The Burmese is a breed of domestic cat split into two subgroups: the British Burmese (traditional) and the American Burmese (contemporary). The ancestry of all Burmese cats can be traced back to Thailand. The breed was recognized in America in 1936 and in the UK in 1952 by the respective cat Fancier’s Associations.
The first Burmese cats were seen only as Chocolate Siamese, because of their brown coloring and their Siamese features. Originally this breed was exclusively brown, but they are now recognized in a variety of colors which can include: Brown (UK) or Sable (US), Blue, Chocolate (UK) or Champagne (US), Lilac (UK) or Platinum (USA), Red, Cream, Brown Tortoiseshell, Chocolate Tortoiseshell, Lilac Tortoiseshell, Blue Tortoiseshell, Cinnamon, Fawn, Cinnamon Tortie, Fawn Tortie, Caramel, Caramel Tortie, and Apricot. The coat is short haired and glossy, and requires no additional grooming. The eyes of the Burmese are typically gold or yellow, but because of much breeding with the Siamese, the eyes may occasionally be blue or green.
Burmese have a fairly sturdy shape and can live longer than most pedigree cats ““ from 16 to 18 years of age. The British Burmese tends to be more Oriental with a more triangular face. The American body type is stockier and more round, and is often described as “pug-like”.
Burmese are sociable and friendly, and they are very vocal cats. This feature is similar to the Siamese, however the Burmese have softer, sweeter voices. They are rarely aggressive with humans and form strong bonds with owners. They are also very athletic.
Some American Burmese carry alleles for the “Burmese Head Fault” which is a lethal head defect, because of the gene that creates their shorter noses and rounder skulls. However, research is being done to pinpoint this gene and correct the problem.