Breed Focus: The Persian cat

The Persian is a very contented and beautiful breed. In the first cat show in 1871 the main exhibits were Persian and Angora cats, both longhairs with the Persians being the bigger and stronger variety, with a dense harsh coat. The Angoras had longer noses and ears and a flowing silky coat. The Modern Persian is a fusion of the two although with a flat nose but flowing silky coat. This is due to the breeding with long haired cats from India and Russia.

persian cat

The Persian should be a solid, large well balanced cat, with a large head in proportion to its body, which should be short and cobby with a broad chest, short sturdy legs, large paws, and a short full tail. The cats coat should be long and flowing. Detractors will say that the flat face looks as though it ran into the back of a bus. Unfortunately with some breeding the cats nose can become blocked and appear between the eyes and this is a serious defect as the cat has difficulty breathing. There are many good breeders in South Africa due to the fact that this is a popular cat on the show bench.  They are the famous chocolate box cats and one cannot disagree that a well groomed Persian is absolutely beautiful to behold.


Most Persians are very laid back with excellent temperament. This is possibly due to the fact they need constant grooming to prevent their fur knotting and so they are used to being handled. They love the attention grooming takes and make excellent lap cats. On the whole they do not gallop about the house as much as Siamese or the more agile breeds do, but they have their moments playing with toys, especially the tinsel wands. The Persian is a very contented and beautiful breed.


Types, Colors & Patterns

There are five coat colour and patterns recognised and also the Chinchilla Persian and its offshoot the Golden Persian. The five recognised colours and patterns are – self, patterned, patched, silver, and pointed.

  • Chinchilla Persian – perhaps the most captivating with its white undercoat and black tipping on its back, flank, head, ears and tail giving it a sparkling silver effect.
  • Golden Persian – instead of the white undercoat it has an apricot undercoat, sometimes deepening to gold, and with the tipping appearance of flowing gold.
  • Self (only one colour) including – white, black, blue, red, cream, lilac, chocolate.
  • Patterned or tabby Persians – comes in all the above colours but has three distinct patterns; classic, mackerel, and spotted.
  • Patched – which means it has a colour plus white, for example black and white, red and white and the calico (red, black and white).
  • Silver – there are three degrees of silver –  shell, shaded and smoke. (Chinchillas can be put in this category).
  • Pointed – these are Colour-points (known as Himalayans in the rest of the World). It has colour on its face (mask), ears, legs, feet and tail.

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