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Mike Bonnell

The Burmese originated from Thailand, and all Burmese can trace their ancestry to a cat named Wong Mau, who arrived in the United States in the 1920s.

The Burmese was accepted for CFA studbook registration in 1936, but was not accepted for championship status until 1957.

Burmese is a lively, affectionate, and even-tempered cat with a sleek, glossy coat. They are deceptively heavy due to their muscularity. They continue to be playful long into adulthood and old age.

Though the original color of the American-type Burmese is solid sable brown, other colors (not recognized in all associations) include blue, champagne, platinum, and tortie colors. American Burmese are commonly bred in two types: traditional and contemporary, the latter being a more rounded look. They are only accepted in the traditional four colors of sable, champagne, platinum, and blue.

The European (Foreign) Burmese can be found in brown, chocolate, red, cream, and tortie colors, whereas the American-type Burmese may only be bred in the traditional four colors. Seekers of this breed should go to the European Burmese breed page.

In the 1960s, British breeders expanded the colors by breeding Burmese to red point Siamese and British Shorthairs, which marked the beginning of the European or Foreign Burmese.

The European Burmese is elegant but sturdy. European Burmese can be found in brown, chocolate, red, cream, and tortie colors. It is distinguised from the (American-style) Burmese not only by the range of colors but also from a less extreme facial style.

Interesting breed fact: Burmese studbook registration in CFA was actually suspended from 1947 to 1953 to end the practice of outcrossing Burmese to Siamese. Interestingly enough, cross-breeding Siamese and Burmese is what later produced the Tonkinese breed. The ironic part about this is that Wong Mau, the mother of the Burmese breed, is now widely believed to have been a Burmese-Siamese cross herself.

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