Russian Blues are also known as the Archangel cats. While their silver tipping and green eyes certainly make them look like angels, the Archangel name was given to them after their point of origin--the Russian port of Arkhangelsk on the White Sea about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The cats boarded the boats with the sailors and came to other parts of Europe. The first cat shows in England in the 1880s included Russian Blues. For a while, all blue shorthaired cats competed in the same class however in 1912 the distinctive cats from Arkhangelsk with their large eyes and ears were assigned their own class called the Foreign Blue.
The war had an impact on cat breeding and on the Russian Blue cats. After the war, breeders sought to revive their lines and outcrossed to cats who resembled the Russian cats. Some English breeders chose to use the blue British Shorthair to ensure they kept the pale plush coat. Other breeders chose to use blue point Siamese to ensure they kept the elegant foreign body with its long fine legs and to preserve the distinctive head with its large ears and eyes. The Scandinavian breeders were also working with outcross cats using Siamese and a blue cat from Finland but their cats had short tight dark coats and magnificent emerald green eyes set like jewels in the triangular head.
Russian Blues came to North
America in the early 1900s however serious breeding programs began much
later. The North American breeders imported cats from both England
and Scandinavia and worked to combine the best features of each into
today's modern Russian Blue. Today's Russian Blue has emerald eyes
and a pale blue coat frosted with silver and the angelic smile that is a
distinguishing feature of the breed. Sheer elegance combined with
intelligence make this breed a winner in the show ring and in the home.