Burmese

 

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Burmese lilac
Tsunami Cheesecake
Owner: Gisela Jansen, ChitPaDe cattery, Germany
 
Burmese come in different colours:
  • brown (sable brown)
  • blue
  • chocolate
  • lilac
  • red, cream
  • tortieshell: seal tortie, blue tortie, chocolate tortie, lilac tortie

Remarks

  • In some organizations only the four basic colours are recognized, as for example in ACFA, CCA, CFA.
  • The names for the colours might differ from organization to organization:
    brown is sometimes called sable-brown,
    for chocolate you will find champagne, and for lilac you will find platinum.
  • Burmese are mostly not recognized in silver or with tabby pattern. See Asian.
  • Also the standard differs from organization to organization, while in some like ACF, FIFe a foreign look is required (upper eyelid almost straight, and only the lower eyelid rounded), in CCA, CFA the eyes shall be round and have a sweet expression.
Burmese brown
Tessa vom Silvan
Breeder: Silvia Röll-Becker, cattery vom Silvan, Friedewald, Germany
 

What are American Burmese?

 

As you have seen, there are American and European (English, Foreign: means the same) Burmese.

American Burmese have a shorter head, when viewed in profile, a very prominent break at the base of the nose. In particular, the eyes are different, they are large and round and give a sweet expression to the face.
American Burmese are mostly recognized in the 4 basic colours, brown, blue, chocolate and lilac.

European Burmese have a longer head. The eyes lend the face a foreign expression.
There are also red/cream and all tortie colours recognized.

 

Literature

You will find a detailed history, with many pictures, at:
The Burmese Cat Club (GCCF), founded in 1955.

Eurocatfancy

Standard AACE
Standard ACF
Standard ACFA
Standard CCA
You will find here: Burmese (American type) and European Burmese (European type)
Standard CCCA
You will find here American Burmese and Burmese(European type)
Standard CFA
Standard CFF
see menu Forms
You will find here Burmese (American type) and Foreign Burmese (European type)
Standard FIFe
Standard GCCF
(You must buy the booklet.)
Standard LOOF
You will find here: Burmese Americain and Burmese Européen
Standard NZCF
Standard SACC
Standard TICA
Standard WCF
 
Show breeders
 
Enter cattery into breeders list

Breed profile

The Burmese is medium in size, extremely well and hard muscled, and displays a foreign impression.

The head has the shape of a wedge, viewed in profile it is relatively short, viewed from the front the cat has noticeable high and prominent cheekbones. The muzzle is well defined with broad jaws. The nose is not too long and shows a definite break between the eyes.
The ears are medium in size, set in the outer corners of the head on a well rounded skull.
The eyes give the cat that distinctive foreign look.

The body is medium, very compact and rather heavy. The muscles are strong and hard. The chest is broad which gives them the appearance of being bowlegged. The legs are medium long and elegant with small oval paws.
The tail almost does not taper and ends in a rounded tip.

The coat is very short, is tight lying on the body, sleek and shining like satin. The hairs are very thin and fine with almost no undercoat.

 

History

It is said that Burmese have been known for centuries living in Burma, Thailand and Malaysia in the temples, and have been imported together with the Siamese. The Cat Book of Poems about 1350, preserved in the University of Bangkok Art Department Museum shows a little brown cat with golden eyes.

Smut Khoi
The second cat Wilat (Beauty) and
third cat Thong Daeng (Copper) - Burmese or Tonkinese

From:
Smud Khoi of Cats (also written as Smut Khoi), a copy of this script, which was written and painted between 1868-1910 by a monk, called Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Buddhasarmahathera, on the request of King Rama V (Phra Chula Chomklao Chaoyuhua, born Sept. 20, 1853, died Oct. 23, 1910, he reigned from Oct. 1, 1868 - 1910). 1)

Today they can be found in their natural state in some temples.
Burmese were called the temple guards because of their distinctive eyebrows. They appeared in England in the late 18th century, known as chocolate Siamese, but they were never favored and gradually the breed died out in England and in Europe.
Wong Mau The first Burmese was brought 1930 to the US and given to Dr. Joseph G. Thompson, who lived in San Francisco. He was a retired ship's doctor of the US Navy, with a great interest in the East. Dr. Thompson named her Wong Mau, and he considered her a new variety of Malayan-typed cat. She was a hybrid - a Burmese-Siamese mix (can be considered as ancestor of the Tonkinese).
Picture with courtesy of:
Purebred Burmese Cats Alliance

Dr. Thompson joined with two prominent breeders, Virginia Cobb (Newton cattery) and Billie Gerst (Gerstdale cattery) and Dr. Clyde E. Keeler. Those four breeders established an experimental breeding program. Since Siamese were considered the closest in appearance, they were used in the breeding program. After two generations, this program resulted in kittens with three distinct colorations: some looked like Siamese, some looked like Wong Mau (with medium brown body color and darker points) and some had a solid dark-chocolate brown color. The later were bred and a breeding program was established to focus on the genetic makeup of the phenotype.
Discovering that these dark brown cats could consistently produce dark brown cats, while the medium-brown variety, such as Wong Mau herself, continued to produce kittens in the three variations of coloration, the theory that Wong Mau was the first Tonkinese was proved. The results of the original experimental breeding program were published in the Journal of Heredity, April 1943,  "Genetics of the Burmese Cat", by the breeders cited above.
The Burmese was registered in CFA in 1936. Registration was suspended by CFA from 1947 until 1953, because of those outcrosses to Siamese. In 1957 the breed was recognized by CFA for championship.
In 1952 the Burmese was recognized by GCCF.

 

Temperament

Playful, energetic, acrobatic and highly intelligent, the Burmese cat is the extrovert in the cat world. Burmese never grow up! They play all of their life. They love people and do know very well the needs of their owners. They will sit on your lap and watch TV with you, plaster themselves next to your head when you are trying to sleep or will insist on climbing under the covers. Once you have known a Burmese you have a lifelong passion for the breed.

 

Grooming

The Burmese’s sleek, glossy coat requires little care. Brushing them once a week will keep their coat shiny.

 
 
1) Pictures with courtesy by Henk Keers, Siau Tsj'oe cattery, Netherlands
after a manuscript owned by Debbie Howard
 

 
 
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