Originally called the Giant Aphrodite, the breed was founded on the island of Cyprus. The breed is slow-maturing and doesn't reach full development until the ages of 3-4 years. Males are larger than females they can range anywhere between 22-24 lbs.   

     In 2004 the French archaeologist Professor Jean Guillain discovered a burial site in the Neolithic or late stone age village of Shillourokambos (6 km east of Limassol in southern Cyprus). The most significant find was the grave of a young person of indeterminate sex who had been buried with a large cat. As the cat's remains were found to be buried with the person, the available evidence determined the first recorded history of a domestic cat. The remains were found to be 9,500 years old and predate by some 4,000 years the initial discovery of cat domesticity in Egypt. http://www.thegreatcat.org/tag/shillourokambos/

     Documents in Kikkos Monastery Archives - In 328.A.D St Helena visited the Island of Cyprus to find it almost totally deserted of its inhabitants. This was the result of a drought that had lasted for 36 years. She found the Island to be swarming with snakes. On her return to Constantinople, she arranged for an entire shipload of cats from Egypt and Palestine to be sent to the Island to devour the poisonous snakes. The descendants of these cats are to be found today cared for by the nuns of the monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats on the outskirts of Limassol.

     The Cyprus Cats National Breeds Association’s breeding program started in 2006 following the observations of feral cats that were living in the area. It was clear that they did not conform to any recognized established breed. A trial breeding program was set up to establish if the cats bred true to type. The results were astounding and the rest is now history.

     Walter and Teresa Litherland are pioneers in the Aphrodite Breeding Program.  Their work and the results of that work have started very successful breeding programs in Europe, Asia, and the USA. All the cats that were chosen for the breeding program were selected by phenotype. Swab samples were sent to Professor Leslie Lyons at Davis University, California for Genetic testing. The test results showed that the minimum genetic makeup of the cats used in the breeding program was not less than 90.2% Cyprus. The purest cat used in the Program showed the genetics to be 98.6% Cyprus. The DNA results for the Cyprus Cat clearly demonstrate the purity of the breed brought about by 9,500 years or 18,000 generations of development by a cat breed in a captive environment with little influence from external migration.