About the Siamese Breed
Valere Hull, September, 2003

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What is a purebred Siamese?

In CFA, our Breed Council rules stipulate that a purebred Siamese cat eligible for registration in CFA must present an 8-generation pedigree that consists ONLY of registered Siamese. This means that on an 8-generation pedigree, each cat has only purebred, registered Siamese for its direct ancestors. In some other registering organizations, cats that show Colorpoint Shorthairs (tabby/lynx points, red/cream points, or tortie-points) or Oriental Shorthairs on their pedigrees are still registered as Siamese. This is called a phenotypical registry, or one where the cat is registered according to what it looks like, not according to the cats on its pedigree. In CFA, which is a pedigree-based registry, in addition to presenting a pure, 8-generation pedigree, a Siamese may only be seal point, blue point, chocolate point, or lilac point. These are the four classic colors of Siamese.

Why do CFA Siamese only come in four colors?

In addition to the above rules, for many decades, CFA has only accepted the four traditional, or classic, colors of seal point, blue point, chocolate point, and lilac point. These four colors are considered to be the only naturally occurring colors in the purebred Siamese. Patterns such as lynx or tortie, or solids such as red or cinnamon, are evidence of hybridization, and are thus not accepted. Cats exhibiting these colors are considered part of one of the hybrid breeds developed by using the Siamese initially.

What are some of these hybrid breeds?

The most common and popular hybrid breed of the Siamese is the Oriental. This breed, originally only in a shorthair version, was developed to imitate the Siamese in type and personality but to come in a myriad of colors and patterns. At the present time, there are well over 350 different color/pattern combinations possible in this breed. The longhaired version of this cat is called the Oriental Longhair and presents all the same color variations as does the Oriental Shorthair.

Another popular hybrid of the Siamese is the Colorpoint Shorthair. These cats also have the Siamese type and personality, but only come in lynx point, tortie point, and red/cream point (and in only the 4 classic Siamese colors, plus the red factor).

The Javanese is a longhaired version of the Colorpoint Shorthair, presenting the same colors and type, but it is a separate breed.

The Balinese is often mistakenly called a longhaired Siamese. It is a separate hybrid breed. It, too, imitates the Siamese type and personality, and comes only in the four classic Siamese colors.

The Tonkinese, which is a result of a cross between Siamese and Burmese, is a hybrid breed which bears little resemblance to the Siamese. It is a moderate cat midway between the two original breeds.

A truly distinguished breed

Our CFA Siamese have a long and valued history in the Cat Fancy. Ours is one of the oldest naturally occurring breeds and has historically been one of the most beloved. Our breed has contributed to the establishment of at least seven other breeds (the Ocicat and Havana Brown, while not true hybrid breeds, were developed by using Siamese, among others) and the Siamese has provided outcross support to others. This distinguished standing of the Siamese is what motivates CFA breeders to work to continue to maintain the sanctity of the breed's purity by insisting on the continuation of the 8-generation pedigree registration and being ever-vigilant in our efforts to protect our breed from the encroachment of those who don't respect or understand its contributions to the purebred cat world.

The CFA Siamese Breed Standard


HEAD (20)

6 ... Long, flat profile
5 ... Wedge, fine muzzle, size
4 ... Ears
3 ... Chin
2 ... Width between eyes

EYES (10)

10 ... Shape, size, slant, and placement

BODY (30)

12 ... Structure and size, including neck
10 ... Muscle tone
..5 ... Legs and feet
..3 ... Tail

COAT (10)

COLOR (30)

10 ... Body color
10 ... Point color (matching points of dense color, proper foot pads and nose leather)
10 ... Eye color

GENERAL: the ideal Siamese is a medium sized, svelte, refined cat with long tapering lines, very lithe but muscular. Males may be proportionately larger.

HEAD: long tapering wedge. Medium in size in good proportion to body. The total wedge starts at the nose and flares out in straight lines to the tips of the ears forming a triangle, with no break at the whiskers. No less than the width of an eye between the eyes. When the whiskers are smoothed back, the underlying bone structure is apparent. Allowance must be made for jowls in the stud cat.

SKULL: flat. In profile, a long straight line is seen from the top of the head to the tip of the nose. No bulge over eyes. No dip in nose.

EARS: strikingly large, pointed, wide at base; continuing the lines of the wedge.

EYES: almond shaped. Medium size. Neither protruding nor recessed. Slanted towards the nose in harmony with lines of wedge and ears. Uncrossed.

NOSE: long and straight. A continuation of the forehead with no break.

MUZZLE: fine, wedge-shaped.

CHIN and JAW: medium size. Tip of chin lines up with tip of nose in the same vertical plane. Neither receding nor excessively massive.

BODY: medium size. Graceful, long, and svelte. A distinctive combination of fine bones and firm muscles. Shoulders and hips continue same sleek lines of tubular body. Hips never wider than shoulders. Abdomen tight.

NECK: long and slender.

LEGS: long and slim. Hind legs higher than front. In good proportion to body.

PAWS: dainty, small, and oval. Toes: five in front and four behind.

TAIL: long, thin, tapering to a fine point.

COAT: short, fine textured, glossy. Lying close to body.

CONDITION: excellent physical condition. Eyes clear. Muscular, strong, and lithe. Neither flabby nor boney. Not fat.

COLOR: Body: even, with subtle shading when allowed. Allowance should be made for darker color in older cats as Siamese generally darken with age, but there must be definite contrast between body color and points. Points: mask, ears, legs, feet, tail dense and clearly defined. All of the same shade. Mask covers entire face including whisker pads and is connected to ears by tracings. Mask should not extend over the top of the head. No ticking or white hairs in points.

PENALIZE: improper (i.e., off-color or spotted) nose leather or paw pads. Soft or mushy body. Visible protrusion of the cartilage at the end of the sternum under normal handling.

DISQUALIFY: any evidence of illness or poor health. Weak hind legs. Mouth breathing due to nasal obstruction or poor occlusion. Emaciation. Visible kink. Eyes other than blue. White toes and/or feet. Incorrect number of toes. Malocclusion resulting in either undershot or overshot chin. Longhair.


SEAL POINT: body even pale fawn to cream, warm in tone, shading gradually into lighter color on the stomach and chest. Points deep seal brown. Nose leather and paw pads: same color as points. Eye color: deep vivid blue.

CHOCOLATE POINT: body ivory with no shading. Points milk-chocolate color, warm in tone. Nose leather and paw pads: cinnamon-pink. Eye color: deep vivid blue.

BLUE POINT: body bluish white, cold in tone, shading gradually to white on stomach and chest. Points deep blue. Nose leather and paw pads: slate colored. Eye color: deep vivid blue.

LILAC POINT: body glacial white with no shading. Points frosty grey with pinkish tone. Nose leather and paw pads: lavender-pink. Eye color: deep vivid blue.

Siamese allowable outcross breeds: none.


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