Native Country France Other Names Sacred Cat of Burma, Birman Life Expectancy No Information Available Litter Size No Information Available
Breed Appearance Birmans have semi-long, silky hair, a
semi-cobby body and relatively small ears compared to other cat
breeds and a Roman nose. In order to comply with breed standards,
the Birman's body should be of an eggshell color or golden,
depending on the intensity of the markings color. The markings can
be pure seal, chocolate, blue, red, lilac or cream. Tabby variations
are also allowed. Tortie cats can be seal, chocolate, blue or lilac.
Birmans have sapphire colored eyes. The Birman's coat is unusual due
to the white 'gloves' on each paw. They are one of the few cat
breeds in the colorpoint coat that has fingers and toes in pure
white color. The genetics of this feature may not be fully clear,
though a gene conferring the white 'gloves' has been identified.
Points of Birman are: Seal-point, Blue-point, Chocolate-point,
Lilac-point, Seal Tortie-point, Cream-point, Blue Cream point,
Chocolate Tortie point, Lilac Tortie point. The same colors in Tabby
version (Lynx): Seal Tabby point, Blue Tabby point, Chocolate Tabby
point, Lilac Tabby point, Red Tabby, Cream Tabby point, Tortie Tabby
point. Lynx or Red Factor colors on the legs, tail and face. The
same colors exist in Silver/Smoke version while not yet recognize by
all clubs. Birmans differ from conventional color-point cats by
their white paws called gloves. The coat is medium-length, not as
long and thick as a Persian's, and does not mat. A notable feature
is their blue eyes which remain blue throughout their life.
Australian breeders have been recently working on new colors like:
Cinnamon point, fawn point. The only allowed white areas are gloves.
A spot of white in another area is a fault in a Birman cat. Gloves
are symmetrical in all four feet. The white must stop at the
articulation or at the transition of toes to metacarpals; and all
fingers must be white too. The posterior gloves on the back paws
finish with an inverted V extended 1/2" to 3/4".
Breed Description Head: Large, broad, fairly round.
Slightly longer than it is wide. Fairly rounded skull. Slightly
domed forehead. Full cheeks, high, prominent cheekbones. Roman nose
of medium length with a defined or absent stop. Well-developed
muzzle. Strong, firm chin. Eyes: Large, nearly round,
well-spaced. Color: blue, as dark as possible. Neck: Medium-sized, muscular. Body: Fairly long,
fairly heavy (semi-cobby). Strong boned; powerful, firm muscles. Paw: Moderately long, strong. Heavy-boned, muscular. Round,
firm paws. Tufts of fur between the toes. Tail: Moderately long, carried erect. Plume. Coat: Silky
hair, semilong to long on the ruff, body, flanks, and tail. Short on
the face and limbs. Sparse undercoat. Coat pigmented only on the
extremities or points (mask, ears, paws, and tail), as in the
Siamese. A good contrast between the color of the points and the
rest of the body is required. White markings, or gloves, on the
paws. These absolutely pure white gloves must stop at the joint or
transition between the toes and the metacarpus, which they should
not go past. On the plantar surface of the hind paws, the gloves end
in a point (gauntlets) at 1/2 to 2/3 the distance between the large
paw pad and the hock. The darker markings can be seal point (dark
brown), chocolate point (light brown), blue point (gray-blue), lilac
point (pinkish steel gray), red point (reddish-brown), or cream
point. The rest of the coat varies from white to cream. The paw pads
are pink or pink with spots of color. Kittens are born almost
entirely white. The points and gloves do not appear until around 1-2
months. The color of the body and markings is not final until
adulthood. In addition, the coat darkens with age. Fault: White or colored markings on the chest or belly.
Disqualify: a non-gloved toe. White on the points.
History Very impressive, with dark blue eyes and white
gloves Having appeared recently in Europe, this cat's origins are
still mysterious. British travelers are thought to have brought back
a pair of cats from the so-called Lao-tsun Temple in Burma. A
certain Ms. Leotardi in southern France owned Poup�e de Madalpour, a
seal point Birman shown in Paris in 1926. This cat's parents, from
Burma, were given to Leotardi by a certain Ms. Thadde-Haddish.
Actually, the first specimens resulted from a cross between a
Siamese with white markings on the paws and a longhaired cat (Angora
or Persian) made in the 1920s in the Nice region of France. By
around 1930, a male seal point named Dieu d'Arakan was the star of
the shows. The breed nearly disappeared during World War II. After
the war, colorpoint Persian blood was added to limit inbreeding. In
1950, the breed was named Chat sacr� de Birmanie (Birman in English)
in order to avoid any confusion with "Burmese", the adjective form
of the word Burma. Introduced to the United States in 1959-1960 and
to Great Britain in 1965, where it was officially recognized, this
highly prized breed has become very popular.
Behavior Halfway between the Persian and the Siamese,
the Birman is calm, well-balanced, and neither passive nor
exuberant. He is friendly toward other cats and toward dogs. Playful
Birmans are good companions for children, but they also like peace
and quiet. Gentle, affectionate (especially males), and often
somewhat possessive, Birmans do not tolerate indifference and are
even less fond of solitude. They have a soft voice. They require
daily brushing during the shedding season. Otherwise, weekly
brushing and combing are enough.
Health As with all breeds with a small genetic base,
inbreeding can increase hereditary problems, but only rare skin and
nerve disorders are hereditary in this breed.