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The Tonkinese is the aqua-eyes beauty of the cat fancy, a blending of Siamese and Burmese.Description:The Tonkinese is unique in the cat world, a blending of the Siamese and Burmese in type and coloring. The cat is of moderate size and type, recreating the original intern1ediate type of its parent breeds, similar to the older version of the Siamese with the rounder head and shorter, somewhat broader body.The semi-foreign body, intermediate between the long, svelte Siamese and the cobby, muscular Burmese, makes a strong muscular cat of surprising weight for its size. The chest rounds gently in front, with the flanks level. Boning is medium, neither heavy or delicate, with wel1-developed musculature. There should be no sign of flabbiness or obesity; the abdomen should be taut. The tail is of medium length. The medium-long legs should be moderately slim, hind legs slightly longer than forelegs. The feet are oval in shape.The head is a modified wedge with rounded contours, medium in size with a slight stop at or just below eye level. The muzzle should be blunt with a definite muzzle break. The head and ears should appear as an equilateral triangle. The high cheekbones are gently planed. The medium ears are pricked forward and are set as much on the side of the head as on the top, a continuation of the modified wedge. The oval, medium sized eyes do not have an oriental slant but are angled on a line with the lower part of the ear. The neck is moderately slender, but may be extremely muscular on adult - males.The medium-short coat is soft, fine and silky, close-lying with a lustrous sheen, requiring little grooming. Tonkinese are currently recognized in the black/brown based mink colors only. In some organizations, sepia and pointed colors are accepted for championship status.


An American in the early 1930s brought home a cat acquired in Burma. Named Wong Mau, this cat is believed to have been a Tonkinese, not a Burmese. Tonkinese were not registered until the 1960s in Canada; championship status was first granted by the Canadian Cat Association. The early Tonkinese were sometimes called Golden Siamese, having Siamese pointing and the golden bronze-sepia pigmentation of the Burmese. The Tonkinese belong the albino series genetic system. The breed must carry one gene for pointing and one gene for Burmese or sepia coloration to produce the mink coloration. Tonkinese-to- Tonkinese breeding may produce one pointed kitten, one with Burmese coloring and two Tonkinese. This combination allows the darker points, the slightly lighter body color, and a reduction of some of the pigmentation in the front of the eye, producing blue-green eye coloring.


The Tonkinese make healthy, beautiful, charming pets and show cats. They are quite active and love to run and jump, enjoying plenty of exercise. They are gregarious, outgoing and affectionate. The aqua eye coloring, the two-toned body with its soft, gently flowing contours, the blending of the Burmese and Siamese coloring, boning and personalities make the Tonkinese a very beautiful and endearing cat.

Information supplied by: 

Southern Alberta Cat Fanciers - Rene Copeland