The European Burmese and the Burmese we know in North America originated from the same source – Wong Mau, the first Burmese introduced to the western world by Dr. Thompson in 1930. As Wong Mau was the only example of her type she had to be mated to another breed of similar type. The obvious choice then was the Siamese. Resulting litters revealed that Wong Mau herself carried a pointed gene as kittens in her litters were both solid and pointed in color.
The solids were selected for further propagation of the breed. From the United States the breed spread east to the United Kingdom where the same lack of breeding stock led again to the introduction of Siamese. From then on the breed followed different courses of development until today we have two very different looking cats with two different standards both sharing a common ancestry.
The most obvious difference is the array of colors displayed by the European Burmese - ten to be exact. Introduction of the red gene is responsible for the additional colors. This gene was introduced both deliberately and by accident. In the U.K. Siamese come in many colors including red points, so the introduction of this gene to the existing four colors (brown, chocolate, blue and lilac) produced the colors red, cream, brown-tortie, chocolatetortie, blue-tortie and lilac-tortie.
There is also a difference in type between the two Burmese breeds. The European Burmese is an elegant, moderate cat with gently rounded contours, whereas the Burmese has a compact, well-rounded appearance. The eye shape differs between the two breeds. The European Burmese should have eyes with a top line that is slightly curved with a slant towards the nose. The lower line should be rounded. The Burmese eyes should have a rounded aperture. The temperament of the two Burmese breeds is essentially the same.
The European Burmese is an elegant but not a fragile cat. It is of sweet disposition, medium size, solid boning, excellent musculature and expressive eyes. Because the European Burmese are highly intelligent, affectionate and extremely loyal, they make outstanding pets. They like the companionship of another animal, being dog or cat; however, if circumstances make it impossible they will live quite happily as the sole pet. They love people and make wonderful companions.
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