I was lucky enough to get to talk on the phone with one Sue Sweetman the other day. She is one of the foundation breeders of the Highlander breed of cats. She gave me some sound advice concerning the process of moving up from Experimental Breed Status with TICA to the Preliminary New Breed Status. While I am not ready for such a step, anyone who has played games like Shogi, Go, or Chess know that its best to read steps ahead and know what your opponent might play before maybe they even do.
The main concern Sue had for me is that while the coat of the Helki may be unique, I have not really boasted about other features of the breed that make them unique from your local barn cat. Sue of course did this in a kind and respectful manner while also schooling me in again an appropriate way.
During our discussion I realized the Helki do have another fantastic physical trait that I don't often talk about. The Helki have long tails. My ideal male OberonRa aka Keebler's tail measures out to 13 inches long. His is the longest tail of my males and I have stressed often, he is one of the males that meet the physical conformation of the breed the best. His winter coat is nice, but not as plush as I would like, but when I look at this male I know he is what I want to see in my breed.
So then I started thinking, well what is the average length of tale on the Helki. So I measured the tales and found that most of them have a length of around 11 inches regardless of size or sex. Which actually surprised me. I thought for sure the smaller cats and the females would have porportionally smaller tales. There are only a few tales that are 10in or less and only some making it to 1ft of tail length. Then I decided to measure the tail length of my domestics and found that 9 inches was about the longest. Medium long to long tails were already in my standard so this in not a concern, but I may need to make a point in other venues to point out the gorgeously long leopard like tails.
I do possibly have a coat pattern/color that is unique to the Helki but I want to confirm this before I make any official announcements. As for it being a unique breed if the final card up my sleeve pans out, then the final package will be difficult to deny.