Country of origin:
Iranian plateau ("Persia")
Breed standards: CFA
The Himalayan, also called colorpoint Persian and colloquially referred to as Himmy, is a breed of cat with extremely long, fluffy fur, and the blue eyes and the points of a Siamese. Himalayan is the American term, while in Europe they are referred to as colorpoint Persians.
They were bred from Siamese (for the markings) and Persians (for coat-length and temperament), and share the characteristics of both breeds. Himalayans are now considered the same breed for cat registries (CFA), (TICA) as the modern Persian show cat since they have the exact same conformation with a pointed coat.
The body of a Himalayan is white or cream, but the points come in many different colors: blue, brown, lilac, chocolate, flame, red and cream. The points can also be tabby or tortoiseshell-patterned. Both the chocolate and lilac point Himalayan are the most difficult to produce. These color traits are autosomal recessive, meaning both parents must possess the gene in order for any offspring to express the trait.
These cats are sweet-tempered, intelligent and generally very social and good companions. Because of their heritage from the Siamese cats they tend to be more active than Persians. They are more prone to hairballs than other breeds. Due to the amount of inbreeding involved in breeding these cats commercially, they are prone to genetic deformities and have a greater likelihood for developing inherited problems such as joint problems, organ abnormalities, and particularly Polycystic kidney disease among other diseases.
Like many long-haired cats, Himalayans need to be brushed daily to keep their coats looking their best and healthiest. In addition, they may need their face wiped daily, depending on the cat. Bathing a Himalayan is also recommended by some breeders, to help reduce the amount of oil on the cat's fur and skin.
Himilayans display a
marked split in their facial features, as some (the "Peeked"
or "Ultra-Face" variety) are incredibly Persian-like with a
squashed "frowning" mouth, no break in the nose, and squinting
eyes (see the Cream point cat at lower right) and yet some (the more
traditional "Doll-Face" variety) have very large, round eyes,
and display an almost Burmese or Tonkinese pointedness about their
muzzle, with a definite break in the nose (see the Seal Point at upper
right). This is due to the prominence of either Siamese or Persian genes
which the cat was bred from, and both styles are considered equally
"Himalayan", though the "Peeked" version is
considered a recent development (1970's to 1980's).