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A cream coloured cat with light red shading, big whiskers and green eyes looking in to the distance


What are Asians?

There are Five types in the Asian Group - 

  • Self, which includes the Bombay (Black Self) plus the 16 other recognised self and tortie* colours. Self means the colour is the same from the tip to the roots of their coat (see Artey)

  • Asian Smoke - This means they look one colour on the top but another when you turn their coat back (see Weeyin, Brodie, and Stream)

  • Asian Shaded, called Burmilla - This means they are one colour on the tips of their coat and another towards the root - you can see both colours (see Boop & Bubs)

  • Asian Tabby, which includes Ticked, Mackerel, Spotted and Classic tabby patterns (see Vizzie, Zori, Ninja)

  • Tiffanie, the semi-longhaired version (see Zori, Stream, Artey, Ori & Kula). A Tiffanie will also be one of the 4 things above - for example, Zori is a Red Silver Ticked Tabby Tiffanie

*Tortie (or tortoiseshell) is when a cat also has the red gene which can show through to a lesser or greater extent. It usually leads to "patches" of colour over the coat. All of our girls are tortie.

Where did they come from?  

The Asian is a UK breed and came from an accidental mating between a Lilac Burmese queen and a Chinchilla Persian boy, the resulting litter of four kittens was born in 1981.  These kittens were so attractive, the breeder decided to begin work to develop a new breed, and to work towards eventual GCCF recognition. The early breeders decided that this new breed should look just like the Burmese breed, but with a range of new colours, patterns and with two hair-lengths: shorthair and semi-longhair.  Hence why they are affectionately known as “Burmese in fancy pyjamas”.

The breed was named “Asian” and by 2003 all five varieties had reached GCCF Championship Status.  


What do they look like?

Short haired Asians have fine and glossy coats, Tiffanies have a fine silky semi-longhaired coat. They are medium sized (ours are around 4-5kg), lithe and athletic, but muscular and heavy for their size (hence another affectionate term “Bricks wrapped in silk”). 

The Standard of Points (the GCCF guide to what cats of a certain breed should look like says they should have -

  • a broad rounded chest, slender elegant legs and neat oval paws

  • a medium thick tail which tapers evenly to the tip

  • a head that forms a short wide blunt wedge with a slightly rounded top

  • medium to medium large ears spaced well apart

  • eyes that are large and lustrous, with colour ranging from pale green through shades of green and yellow chartreuse to golden yellow and amber

The Cat’s Pyjamas

Asians come in a wide range of colours: Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Cinnamon, Fawn, Caramel, the tortie versions of all these colours, and Red, Cream and Apricot.Silver and non-silver versions are recognised in all colours and patterns. There are 2 types of colour gene, “full expression” (FEx) means the colours are strong and deep, “Burmese Colour Restriction” (BCR) means the colours are more muted. 

This sounds complicated, but it helps to think of Boop and Artey. They are both Lilac, but Boop is a Burmilla BCR (so her colour is muted and only on the tips of her coat), and Artey is FEx Lilac Self (so his colour is strong and the same all over and down to the roots).

What are they like?    

The best way to understand what an Asian is like is to read the stories on this site. But, as a breed, they do share a particular set of characteristics. They are lively, outgoing and energetic. They love to play, are very affectionate and want to be part of all aspects of family life.  Intelligent and inquisitive, they can be very curious and determined with a love of investigating new things. Generally speaking they will live happily with other cats, but they can be wilful and sometimes issues occur if they want to be top-cat in the pecking order. They co-exist most successfully with breeds of a similar disposition, i.e. confident, lively and outgoing (see the Friends & Family section for a couple of successful housemate stories).  They are not particularly noisy, but are talkative and chatty and like to get involved in conversations.  

They are “people cats”, loving, charming and entertaining they make a good family pet and associate well with dogs and children providing they are properly introduced.  At the same time, their gentleness appeals to elderly people looking for a loyal and devoted companion. 

How do I look after them?    

What Asians need most from their humans is love and attention. They need to play, interact, and get fuss in the same way a dog does (with the added bonus of no miserable walks in the rain!). 

Short haired Asians need minimal grooming - it’s good to run a brush over them once a week though to help them out. It’s also good for bonding and an opportunity for you to give your cat a quick check over. If you do this regularly, you’ll be able to spot any changes quickly. A Tiffanie may need more attention, but it depends on how full their coats are. 

Asians are not outdoor cats*, so their claws will need to be trimmed every couple of weeks. There’s lots of good YouTube videos that tell you how to do this, or you can ask your breeder or vet to show you.

*Asians do like enclosed outdoor space if you are able to provide it but it isn’t essential - see our blog “This is not an outdoor cat”.

Males usually weigh around 5 – 7 kg, females weigh around 3.5 – 5.5 kg. 

Life expectancy average is about 16-18 years.  


See the GCCF section on Asians for up to date information on Breed health

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