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Standard is really something that needs to be discussed, especially in our breed and as it is these days.
Seems like no one reads the standard anymore, but rather making up their own standards no matter if it's a color or the standard of the breed.
I often hear that this is what I want to develop, this is the look I'm going for and most of the time it's far from what the standard says in some cases even traits that are considered a fault according to the standard. The cats really changed a lot, which is completely crazy, considering that the standard has not. The truth is that the standard has not changed more or less at all since 1993 except for Polydactyly which was added in 2014.
Let's start with what a standard really is.
The standard describes what the breed should look like, and the right quantity of specific traits as well as measurements.
Even though the cat world got several standards, they are more or less the same, with very small variations as far as I have been able to see the biggest difference is in how well they describe different traits. Some are very undetailed while others are very detailed.
Our best measurement of the Maine Coon Breed Standard is and will remain The MCO Standard in pictures, made in 2004:
I know many of you look at this and say, "No, no, no, that one is OLD, that's not what the Maine Coons look like today.
If there is not enough of a trait, the standard is not met. If there is too much of a trait, the standard is exceeded.
Both of these situations are equally bad.
Before doing anything else, please go to your association, find the standard, and READ IT! The standard has not been revised in many, many, many years,
and shall not be revised, our breed is a natural breed, not a designer breed (designer breed = man-made breed, a breed designed by us humans), and shall continue to look like it did when the standard was first written.
A natural breed shall not change!!!
Beth Hicks was the first specialized Maine Coon judge, as well as the owner of Tanstaafl and also the owner of Tanstaafl Polly Adeline of Heidi Ho, who was the mother of the clones.
Here you can read an interview with Beth Hicks:
Make sure to read and learn the standard, make sure it's your guideline throughout the years while breeding, and go back and look again and again, we are only humans and our eyes are sometimes drawn to some traits. That goes for me also, it happens that I get carried away by a more extreme trait, then I go back to the standard and remind myself, I DO breed a natural breed, I DO breed purebreds who DO have a standard to follow.
If you do not want to follow the standard, and rather breed as you like, you might as well skip breeding MCO and start producing housecats instead, then you will have no standard to follow, and no breed to destroy. Just do it to your liking, but if you DO want to breed MCO.
PLEASE I BEG you, to learn, understand and respect the breed and its standard.
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There is many standards for our breed within all the different associations, mainly all of them are the same, with just small adjustments in how they are written and how specified they are. Some are very general while others are very detailed. Our standard has not changed, though it seems like our cats have? This is not a good development if you ask me, I guess we all can remember and see what happened to the Persians.
Do we want this for our breed? I will try to create articles about the change of the breed and stuff like that but that will be in another article.
Maine Coon Standard in pictures (Original version)