Tonkinese - Shorthaired Cats

Oriental in name, but American by design. The Tonkinese is the result of crossing Siamese and Burmese, and is said to combine the best qualities of each.

“Tonks” were developed on a small scale in North America during the 1930s. These early Hybrids, known as “Golden Siamese”, were largely ignored, and it was not until the late 1960s, when the breed made its debut as the Tonkinese”, that they started attracting their fair share of attention. Full recognition in the US came by the 1980s, but this has still to happen in Australia.

Ultra-affectionate, the Tonkinese is one of the most people-oriented of Shorthair breeds.

Only five varieties of Tonkinese are recognized in the US (see chart), but in Britain the one association that accepts the breed had introduced a new standard that allows for all recognized Burmese colors.

Varieties CoatMarkings
Natural MinkWarm brownDark chocolate
Blue MinkBluish-greySlate-blue
Honey MinkRuddy brownChocolate
Champagne MinkWarm beigePale brown
Platinum MinkSoft silver Pewter-grey

Red-point Tonkinese
A new, and uniquely British variety, the Red-point corresponds in color to the Red Burmese, but with Siamese-type points of a darker shade.

Picture: Red-point Tonkinese

Medium in size, lithe and muscular; mid in type between a svelte Siamese and the more compact Burmese.
- Medium-long neck

The fur should be medium-short, soft, and close-lying like mink, with a natural sheen. Color should be solid, shading to a slightly lighter tone on the underparts, with points that are clearly defined although less distinct than a Siamese.

Long in proportion to the body, and tapered.

Long, slim, and elegant. Hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs.

The paws are dainty, and more oval than round. The color of the pads should harmonize with that of the coat.
- Pink paw pads.

A modified wedge shape, with a square muzzle and a long nose, the color of the nose pad should harmonize with that of the coat.
- Pink nose pad.

Medium in size, almond-shaped and set wide apart. Color should be blue-green.

Medium in size, broad at the base, with oval tips.

Facial Characteristics
Red-point Tonkinese.

All Tonkinese, not just the Red-point, have inquisitive, outgoing personality.

Picture: Red-point Tonkinese

Not all British associations recognize the Tonkinese because it does not breed true (only fifty percent of the kittens produced from like-to-like matings will be Tonkinese); but the subtly-toned Red-point will surely be an ambassador for wider acceptance.

Natural Mink Tonkinese
“Mink” refers not only to the soft coloring of the coat, but also to the texture of the fur. The Natural Mink is considered by many to be the breed “prototype”.

Picture: Natural Mink Tonkinese

Picture: Platinum Mink Tonkinese

Platinum Mink Tonkinese
A glorious example of the breed. The coat usually takes up to sixteen months to develop fully, and some breeders believe that the sheen of the coat continues to deepen and improve thereafter. Others are of the opinion that the best time to show a Tonkinese is at two years of age.