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  • Debbie Sprenger

The influence of the Clones

SGC Heidi Ho Aurora of MtKittery
SGC Heidi Ho Aurora of MtKittery

Within the Maine Coon breed we talk about the clones or the clones percentage. But what is meant by this exactly?

When talking about the clones, we are talking about the 17 descendants of Tanstaafl Polly Adeline or Heidi Ho (Polly) and Heidi Ho Sonkey Bill (Sonkey) born between 1979 and 1982. The reason that they were given the name "clones" is because the kittens looked exactly the same. Just as if they were copies of each other, painted with a different color. These comments were also made when the breeder presented her first litter at a show. Because of this the label "the clones" has remained. Both parents got champion titles added to their names and their first growing kittens did very well on show also. This made the clones in the early 1980's very popular. The similar look of the kittens was very desirable at the time, because the predictability of future good showresults made them very attractive for other breeders. Sonkey and Polly together had 7 litters. From these litters, 17 kittens were used into breedingprograms. Below you can see a screenshot from PawPeds of the clones. The first colums shows that many of them have indeed obtained their showtitles.

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TGC Heidi Ho Richard III of Charmalot
TGC Heidi Ho Richard III of Charmalot

The 17 clones themselves also got offspring; a total of 226 kittens and 1,459 grandchildren. Not all of these (grand) children were used into breeding, but a lot were. You understand that with this enormous high breeding production in combination with their popularity, it results into a major impact on the Maine Coon of today, about 40 years later.

Many of these 17 clone brothers and sisters can still be found in the pedigree of the Maine Coon of today. Nowadays a Maine Coon has a clones percentage of 35% on average. This means that 35% of the pedigree of this cat consists of the clones from 40 years ago. Sometimes the clones can be found more than 70 times in the family tree.




Sonkey - the father of the clones