Section 5 – BURMESE – Group 2
The Asian Group of cats consists of five varieties: Self, which includes the Bombay (Black Self) plus the 16 other recognised self and tortie colours; Asian Smoke; Asian Shaded, called Burmilla; Asian Tabby, which includes Ticked, Mackerel, Spotted and Classic tabby patterns; and the semi-longhaired version which is called the Tiffanie.
The Asian breed originated in the UK from a mis-mating between a Lilac Burmese queen and a Chinchilla Persian boy, the resulting litter of four kittens was born in 1981. These very attractive kittens led to a decision to begin work to develop a new breed, and to work towards eventual GCCF recognition. Early breeders decided that the desired phenotype should be exactly the same as that of the Burmese progenitor, but with a range of new colours, patterns and with two hair-lengths: shorthair and semi-longhair. The breed was named “Asian” and by 2003 all five varieties had reached GCCF Championship Status.
Exactly similar to the Burmese in type, all cats in this group have a short, fine and glossy coat, except for the Tiffanie, which has a fine silky semi-longhaired coat. The Asian is a slender, athletic cat of medium size, heavy for their size they are muscular and lithe with a broad rounded chest, slender elegant legs and neat oval paws. Tail is of medium thickness and tapers evenly to the tip. The head forms a short wide blunt wedge with a slightly rounded top, medium to medium large ears are spaced well apart. The eyes are large and lustrous, colour may range from pale green through shades of green and yellow chartreuse to golden yellow and amber. Asians come in a wide range of colours: Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Cinnamon, Fawn, Caramel, the tortie versions of all these colours, and Red, Cream and Apricot, in both full expression and Burmese Colour Restriction. Silver and non-silver versions are recognised in all colours and patterns.
The Asian is a lively outgoing cat – lithe and energetic, they enjoy play, are very affectionate and want to be part of all aspects of their owner’s life. Intelligent and inquisitive, they can be very curious and determined with a love of investigating new things. Generally speaking they will live contentedly with other cats, but can be wilful and sometimes issues occur if they want to be top-cat in the pecking order. They co-exist most successfully with breeds of a similar disposition, i.e. confident, lively and outgoing. They are not particularly noisy, but are talkative and chatty and will readily answer their owner when spoken to. The Asian is a “people cat”, loving, charming and entertaining they make a good family pet and associate well with dogs and children providing they are properly introduced. At the same time their gentleness appeals to elderly people looking for a loyal and devoted companion.
The Asian is an extremely sociable cat and owners should note that these cats need an owner who will pay attention and who will interact with him or her. The Tiffanie with the silky medium length coat, will require a little more attention than its shorter haired ‘breed group’ mates! Weekly grooming with a brush is recommended for the short-haired breeds. Males usually weigh around 5 – 7 kg (11 – 15 lbs), females weigh less with a breed average weight of 3.5 – 5.5 kg (8 – 12 lbs). Life expectancy average is about 16-18 years.
It is important that families looking for a companion animal understand that whilst we have identified a few health issues in certain breeds, we are fortunate that the combination of simple effective DNA tests and responsible breeders are helping to make sure that GCCF registered kittens are as healthy as possible. Whilst PKD and PRA have been identified in the Asian’s ancestral breeds, so far only evidence of Hypokalaemia has arisen in the Asian, a reliable DNA test exists for this inherited disease and responsible breeders will only breed from tested parents.
The Asian Cat Association has set up a register for breeders of Asians & Burmese cats that have been tested for hypokalaemia and with effect from 1st January 2018 mandatory testing will be introduced for all Asians registered with active status and intended to be used for breeding.