Often mistaken for a long-haired Siamese because its colour patterns are similar, the Himalayan is nonetheless of Longhair Persian type and in Britain is considered a variation of Longhair/Persian. It’s the product of a purposeful crossbreeding of Siamese, Birman and Persian that first bore fruit in the mid-1930s. It has the stocky, solid body and the dense, silky coat of the Persian, but the point markings of the Siamese. Its American name is borrowed from the Himalayan rabbit of the same colouration.
Debutante, who was the first Himalayan Persian, was born in 1935 at Harvard Medical School. Pedigree breeding began in 1950, but most cautious breeders waited until 1957 before showing the cats in San Diego, California.
There are seven varieties recognized as Himalayan in the United States: Blue-Point, with grey-blue points (tail, feet, legs, ears, mask: Chocolate=Point, with milk chocolate brown points: Seal-Point with sel-brown points: Flame-Point, with orange-red points: Lilac Point, with pink-grey points; Blue-Cream-Point, with creamy blue or whit points and Tortoiseshell=Point, with cream and red patching on the points. Other varieties appear in Britain and all have the sapphire-blue eyes of their Siamese ancestors.
At birth, the distinctive point markings are barely visible on the white kitten. They are established at six months but take the first 18 months of the cat’s life to reach their full mature standing.
The Himalayan is a cat filled with character, at once inquisitive and enterprising but also exceptionally devoted to its owner. It often manifests doglike traits in learning and patience and tags along about the house with the owner. Playful but gentle, it is quite forgiving of slights against itself. This cat is a good mouser and enjoys a bit of open space occasionally, but it is well adapted for an indoor existence.
The Persian characteristic is dominate in most physical aspects of the Himalayan, apart from its colouring. The fur is silky, thick and dense, with an abundant ruff, A solid, coby-type body stands squarely on short, thick legs, ending in round and large paws. The head is round and broad, with fully developed cheeks, a short nose and large roud eyes. It rests on a short, thick neck. The tail is short and bushy ending in a plume. The ears are small, rounded and tufted.
Regular brushing with a soft-bristle brush is needed to maintain the Persian coat and to prevent matting.
Standard faults are poor bone structure, crossed eyes nonblue eyes, short hair, a triangular shape to the head and nonstandard markings.
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