Ancestry of the Persian Cat
Persians originate from the country that was once Persia, now Iran, in the Middle East. The cats were introduced into Europe by the Phoenicians and Romans in the 1500s as highly valued items of trade. The Europeans were impressed by the Persian’s long silky coat and purposefully bred the cats to perpetuate the trait. Other longhaired cats (Angora) came from Turkey and added to the breed. References to such cats dating back to 1684 B.C. were found.
The actual lineage of the Persian cat will probably never be known, but most experts agree that longhaired cats, including the Persian, are the result of a genetic mutation. The longhair variety of cat was probably the result of mating between the European Wild Cat and Palla’s Cat also known as the steppe Cat. There probably was a mutation in the coat length of the cat that was to become the ancestor of today’s Persian. For centuries, the Europeans refered to all longhair cats as Persians or Angoras. The two names were essentially interchangeable. Dr. St. John Mivart, the English naturalist in his important work of 1881. ” The Angora, or Persian cat, is remarkable for its great size and for the length and delicacy of its hair, especially the belly and throat. Most commonly its coat is of uniform white yellowish or grayish color, while the soles of its paws and its lips are often flesh-colored. Its temperament is said to be sometimes exceptionally lethargic; but this is certainly not always the case, and may be due to excessive petting for generations. The breed names, Persian and Angora, certainly support the widely-held belief that the longhaired cats which we call Persians today originated in Asia.
Traditional Doll Face Persian
The Traditional Persian looks like a soft fluff ball of fur, but beneath the voluminous coat is a muscular, sturdy, cobby body. The large, round eyes, set far apart, the tail is thick and short, in proportion to the body, and angled down, lower than the back. This is a heavily boned, medium to large breed, with short, thick legs and an overall appearance of roundness. Traditional Persians have small, rounded ears set low on the head, wide, round eyes, full cheeks and a full, well-developed chin. The Traditional Persian’s head is round and massive. However, the nose, while also snub, is placed lower on the face and only has a slight break. The up-curving mouth helps give the desired sweet expression that fancier’s prize. The Traditional Persian has a very long, flowing, dense coat that comes in a plethora of colors and numerous patterns boned, medium to large breed, with short, thick legs and an overall appearance of roundness. Adult males weigh 9 to 14 pounds; adult females weigh 7 to 11 pounds. In CFA the patterns are separated into divisions of
• Silver and Golden
• Bi Color
Sources: Thompson, Will and Wickham-Ruffle, Eric “ The Complete Persian”