This is one of the most controversial subjects in the Ragdoll community - Can Ragdolls Be Black? While we know that Ragdolls can certainly be black, whether or not they are "legitimate" still remains highly debatable. Black Ragdoll cats can exhibit all the breed-specific features, such as the large size, the silky coat texture, and unique personality, but they do not have the traditional Ragdoll points (mask, legs, ears, blue eyes, and tails). Black Ragdolls are also referred to as solid Ragdolls, precisely due to the absence of the points on their coats. As a disambiguation, solid Ragdolls, meaning Ragdoll cats of a single color, are not only black. There are also solid Ragdolls that are of other colors specific to the breed, such as white, blue, or lilac. Moreover, there are black Ragdolls that are bi-colored. The most frequent combination of colors is black and white. While these do exhibit some points, the full array of Ragdoll-specific points is not present.
Why Are Black Ragdolls Controversial?
The controversy lies in the acceptance of black and other solid Ragdolls for official competitions. While more and more breeders are beginning to include solid Ragdolls, showing them in competitions is still not fully supported. According to the International Cat Association (TICA), non-pointed Ragdolls may only be shown as household pets in competitions. At the moment, they do not have official participation rights. You might be tempted to think that black Ragdolls are not yet accepted because they are new. But, in fact, they have been around since the beginnings of the Ragdoll breed in the 1960s. Even to this day, solid Ragdolls can be sold as breeders. This is the main reason why there are plenty of official Ragdoll breeders who have black or other solid Ragdolls. The Ragdoll Historical Society has more information on their website about the beginnings of the breed.
Black Ragdolls as Breeders
Black (non-pointed/solid) Ragdolls have a very interesting feature when it comes to breeding - they can give birth to both pointed and non-pointed kittens in the same litter. Considering that solid Ragdolls do have the gene for the traditional points, even if they do not present the points themselves, breeding a solid with a traditional Ragdoll cat can, and most likely will lead to both pointed and non-pointed Ragdoll kittens. Furthermore, even by breeding two solid non-pointed Ragdolls, there is a high chance that some of the kittens in the litter will be pointed. While this could lead to an even wider diversity in Ragdoll cats worldwide, the perception of the cat associations still requires some bending. There is progress on the matter and black Ragdolls are getting more and more attention, but there still is a long way to go for these black beauties. So, can Ragdolls be black? Yes, they most certainly can, but whether or not you can show them is another issue entirely. With a black Ragdoll, you get the purebred experience in a very different color. If you are looking for a pet Ragdoll, then getting a black one will certainly give you everything you might wish to find in a Ragdoll cat. However, if you are interested in showing your cat in competitions, then getting a black Ragdoll could still be problematic because they are still considered to be controversial. At the end of the day for me, it's about health, nutrition, socializing and environment when adopting from a breeder. A breeder that respects their cat's health, nutrition, socialization and environment will have the best cats. Of course, don't forget the only way to ensure you have a Ragdoll is through certified papers or through a DNA test.
To see how controversial this topic is, you can see where it went on our Facebook page when I requested photos of Black Ragdoll cats to include in this post (and thank you to those that sent them in for me to post =) ).