According to the breed standard, the Pixiebob is a purely domestic breed who resembles the bobcat but has a loving, tractable nature. The medium to large, well-muscled body is heavily boned, substantial, and has great depth, with a broad, well-developed chest. The prominent shoulder blades produce a rolling gait. The back has a dip behind the shoulders and a slight upward slope toward the hips. The hips are medium width, prominent, and slightly higher than the shoulders. The flanks are deep and powerful, and both males and females have a belly pouch.
The legs are long, with heavy boning and musculature. The feet must appear sound and are large, long, and wide—almost round, with big knuckles and fleshy toes. Polydactyly is allowed, with seven toes maximum per paw. The legs and wrists must be straight when viewed from the front. All toes must point forward and rest on the floor. Adult males weigh from 12 to 18 pounds; adult females weigh from 8 to 15 pounds. There are no allowable outcrosses.
The ideal tail should be articulated, but kinks and curls are accepted. Minimum length is two inches, while the maximum is the length of the hock when the hind leg is fully extended. The tail is carried low when relaxed. The tails are not consistent, however; they range from extremely short to ordinary length. Pixiebobs with docked tails cannot be shown for championship.
The unique medium-to-large head is an inverted wide pear shape. The muzzle is broad, with a definite break and fleshy whisker pads. The area of the nose, muzzle, and chin is described as a soft-sided diamond from the chin to the bridge of the nose and is considered important to the Pixiebob look. The nose is wide and slightly convex, with large nose leather nose leather. The medium-tall ears are wide and deep at the base and are set on the side as much as on top of the head, with a slight outward tilt. They are rounded at the tips, with lynx tips being preferred. The deep-set medium-sized eyes should be one eye-width apart and heavily hooded with bushy brows, which give the appearance that the cat is half asleep or has partially closed eyes. A band of cream or white surrounds the eye, with mascara lines mascara lines from the corner of the eyes downward to the cheeks. Eye colors are gold to brown; gooseberry green is acceptable but not preferred.
The Pixiebob comes in both longhair and shorthair varieties. The coat of the shorthair is soft, wooly, resilient to the touch, and stands up off the body. The belly hair is dense and longer than the rest of the coat. The coat of the longhair is less than two inches long. It is semi-dense with belly hair longer than the rest of the coat. It is soft and lies closer to the body than the shorthair’s coat. For both longhair and shorthair types, the facial hair is full and brushy in appearance with a downward growth pattern and heavy fur above the eyes. Both coat types are weather-resistant. Light to medium shades of brown spotted tabby with warm, reddish tones are preferred; muted broken mackerel spotting is accepted. Small spots with or without rosettes are muted by the heavy ticking. The broken mackerel tabby pattern is allowed, but random spotting is preferred. The belly is spotted. Pattern is secondary to correct type.
Many conflicting stories exist about the origin of this breed. The most commonly told tale is that the Pixiebob traces its roots to American bobcat and random-bred domestic cat hybrids, frequently called Legend Cats™ because the bobcat-domestic cat matings apparently were not documented or proven. No hard scientific evidence exists that the Pixiebob has wildcat blood. While domestic cats have been known to mate with small, closely related felids (the Bengal was created that way), a new hybrid developing on its own in the wild is less likely because first- and second-generation males from such matings are almost always sterile. Felids also generally stick to their own species unless they are closely related or have limited mating opportunities. The Bengal, for example, was created when a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat were put in the same cage. Other fanciers believe it’s more likely the breed is a domestic with a tail mutation that causes it to be bobbed, although that doesn’t explain the size of the original foundation cats.
Whatever the truth is, fancier Carol Ann Brewer is credited with the creation of the Pixiebob breed. In 1985, Brewer acquired a short-tailed spotted polydactyl male kitten from a couple who lived in the foothills of the Cascades in Washington State. According to the owners, the kitten was the product of a bobcat/domestic cat mating. Early the next year Brewer rescued a very large short-tailed stray cat with a feral appearance, who she named Keba. Keba was so large, his back was level with Brewer’s knees. Brewer was fascinated by the distinctive look of these cats and the legend behind them. Keba mated with a neighbor's domestic cat, which had a litter in the spring of 1986. Brewer adopted one of the kittens, a bobtailed spotted female that she named Pixie. Pixie became the foundation female of the breed. Brewer was so taken with Pixie she named her new breed after her. She wrote a breed standard and developed a breeding program for these distinctive cats, and began recruiting new breeders to her cause. In 1993, she applied to TICA for recognition of the breed.
When Pixiebob fanciers began seeking association acceptance for the breed, they realized how difficult it would be to register a wildcat hybrid (CFA doesn’t accept any breeds with wildcat blood, not even the popular Bengal). In 1994 the Pixiebob was accepted for exhibition status by TICA as a purely domestic breed; DNA testing for wild bobcat markers revealed that the cats tested possessed none. On the other hand, some genetic researchers report DNA analysis is not an effective way to evaluate wild blood hybrid combinations, particularly when the cat is several generations away from the cross. The stated goal of the Pixiebob breeding program, according to the TICA breed standard, is to create a domestic cat with a visual similarity to the North American Bobcat. TICA granted NBC status in 1996, and championship in 1998. In 2006, CCA accepted the Pixiebob into its show halls. However, some associations were not convinced, given that the early breed literature and websites claimed that Pixiebobs are descendants of “Legend Cats,” bobcats interbred with domestics. In 2005, Pixiebob breeders applied for CFA acceptance under the miscellaneous class; CFA rejected the application “due to evidence of wild blood.” The breed has not gained recognition with that association and possibly never will. The breed has done well in other associations, however; to date it has been accepted for championship in five of the eight North American cat associations: ACA, ACFA, CCA, TICA, and UFO.