In the 1960s, a regular non-pedigreed white domestic long-haired cat named Josephine, who had produced several litters of typical cats, was injured in an accident involving a car and taken to the veterinary hospital at the University of California. Josephine was of a Persian/Angora type and had litters sired by several unknown male Birman or Burmese-like cats, one of which had the Siamese point coloration.
After Josephine recovered, her next litter produced kittens with a docile, placid temperament, affectionate nature, and a tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up. When a subsequent litter produced more of the same, Baker purchased several kittens from the owner who lived behind her, and believing she had something special, set out to create what is now known as the Ragdoll. The breed was selectively bred over many years for desirable traits, such as large size, gentle demeanor, and a tendency to go limp when picked up, as well as the striking pointed coloration.
Out of those early litters came Blackie, an all black Burmese-like male and Daddy Warbucks, a seal point with white feet. Daddy Warbucks sired the founding bi-color female Fugianna, and Blackie sired Buckwheat, a dark brown/black Burmese-like female. Both Fugianna and Buckwheat were daughters of Josephine. All Ragdolls are descended from Baker's cats through matings of Daddy Warbucks to Fugianna and Buckwheat.
Ann Baker, in an unusual move, spurned traditional cat-breeding associations, and trademarked the name Ragdoll, set up her own registry in 1971, and enforced stringent standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name. Ragdolls were also not allowed to be registered in other breed associations.
Since the spread of the Ragdoll breed in America during the early 1960s, a breeding pair of Ragdolls was exported to the United Kingdom (UK). This was followed by eight more cats to fully establish the breed in the UK, where it is recognized by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.