The bases of these related breeds lies in the Far East. Siamese where already known there in the 14th century, in the land of Siam, these days known as Thailand. At the end of the 19th century they were exported to Europe. The imported cats were all seal point, later on they turned out to spontaneously produce other colors as well. These were the now well-known blue, chocolate and lilac point. These are what we now call the "classic" colors. All colors originated later on, come from outcrosses with other breeds in de 50's and 60's till now.
In the same period every now and then longhair kittens were born in Siamese litters. Maybe one day longhairs were bred in, although that is not to be traced anymore these days. Some people claim the longhair was a spontaneous mutation, which is very well possible. The original name of this charming breed was Longhair Siamese, later this was changed into Balinese, named after the gracious female dancers of the Indonesian island Bali.
In the 50's also the solid colored cats of the Siamese type became very popular. These were bred out of Siamese and other shorthair breeds. The chocolate colored Havana was the first Oriental Shorthair. Later numerous colors were added. It was inevitable that somebody came to the idea of breeding a longhaired version of the Oriental Shorthair. To accomplish this the Balinese was used for the longhair factor. The Oriental Longhair is probably the cat with the most names, all referring to the same cat.
In The Netherlands they are called Mandarin with the independent cat clubs, the FIFe calls them Oriental Longhair and in England the same cats are called Angora. Worldwide they are usually referred to as Oriental Longhair. These differences occurred because this breed originated in different places at the same time.
We prefer the name Oriental Longhair as it leaves no doubt as to what is referred to.
All four varieties are the very picture of grace and elegance. The tubular body is long, svelt and muscular. They stand on high, slender legs and have a long, thin whip tail. The head is wedge-shaped, the eyes almond shaped and slanted. These cats have a long, straight profile and a firm chin. They exist in various colors, amongst others also silver and bicolor.
These breeds have a very extravagant personality. They are often referred to as "the dog among cats" because of their affectionate behaviour. They are also very vocal and comment everything you do. Because of their social attitude, it is necessary to give them enough attention. If you don't, or neglect them, they become unhappy and will often start behaving badly. Therefore, they really need enough toys and a cat playmate to keep them busy. Usually they are also very good with dogs and children. You need to give them all the attention they crave for and leaving them alone for too long is definitely not an option they prefer. They are very playful till a high age and can race through your house like lunatics to rest on your lap one minute later.
All four breeds will return the love and attention you give them tripled!
Care & Maintenance
The coat of these cats is very silky and fine in texture, and should lie smoothly and close to the body. They have no undercoat and every now and then combing with a fine comb or a soft brush is enough. Even the longhairs don't require much maintenance.
What is a Variant?
A Variant is a shorthaired cat with a factor for longhair. It is the result of a cross breeding between a shorthair and a longhair within the same Oriental breed group. (for example Siamese x Oriental Longhair) For the simple reason that the shorthairs are often better typed, these are bred back to the longhairs to improve type. The Variants from this crossbreed are therefore very valuable to the Balinese and Oriental Longhair breeders. They get a genuine pedigree and can be showed as normal shorthairs...
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Added: Sunday, August 29, 2004
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