Colour: Dark Brown
Often mistakenly referred to as a 'Long-haired Burmese', this recent American breed has a different origin from the British cat called the Tiffanie (see above), and should not be confused with it. Attempts to avoid this confusion have led some authorities to re-name the Tiffany as the Chantilly.
Domestic Breed. Often mistakenly referred to as a 'Long-haired Burmese', this recent American breed has a different origin from the British cat called the Tiffanie (see above), and should not be confused with it. Attempts to avoid this confusion have led some authorities to re-name the Tiffany as the Chantilly.
Appearance: A medium-sized cat with golden eyes and a rich, lustrous brown coat which is long and silky. There is a pronounced neck ruff and a plumed tail.
History: The genetic origin of the American breed known as the Tiffany is something of a mystery. The founding cats were a pair of golden-eyed, chocolate coloured, long-haired cats of unknown background. They were bought from an estate sale by American breeder Jennie Robinson of New York in 1967. The male, Thomas, was a little over a year old and the female, Shirley, was only about six months old.
It is probable that they had the same parents, but they were clearly not litter-mates. Two years later, in May 1969, they produced their first litter. To the breeder's surprise, all six kittens had identical, rich chocolate-brown coats, and this prompted further breeding. In the early 1970s the cats from this programme were registered with the ACA under the name of Foreign Longhairs.
Several breeders guessed that these must be Long-haired Burmese, or that at the very least they must have had elements of Burmese in their ancestry. Close examination of the finer details of their coat-colouring and their paw-pads (which were pink instead of brown) revealed that: 'none arose from nor were bred to Burmese'.
The history of the breed then took a misleading turn. Some of the Robinson kittens were bought by a Florida breeder, Sigyn Lund, who was well-known for her Burmese stock.
She became the new champion of the Foreign Longhairs and it was she who devised the new name of Tiffany for them. They were given this name after a Los Angeles theatre and it was meant to suggest a classy elegance - much more appropriate than the colourless title of Foreign Longhair. Unfortunately, not knowing of their mysterious New York beginnings, many people naturally assumed that these delightful animals must be long-haired versions of the Lund Burmese stock. And so the myth of the 'Longhair Burmese' began.
Book after book repeated the error that the American Tiffany Cat was a Longhair Burmese. As recently as 1995, one stated bluntly: 'Tiffany - This new breed, the result of crossing a Burmese with a Persian, was developed in the United States.' Another describes it as resulting from 'a cross between a Burmese and a self longhair'.
Yet another comments: 'In the United States the Tiffany was developed from long-coated cats which appeared in litters of normal Burmese.'.
Like a game of Chinese Whispers, the error was repeated and repeated until it became firmly entrenched. Only one recent book, the diminutive Letts Pocket Guide to Cats, by David Burn and Chris Bell, avoided this mistake. They correctly state: 'Documentation of the true origins of the US Tiffany seem to have been lost...Burmese brown is the most common Tiffany (US) colour but the gene that gives rise to it is independent of the
Burmese type and there is now doubt as to whether the American breed of this name has any Burmese (breed) ancestry at all.' Quite so. As stated at the outset, the origin of this breed must remain a mystery, a mystery that began with two unidentified brown cats at a New York estate sale.
To confuse matters further, in the 1980s British breeders working on variations of the new Burmilla breed accidentally created a long-haired brown cat that really did have some Burmese blood in its veins (see previous entry) . At first it was known as the Asian Longhair, but then, when it was wrongly assumed that the American Tiffany was also a long-haired Burmese, the British breeders decided to call their animals by the same name. By a lucky chance this was not possible because in Britain the word 'Tiffany' was already registered as a breeder's prefix and was therefore unavailable as the title of a new breed of cat. Wishing to keep the UK/USA link alive, it was then decided to call the British long-haired cats by the name of 'Tiffanie'.
Needless to say, this only added further confusion, with many authors talking about the 'American Tiffanie' and others referring to the 'British Tiffany', neither of which existed.
As if this were not enough, to make matters worse, a third plot had been quietly unfolding, this time in Canada. This story had a beginning as mysterious as the New York estate sale. In 1973, a pregnant, golden-eyed, long-haired, chocolate brown cat walked unannounced into the home of a Canadian land-owner and promptly presented him with a litter of identically coloured kittens.
Canadian breeders eventually acquired some of the offspring of these cats and began to develop them. By the late 1980s, in co-operation with their American counterparts, they had managed to boost the fortunes of the Tiffany breed, which at one point had been in danger of disappearing. In the meantime, however, word had spread across the Atlantic about the British Tiffanie and, in order to avoid further confusion, it was decided to give the North American breed a new name.
The one chosen was 'Chantilly'. However, in the world of pedigree cats, matters are never than simple. Some cat associations accepted the new name, others retained the original 'Tiffany' and still others went for a safe compromise with the clumsy title of 'Chantilly/Tiffany.' And that is how the situation stands at the present time.
Personality: Terms used to describe this breed include: loyal, affectionate, gentle, sociable, devoted, outgoing, inquisitive, friendly. The voice includes sounds described as 'quiet chirps or trills'.
Colour forms: Traditionally, the self-coloured Tiffany coat is a rich, dark brown colour, but already there are a number of dilutions and variations of this, including blue, cinnamon, lilac and fawn, in both solid and tabby patterns.
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