Persian Longhair

 25 Jul 2013 12:54     by Ed in Cat Breeds, Persian
Cat of the Month ~ July 2013

The aristocratic and intelligent Persian cat (also known as 'Persian Longhair' or Longhair) has the longest coat length of any known cat. Apart from its coat length it is distinguished by its round face and snub-node (a nose similar to a Pikinese dog). Its origin is obscure though it's name refers to the land mass of Persia, the former name of Iran, where similar cats are found. However the history of the Persian is shrouded in mystery. It is thought to have originated in Russia (where it is believed thousands of years of harsh cold winters caused the evolution of this felines thick fur coat). The puzzle though deepens when we learn that these special cats are shown in hieroglyphic symbols as early as 1684 B.C.

a doll faced silver persian cat
Doll faced silver Persian
Photograph: Under Creative Commons Licence
Longhaired cats arrived in Europe in the 16th Century and many early records referred to them as Angoras (in Britain they were known as French Cats). It took 100 years before the breed was introduced to Italy, France and England proper (it is documented that the explorer Pietro della Valle imported Persians into Italy in 1620). From this time crossbreeding with Angora cats produced silkier coats and a variety of colours for the ever more exotic Persian. The breed was given a royal seal of approval by Queen Victoria who owned two Persian Blue cats, and the Prince of Wales (who became King Edward VII) who presented special prizes for Persians at cat shows. Persians were first sent to North America in the late 1890's and were soon more popular than the native Maine Coon cat. At the first official cat show in the London Crystal Palace in 1871 mostly black blue and white Persians were exhibited. Today there are at least 30 colour varieties to choose from. The offical CFA guidelines divide the Persian breed into seven color varieties or divisions.

Persian Cat Colour Divisions *

  • 1. Solid
  • 2. Silver & Golden
  • 3. Shaded & Smoke
  • 4. Tabby
  • 5. Particolor
  • 6. Bicolor
  • 7. Himalayan


persian solid division image In the Solid Category, only the pure whites come in three different eye colors. Some have brilliant copper or deep blue eyes, others the surprising combination of one blue and one copper eye of equal intensity. The other solid colors have brilliant copper eyes. The coat color for all solids should be sound to the roots and free from markings or shadings. Blues, once the apex of the breed, have been interbred with other colors to produce a more uniform type. Their pale silver-blue coats are most beautiful when viewed in natural lighting. Blacks have glossy patent finishes that glisten with intensity. Pale milk-colored creams are the dilute of the deep vibrant glowing reds. Chocolates and lilacs, introduced through the combination of Persian and Himalayan, are rarely seen. The chocolate demonstrates a warm chocolate-brown color while the lilac is a warm lavender with a pinkish tone.

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