Feral bobcats, Lynx rufus, inhabit most of North America, from as far south as the Florida Everglades and northern Mexico into Canada. The bobcat is somewhat larger than domestic breeds. It is a powerful animal with long legs and a muscular body, and it is noted for its short tail. While the Alpine Lynx is a completely domestic cat, it is bred to resemble the bobcat. Through generations of selective breeding with different breeds f domestic cats, the breed group (Desert Lynx, Highland Lynx, Mohave Bob, and Alpine Lynx) has incorporated many characteristics similar to those of the bobcat. These cats are medium in length with longer hind legs, and toes may be tufted. They are very alert, intelligent cats. Males are larger than females and slower to mature. These cats come in both long and short hair.
The head is large but not round, with a full, well-developed muzzle that is almost square in appearance, with prominent whisker pads. The curled ears are smaller than in the Desert Lynx and set wide apart, usually with feathering and tufts on the tip. Ears curl backwards at the tips. The degree of the curl may be slight or extreme, with the tip of the ear actually curling back and touching the back side of the ear. The gene which causes the ear to curl actually hardens the cartilage in the ear dwarfs the ear size. The gene for curled ears is a dominant gene.
The wide set eyes are large and expressive, set at an angle, with colors coming in blue, green, gold, and odd-eyed with one blue eye and one green or gold eye.
The tail may come half way to the ground, or it may be lacking entirely, as in the Manx, or it may be any length in between. Alpine Lynx come in one coat color--white. Early in the development of the breed, the white color came by introducing white cats from what was believed to be an undocumented mating between a domestic female and a large feral white cat which appeared to be a bobcat.
These cats were crossed into existing Desert Lynx and Highland Lynx lines. Early breedings suggested that this white gene was a dominant gene, manifesting itself the same as the white gene found in other domestic cats. As the breed continues to evolve, white cats that would otherwise be registered as Desert Lynx, Highland Lynx, or Mohave Bob may be registered as Alpine Lynx.
Outcrosses to either unregistered or purebred cats are no longer permitted except to Desert Lynx, Highland Lynx, or Mohave Bobs listed in the stud book or foundation book of REFR or another registry.
Alpine Lynx, Highland Lynx, Desert Lynx, and Mohave Bobs are part of the Desert Lynx breed group in the Rare & Exotic Feline Registry. In other words, Mohave Bobs, Highland Lynx, Desert Lynx, and Alpine Lynx may be bred together, with offspring registered as follows:
All white kittens (including straight and curled coats and straight or curled ears) are
registered as Alpine Lynx.
All non-white kittens with curled coats are registered as Mohave Bobs.
All non-white kittens with straight coats and straight ears are registered as Desert
All non-white kittens with straight coats and curled ears are registered as Highland
The curled ears of the Highland Lynx are caused by a dominant gene which both curls the ears and somewhat reduces the size of the ears. When these breeds are bred together, the straight-eared kittens resulting from the breeding do not carry any genes for curled ears.
Non-white kittens do not carry the gene for white color. Therefore, breeders wishing to work with Desert Lynx only would not have to worry about getting curled-eared recessive genes in Desert Lynx who have Highland Lynx in their ancestry. Breeders not wishing to work with the Alpine Lynx would not have to worry about white kittens as long as neither parent is an Alpine Lynx.
The curled coat is caused by a dominant gene. Breederes not wishing to work with Mohave Bobs do not have to worry about this as long as neither of the parents have curled coats.
These breeds are identical in body type.
*There are several breeds of cats whose origins are speculated to be intertwined with the bobcat. The most common ones are the Pixie Bob and those breeds in the Desert Lynx breed group (Desert Lynx, Highland Lynx, Mohave Bob, and Alpine Lynx). It is important to note that DNA testing on these cats has failed to show positve results for the presence of bobcat DNA. There is no evidence of feral ancestry in these cats.