The Highlander breed first began development in 2005 with its roots tracing back to the Highland Lynx. An east coast breeder developed the Highland Lynx in 1995 and although the name that included “lynx”, these domestic cats were not of any lynx or bobcat ancestry. They were actually developed by crossing two breeds, the Desert Lynx and Jungle Curl. Desert Lynx are believed to be derived from such breeds as Maine Coon and American Bobtail while the Jungle Curls are derived from such breeds as the Hemingway Curl, Bengal and American Curl. Highland Lynx immediately attracted interest and a devoted following rapidly developed due to their unique looks, size, and playful, clown-like personalities.
In late 2005 the name Highlander was adoptedto further identify these cats as a breed of their own merit and to be registered as a Preliminary New Breed with The International Cat Association (TICA). Breeders worked diligently to educate the public to bring about an awareness of how special these cats are, both in personality and looks. Foundation cats have been carefully handpicked for the qualities important to the development of producing the Highlander’s “big cat look“, with domestic short hair and domestic long hair being allowed as permissible outcrosses when needed.
Highlander breeding programs continue to selectively breed to protect and enhance the unique distinctive look of the breed, as well as to enhance the bloodlines to keep them genetically different and pure from other breeds. Although their look is one of power and fierceness, Highlanders are fun-loving, good-natured cats that constantly entertain their humans with zany antics. They enjoy being the center of attention.