here is great variation in how the Tonkinese breed appears in many countries where the breed continues to gain popularity – a quick google search for images of Tonkinese cats yields a huge and confusing variety of types that are all labelled as Tonkinese. These variations can be explained as being primarily due to differences in the parent breeds in the country of origin.

Here we will examine some of the differences between Tonkinese from around the world in order to better understand the status of the breed. I make observations and statements here that reflect my opinions and breed philosophy that I abide by. In analysing the differences between types from around the world I seek only to explain the huge variation that currently exists.



Tonkinese of the UK & Europe

The Tonkinese type developed in the UK and in the rest of Europe reflects the variations in Siamese and Burmese breeds from which they are created.

  • The European Siamese is very similar in type to that of Australian Lines, yet the European Burmese, although bred to the same standard is more divergent from the Australian, generally displaying a narrower head with a slightly longer face and a more refined body type ie; less cobby.
  • The resulting Tonkinese created from an intermediate mating is marginally more refined in body type with a slightly longer muzzle, but as minor differences is highly compatible with Australian Intermediately-bred cats.
  • UK and European programs comprise many cats with tabby and caramel patterns, not popular in Australia.
  • We imported a magnificent stud-boy Suantre Tazer of Anniesong from the UK, who has been a wonderful compliment to our program. He has brought wonderful qualities including eye-colour, lovely coat type etc, and a gorgeous temperament.
  • Cats that hail from the UK or Europe are highly compatible with an intermediate Tonkinese breed program.

Tonkinese of the USA & Canada
In my opinion the US lines are hugely divergent from what we produce here from the raw ingredients of Siamese and Burmese, resulting in a lack of compatibility with cats of this origin. I purposefully avoid these lines and have irritated other breeders that choose to go down this path by being vocal about my opinion of these cats and their lack of compatibility.

One of the reasons that Tonkinese from the US are so different relates to the Burmese influence. While in all other countries there is only one version of the Burmese breed, there are two type of Burmese currently being bred in the US ie;

'traditional' (European-like type)
'Contemporary' (Extreme rounded type)

As a generalisation the Tonkinese that hails from the USA is far closer in body-type to the Burmese we have here in Australia and as such is cobby or compact.

The headtype of the modern Tonkinese reflects the more extreme and rounded headtype as influenced by the contemporary Burmese, this is despite claims that the influence in US Tonkinese has been developed from traditional type Burmese, the headtype of the Tonkinese suggests a different story.

The USA derived Tonkinese has rounded eyes, prominent cheek bones, a receding chin, very short neck and ears that are small and placed in a more upright manner than Australian-bred intermediate Tonkinese.

In our opinion cats that derive from the USA or Canada are NOT compatible with an intermediate Tonkinese breed program.



Tonkinese of New Zealand

The parental breeds in New Zealand are similar in many ways to those from Europe and consequently a first generation Tonkinese from New Zealand also reflects a similar type to those that hail from Europe.

  • As a generalization, the New Zealand type is a little closer to what we see in an intermediately bred Tonkinese here, due possibly to the greater movement of cats between Australia and New Zealand, and therefore more similarity to our own genetics.
  • The NZ Burmese headtype is a little more refined, being longer and narrower in the muzzle than the Burmese in Australia
  • Anniesong Tonkinese has initiated a Cinnamon Tonkinese Program with the import of Angistri Blaze and Angisti Leia Joy from Jenny Lovering in New Zealand. In addition Sienna's father is from across the Tasman, so we are proud to include some lovely examples of the breed from NZ within our breed program.
  • Cats that hail from New Zealand are highly compatible with an intermediate Tonkinese breed program.

New Zealand - Tonkinese & Burmese Headtype under construction - watch this space !!!



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