In the 1930s a psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Thompson brought a female cat from Burma into the USA called Wong Man and started to breed Burmese. Burmese are small and compact and their coats have a unique gloss that makes them shine like polished wood. The most characteristic feature of the Burmese is their amazing coats which are short, fine, sleek and glossy, lying close to the body, and satin-like in feel and texture. Their coats are easy to care for, a simple pat is often enough to groom it. Occasionally, Burmese kittens are born with long hair. They are extremely affectionate and very bright. A Burmese cat is a wonderful companion and makes an excellent pet. They adapt well in large, noisy households becoming part of the family. They are an intelligent breed with a boisterous, lively and alert nature. They are also individual, playful, fun loving, and even tempered. Burmese thrive on company, both adult, children and other pets alike. Often dubbed the "dog of the cat world", Burmese are extremely people-oriented. Their personalities are almost dog-like in a tendency to shadow their owners and in a desire to give and receive affection. They are interested in everything their humans do, and will often help with all the tasks. Most enthusiasts say that the most outstanding feature of the Burmese cat is its affectionate nature. They love warm laps and caressing hands and enjoy cuddling up in bed, either under the covers or on top of their favourite person. They will gradually perform many dog like activities in play, from fetching small balls to walking on a leash, shaking hands, rolling over for a tummy rub or giving kisses. They can turn the most anti-cat person into an enthusiast. You can be guaranteed a loving welcome when you share your life with a Burmese.
After many years of dedicated breeding in the USA, the first Burmese (two females and one male) were brought to the United Kingdom in 1949. More Burmese cats arrived later, and the breed became firmly established, becoming much sought after. The ideal Burmese is a small to medium sized cat with a muscular frame. They are not as long and slender as the Siamese, nor as heavily boned as the British Shorthair. Their paws are neat and oval shaped with slender legs and neck, which give the Burmese a distinctive elegant look. The tail is medium in length, with a slight taper to a rounded tip.
The Burmese is named after Burma, where they have been traced back to the 15th century around Buddhist temples. There are many varieties which differ on each side of the Atlantic. The American Burmese has more rounder features than the British standard, i.e. its body, head and eyes. Sable (a rich, dark brown) is the most popular colour. Other colours include Blue (steely grey), Champagne (a honey beige) and the beautiful, but rare Platinum (silver with fawn or grey). The Traditional Burmese is a normal-looking cat, while the Extreme Burmese (also called Contemporary) has a round head with large round bulging eyes.