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Unlike many modern cat breeds, the Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed. During and following World War II, due to a lack of numbers of Russian Blues, some cross breeding with the Siamese breed was introduced. The Siamese traits have now been largely bred out.

Although they have been used on a limited basis to create other breeds (such as the Havana Brown) or add type to a breed in creation (the Nebelung), Russian Blues themselves are shorthaired, blue cats.

Russian Blues should not be confused with 'British Blues' (which are not a distinct breed but rather a British Shorthair with a blue coat), nor the Chartreux or Korat which are two other naturally occurring breeds. During the early 1970s, Dick & Mavis Jones, Russian Blue breeders in Australia, mated a domestic white cat with a Russian Blue with the intent to create a solid white Russian Blue. By the late 1970s, the Russian White and Russian Black colors were accepted by cat fanciers in Australia as true Russian cats.