Desert Lynx and Highland Lynx are essentially the same cats with different ears. The Rare & Exotic Feline Registry considers the two breeds to be of the same breed group. This means that a Highland Lynx may be bred to a Desert Lynx. The kittens with straight ears may be registered as Desert Lynx while the kittens with curled ears may be registered as Highland Lynx.
The curled ears of the Highland Lynx are caused by a dominate gene which both curls the ears and somewhat reduces the size of the ears. When the two breeds are bred together, the straight-eared kittens resulting form the breeding do not carry genes for curled ears. Therefore, breeders wishing to work with the Desert Lynx only would not have to worry about getting curled eared recessive genes in the Desert Lynx who have Highland Lynx in their ancestry.
Highland Lynx is the only cat breed specifically developed from two existing breeds. Timberline Cattery pioneered the development of the Highland Lynx by crossing Desert Lynx cats with Jungle Curls. The very first Highland Lynx litter was born on July 1, 1995 at Timberline Cattery. The primary foundation breed for Highland Lynx is the Desert Lynx. Outcrosses to the Jungle Curls are made specifically to add the unique curled ears to the cats. Essentially, Highland Lynx are Desert Lynx which happen to have curled ears rather than the straight ears of the Desert Lynx The polydactyl gene (which produces extra toes) is a dominant gene which is considered a desirable trait in these cats. Some cats are polydactyl while others are not. When two polydactyl cats are bred together, some of the kittens will be polydactyl and some will have regular feet. Cats with regular feet will never throw polydactyl kittens. They have the same life expectancy as any domestic cat. Many people say they are more dog-like in their personalities. They are highly intelligent. Many people have easily taught their cats to fetch, walk on a leash, etc. They get along very well with other breeds of cats. They do not intimidate smaller breeds. They adjust easily into households with other cats. They do adjust well into households with other animals. They get along well with dogs and they have adjusted well into households with ferretts, birds, rabbits, and assorted reptiles. They also get along well with children. These cats require the same veterinary care as any other domestic cat. They receive the same innoculations as other felines, although we do recommend using killed vaccines. In addition they require the same anesthesia during neutering or spaying as any domestic cat. They do not require specialized diets. They thrive on high quality cat chow such as Iams or Hills Science Diet. Dietary supplements or vitamins used with any other domestic cat may also be used with these cats. About half of all unaltered male cats (regardless of the breed) will spray to mark their territory. Therefore, we recommend neutering male kittens at around six month of age to prevent spraying. After a male cat has started spraying, neutering does not guarantee that this behavior will stop. While these cats can be declawed, we do not feel it is necessary to do so. We trim claws once a week and find that this is sufficient. Desert Lynx and Highland Lynx cats are strong, muscular cats with domestic cats, creating a very unique breed of cat. 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 ears are large and set wide apart, usually with feathering and tufts on the tip. The wide set eyes are large and expressive, set at an angle, with colors ranging from gold to green, with blue eyes in the snows. 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. Do not expect Desert Lynx to just sit around your house all day. They are active cats, abut they are not curtain climbers, as are some of the more active domestic breeds. They are usually not very vocal. Desert Lynx and Highland Lynx officially come in three coat patterns in all eumelanistic colors--ebony, blue, sorrel, fawn, chocolate, and lilac--including silvers, sepias, minks, and snows. The coat patterns are tawny (ticked), leopard (spotted), and clouded leopard. However, it is not uncommon for them to occur in red and cream colors. The leopard pattern is a spotted tabby pattern. It is marked by spots of the darker color, most prominent on the sides of the body and the belly. The spots may vary in size and shape, but should be evenly distributed. Preference is given to rosette spots which are formed by a part-circle of spots around a distinctly lighter center. Contrast with ground color may not be as distinct as in some spotted breeds . A dorsal stripe runs the length of the body to the tip of the tail. The stripe is ideally composed of spots. The markings on the face and forehead are typical tabby markings, with the underside of the body having distinct spots. Legs and tail are barred. In the sepia, mink, and snow subdivisions, it is desirable for ghost leopard spots to appear on the bodies. The tawny pattern is a ticked tabby pattern marked by ticking on the body hair with various shades of the marking color and ground color, with the outer tipping being the darkest and the undercoat being the ground color. The body may exhibit a barely perceptible spotted pattern. The tail, legs, and face will have tabby pencilings. Necklace tracings will are also frequently seen. The clouded leopard pattern, while derived from modifications to the classic tabby gene, is different from the classic tabby pattern, with as little bull's eye similarities possible. The pattern gives the impression of marble, preferably with a horizontal flow. Vertical stripes are undesirable. Contrast should be good, with distinct shapes and sharp edges. The belly must be spotted. Desert Lynx and Highland Lynx are registered with the Rare & Exotic Feline Registry , P.O. Box 543, Walnut Cove, NC 27052. Information on this page courtsey of Joe Childers.