Pedigree Cat Breeds - Asian Shorthair


© Vervain Asians, Burmese,
Ocicats and LaPerms
The Asian breed includes five varieties, all of which are identical in type and conformation to European Burmese, the only difference being that they are found in many colours and patterns not currently recognised in European Burmese; there is also a Semi-Longhair variety. These five varieties are: Burmilla (Asian Shaded), Asian Smoke, Asian Tabby (in Ticked, Spotted, Mackerel and Classic patterns), Asian Self (including the Bombay), and Tiffanie (Semi-Longhair). The breed was originally developed in the UK, via two different routes, both of which involved unintentional matings of Burmese to other breeds, beginning as long ago as the 1960s. Firstly, Burmese mated to black and tabby non-pedigree cats resulted in the development of solid (Self) black cats of Burmese type, similar to the Bombay breed already established in the USA.
 




© Vervain Asians, Burmese,
Ocicats and LaPerms
Secondly, an accidental mating in 1981 between a lilac Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian produced four shorthaired shaded silver kittens, one of which became the foundation queen for the breeding programme to develop the Burmilla, Smoke, Tabbies and Tiffanie, although Self (solid coloured) cats were also produced from this background.

All five varieties are now classified within the "Asian Group" by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the UK. All 5 varieties have Championship status with GCCF, having been granted initial preliminary recognition in 1991.





© Vervain Asians, Burmese,
Ocicats and LaPerms
Occasionally, Burmese lookalike kittens appear in Asian litters – these are registered on GCCF’s reference register as Asian variants and cannot be shown, but can be used in Asian breeding programmes (never in Burmese programmes). In practice they are most often sold as pets. Another female from the original litter became the foundation queen for the FIFe Burmilla, which is recognised as a breed in its own right, but only in silver tipped and shaded varieties. Asians, or Burmillas, are recognised by various other registries around the world, and standards vary slightly.

Asians appear at around 12th place on GCCF’s list of breeds registered (some indication of the popularity of the breed) with approximately 550 kittens registered in 2005, making them more numerous than breeds such as Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Tonkinese, Abyssinian and Russian Blue. Many Burmese breeders also breed Asians, which is hardly surprising given that they are of the same type and can be interbred. Overall, the Asian breed is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, partly due to many outstanding successes on the show bench, but not least as the result of an affectionate, intelligent nature inherited from the Burmese, making the Asian an ideal family pet.

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Photos & texts on this page © 2007: Vervain Asians, Burmese, Ocicats and LaPerms

*Breed standards may vary according to cat governing body

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