Explaining the concept of foundation is not always simple, but I will make an effort here to explain it as easily as possible.

Starting with a parable of how a cat breed can start, we use a fictional race.

We have a wild cat type in the country that looks in a special way lets say everyone has zebrapattern. Now, when we will start the breed, we have to go out and find cats that look like this and also have a "type" ie an appearance that is in line with the new "breed" we imagined. We have decided to call our new breed Zebris. We will go out into the village and look for some really nice specimens, and those we decided, fit in well in our "standard" regarding type and pattern. We will register these cats as Zebris. These first cats of the breed Zebris then become founders for the breed, ie Foundation.

50 years later, we realize that we need to broaden our breeding base a little. We then have to go back to see if we can find some nice wild specimens that fit in and that we can register as "new founders" in the breed. We may even be lucky that there is a breed that is similar to our own, this breed is called Zabris. We can then breed them with our Zebris and then incorporate them as "new foundation" in our breed.

When we talk about Maine Coon, the grade 2, 3 and 5 grading is about our 2, 3 and 5 most commonly original foundation cats.

Ie The first cats who were registered as Maine Coon. The complete list of foundation cats can be found here!

The cats that count to Top5 are:
* Andy Katt of Heidi Ho
* Bridget Katt of Heidi Ho
* Dauphin de France of Tati-Tan
* Tatiana of Tati-Tan
* Whittemore Smokie Joe (or Smokie Joe of Whittemore)

In the case of Top3, it is the presence of the top three cats on Top 5 ie.

Andy Cat of Heidi Ho, Bridget Cat of Heidi Ho and Dauphin de France of Tati-Tan.

Therefore, Top2 is about the presence of the two tops in the pedigree.

Ie Andy Cat and Bridget Cat of Heidi Ho.

The novice are really the same as the new foundation.

But note that when we talk about foundation and outcross, it's not necessarily the same thing!

Here is more to read about working with foundation for those interested.

Author: Malin Sundqvist