Pedigree Cat Breeds - Tonkinese

© Mymystic Tonkinese
The stylish Tonkinese, or Tonk to his friends, has a strong, elegant body with long slender legs and an expressive tail. Its beautiful head is a medium wedge with large, shapely ears and almond-shaped eyes in sparkling aquamarine, topaz or sapphire. It has short close-lying fur. The males are large and noble; the females are smaller and exquisitely feminine.

Tonkinese, have existed for several hundred years, often confused with cats that we now call Burmese and Siamese. The three breeds are genetically related and until the 1970s they were still similar in head and body shape.

© Mymystic Tonkinese

The Tonkinese is not a hybrid, it is not even a ‘new’ breed. Feline historians and geneticists know that today's Tonkinese is a reconstruction (from the same bloodlines) of cats brought to the West in the early 1900s. Many of the Siamese and Burmese foundation cats were actually Tonkinese, including Wong Mau - the ancestress of the Burmese breed. Early breeders of cats imported from Malaysia noticed some with greenish-blue eyes and darker bodies than the ‘Royal’ Siamese; they called these cats ‘Chocolate Siamese’. At the time the ‘Royal’ was more popular and the ‘Chocolate’ seemed to disappear.

© Mymystic Tonkinese
Now, geneticists know the Tonkinese is unique among cat breeds. Tonkinese share their coat-pattern genes with their Burmese and Siamese cousins; the Tonkinese pattern falling midway between them. When Tonkinese breed together they can produce all three variations of coat-pattern - 'solid', 'intermediate' (aka ‘mink’) and 'pointed', but the kittens are all Tonkinese! The intermediate is the definitive Tonkinese coat-pattern having rich body colour that gently merges with darker points (best seen in Brown and Blue Tonkinese), cats with this pattern have aquamarine coloured eyes. The ‘solid’ is more evenly coloured and has greenish-gold eyes. The ‘pointed’ is very pale bodied with stong points and has clear blue eyes.

Tonkinese were officially recognised in 1965 (Canada), 1972 (USA) and 1991 (UK). They are also recognised in several European countries, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Tonkinese come in a range of colours and patterns - Brown, Blue, Chocolate and Lilac (or Natural, Blue, Champagne and Platinum), plus Caramel, Red, Cream and Apricot. In addition, there are Tabbies and Tortoiseshells in all of these possible colour variations.

Tonkinese are strong, active, intelligent and spirited cats who’ll give each family member a chance to love and serve them. They'll touch you or talk to you they may even play ‘fetch’. They are easy to groom and satisfied with a well balanced diet and occasional treats. Although they love to be with people, they do need feline company and they get on well with most types of cat, but particularly with other active, intelligent cats.

Profile written by (Click to view profile): Linda Vousden, Mymystic Tonkinese

Photos & texts on this page © 2007 - 2009: Mymystic Tonkinese

*Breed standards may vary according to cat governing body

Return To Pedigree Cat Breeds Main Page