The Ragdoll breed was developed by Ann Baker in Riverside, CA, USA with the first kittens being named as Ragdolls in 1965. A combination of Persian, Burmese and Birman cat were the basis for this new breed. The first cat registered as a Ragdoll was called Daddy Warbucks: Registration Number 66-0577-6 on December 30th 1966.
Over the years, the offspring of Ann’s Ragdoll breeding program became known for good temperament, large size, non-matting coat and striking appearance (still true today!).
At the beginning of the breed, it was of utmost importance to keep inbreeding to a minimum to expand the gene pool.
From 1965-1969, Ann appeared to build up and increase her breeding stock. The first record of Ragdolls being sold is in early 1969 when Denny and Laura Dayton bought a breeding pair of Ragdolls from Ann Baker. They named the cats Buddy and Rosie.
It is from these small beginnings by the Daytons that most of our current Ragdolls trace their ancestry. During the years 1969-1973, the Daytons tried very hard to work with Ann to help promote the Ragdoll breed however she closed her cattery only selling with contracts.
The International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) was formed in 1971 and was registered as a business in September of the same year in order to control the Ragdoll breeding standards. The FIRST written Ragdoll Breed Standard for a cat association were produced by the American Cat Fanciers Federation in 1976
The Ragdoll Society was officially formed February 1, 1975, as an organization dedicated to the enhancement of the Ragdoll breed. Denny Dayton was elected as the first President and Laura Dayton was elected as Vice-President. One of the first goals of this first Ragdoll club was to gain recognition of the three patterns (bi-colours, mitteds & colourpoints) for competition showing in the various Cat Fancy Associations.
Denny had been bitten with the show bug, “The height of excitement is when your first Ragdoll is shown.” This was the beginning of years of showing, and always trying to move forward to gain recognition and on to Championship status in all associations.
The year 1981 was the year in which the Ragdoll went International, invading England even though if captured they would suffer six months in quarantine. By 1987 they were reported as being sold in other European countries and worldwide with particular mention of Australia and Japan.
Ragdolls were recognised as a breed in Australia around 1990. There are now breeders in all states of Australia; however there are currently no registered Ragdoll clubs in Australia. In 2014 the Birman Society of Victoria changed its name to Birman, Ragdoll & Associated Breeds Club Inc. in response to the growing number of Ragdoll breeders who share their passion for cats.