The history of this breed is full of mystery and legends. It is often believed that the ancestors of the Chartreux came from the mountainous areas between Turkey and Iran and that they were transported to France around 1100 BC by either merchants or Knights Templars. However, these are just some legends, whilst the first official reference to Chartreux can be dated to the XVIII century, in the book titled “Histoire Naturelle” written by Comte de Buffon. From then on, the Chartreux started being distinguished from other blue breeds. In the 1920s, the two Leger sisters decided to start breeding them, and by the end of the 1930s the modern Chartreux cats became recognisable with the definition of the standards.
However, in the following years, the breeders were not meticulous in their selection processes, which endangered the species and their characteristics. Further, the International Feline Federation (FIFE) decided to integrate the Chartreux breed under the British breed, effectively threatening its existence.
In 1977, however, thanks to Jean Simonnet’s effort, the Chartreux breed reacquired its identity. FIFE decided to separate the two breeds and asked other international European and American federations to similarly recognise them as separate breeds. Since then, the Chartreux has reacquired its popularity and is now one of the most appreciated cat breeds in the world.