inches, and it can be as long as the hock. Of course, some Pixiebobs will have tails outside of acceptable length margins. Their tails have a puff of fur at the tip and are frequently kinked or knotted. However, they should be completely flexible and move naturally, with no fusion of vertebrae.
Pixiebobs come in both long-haired and short-haired varieties. This is quite unusual within a single breed. The short-haired Pixiebobs have a thick double coat that is wooly in texture and stands off from the body, giving them a pleasant padded feel when they are petted. The long-haired Pixiebobs have a long, silky coat with beautiful dark lines and spots throughout. The preferred or ideal Pixiebob is a spotted brown tabby ranging in shades from creamy to rich tawny to a deeper, more reddish brown. The spots are small and usually muted by heavy ticking, which is heavier in the winter months and may also be more silvery in tone during colder weather. The coat of this breed is easy to care for.
One of the more unusual characteristics of the Pixiebob is that polydactylism is common within the breed. Polydactylism means having extra toes. Most cats have 5 toes on each of their front paws and 4 on each of the back. Pixiebobs often have more than that normal number of toes, on one or more of their feet. This is more prevalent on the front paws. The Pixiebob is one of the only, if not the only, reported domestic cat breed whose standard specifically permits polydactylism. The maximum number of toes allowed is seven.
In the spring of 1985, a Ms. Carol Ann Brewer purchased a polydactyl spotted male kitten with a short tail from a couple living in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Washington State. In January of 1986, Ms. Brewer rescued an unusually tall domestic male cat that also had a short tail. She named him Keba. Shortly thereafter, Keba bred a neighbor's domestic female named Maggie, who delivered a litter in April 1986. Carol Ann took one of the female kittens from that litter and named her Pixie. Pixie had muted spotting on a reddish-fawn coat and an especially wild look. By 1987, Carol Ann had realized that these bobtailed domestic cats were extraordinarily unique, and she began looking for more cats with a similar look. She reportedly was concerned about what would happen if she lost Pixie and set on a course to try and develop a new bobtailed breed that looked like her. In 1989, Carol Ann drafted a written standard reflecting the traits that she was able to reproduce in her cats consistently. She called the fledgling breed "Pixiebob," in memory of her original cats.
In 1993, Carol Ann approached TICA to begin the process for getting her unique cats formally recognized by that purebred cat registry. TICA accepted the Pixiebob for Exhibition Status in 1994, and in 1995 advanced it to NBC effective May 1, 1996. The Pixiebob was granted full championship status in 1997, with champtionship competition to begin during the 1998 show season. IW SGC Silversprings Zeus was the first Pixiebob to attain an International Championship Award. Fanciers of this new breed are currently trying to obtain acceptance for the Pixiebob with other purebred cat registries, including the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
It was once thought that perhaps the Pixiebob was the result of a cross between a wild bobcat and a domestic feline. However, more recent genetic tests have established that the Pixiebob descends from domesticated cats, with no evidence of wild cats in its background.
Because this is such a recent breed among domestic cats, there is not very much published information about its medical history.
Pixiebobs are outgoing, friendly cats with an almost dog-like devotion to their human family members. They crave companionship, affection and attention. They are intelligent, respectful, playful animals that usually can be left unattended during a normal workday, although they probably would enjoy the friendship of another household pet. However, owners of the Pixiebob must be prepared to lavish plenty of attention on their pets once they walk through the door after a long workday. This breed is bright enough and willing enough to be taught to walk on a halter and leash so that it can participate in family outings and activities. Imagine the look on the neighbors' faces when they see someone walking a "bobcat" on a leash. Seriously, despite their exotic appearance, this breed is all about loving and anything but wild.
The active, sociable Pixiebob is energetic and playful, without being pushy or overly demanding. It is bright and trainable and enjoys going on walks and playing games of fetch or hide-and-seek. These make great companions for lively children, and yet will also kindly embrace the company of other family pets. While the Pixiebob is enthusiastic and eager to take part in household events, it is equally content to relax on the couch or nap near a warm window.
Pixiebobs are skilled at communicating with their owners through a variety of physical gestures, most frequently involving the use of their front paws. While they are not an especially vocal breed and only meow occasionally, most Pixiebobs develop their own special language of chirps, chitters and the occasional growl. They form extremely strong bonds with their owners.