Burmese - Shorthaired Cats

Unlike the Balinese, the Burmese can claim a connection with the country after which it is named. Known as “Rajahs”, brown cats similar to today’s Burmese were recorded as dwelling in Buddhist temples in Burma as far back as the fifteenth century.

The modern breed was founded by “Wong Mau”, a cat imported into the US from Burma in 1930 who was crossed with Siamese tom. There may have been subsequent imports of cats from Burma, but certainly by 1936, the cats were breeding true enough to be granted recognition in the US. However, the large amount of Siamese blood that had been introduced caused the original type to be overwhelmed and the registration was temporarily dissolved during the 1940s. Despite their Siamese contest, they were given British recognition in 1952. A year later, with the American breed once more conforming to type, it was again recognized in the US.

The breed is famous for its affectionate, intelligent personality: these cats love people.

Not only do the number of Burmese varieties differ on each side of the Atlantic, but also the American and British standard. The American Burmese has a rounder body, head, eyes, and feet than the British cat. (For British varieties see Chart).

Varieties CoatMarkings
BrownSable-brownLighter shading on underside
BlueSilver-greySilver sheen
RedPale tangerineEars are darker than back
CreamRich creamNone
Brown TortieBrownRed patches
Chocolate TortieChocolateRed patches
Lilac Tortie Pinkish-grey Cream patches
Blue Tortie Grey-blue Cream patches

Blue Tortoiseshell Burmese
Tortie Burmese are produced by mating Reds and Creams with Browns, Blues, Chocolates and Lilacs, and are bred primarily to preserve the breed type, rather than for the coat colour. However, to meet the standard, this variety should have clearly defined patches of blue and cream without any barring.

Profile: Blue Tortoiseshell Burmese

Medium in size; more muscular and rounded than a Siamese.

The fur is gloriously glossy, short, with a satin finish.

Medium in length, straight and tapering only very close to the rounded tip.

Long and slim. Hind legs are slightly shorter than forelegs.

- The paws are small and oval with pads that should conform to the colour of the coat.
- Pink-and-blue paw pads.

A medium wedge-shape, with a shortish nose. The colour of the nose pad should conform to that of the coat.
- Pink-and-blue nose pad with distinct nose break.
- High cheek-bones.

Lower lids are rounder than upped lids, giving a slanted appearance. The colour should be yellow to gold.

Medium in size, slightly rounded at the tips and set well apart. Ears tilt forward slightly.

Facial Characteristics
Blue Tortoiseshell Burmese.

Picture: Lilac Burmese

Lilac Burmese
A popular British variety whose colour ranges from Bluish-lilac to creamy fawn.

Picture: Red Burmese

Red Burmese
A relative newcomer to the British scene.

Picture: Brown Burmese

Brown Burmese
The original and, to some, the ideal.

American Brown Burmese
A breed history that diverged during the mid- to late 1940s has produced two distinct types of Burmese: the British cat is more Oriental, the American Burmese is more sturdy and cobby.