Tonkinese are a medium-sized short-haired
points as with
Himalayans. They are commonly referred to as 'Tonks'. As with many cat
breeds, the exact history of the Tonkinese varies to some degree depending on
Tonkinese cats are a recent cross between the
Burmese cat breeds, although some assert that Tonkinese-like cats have
existed since at least the early 1800s. Some claim that the appearance of the
breed is closer to the original appearance of the Siamese, before Siamese
breeders developed today's triangular head and very leggy body. The name is not
related to the
Tonkin region of Indochina, being a 'back formation' from the names of the
Tonkinese cats are commonly trim and muscular cats. They are usually
intelligent, curious, affectionate with people, and interested in them. Tonks
are playful cats, but not hyperactive. Some interesting toys and a cat tree, or,
better yet, another Tonkinese, will keep them occupied when you're not around.
Unlike most varieties of cat, they are reported to sometimes, or even often,
engage in fetching.
A Tonkinese Cat
They are more like Burmese in temperament than Siamese, that is, less
high-strung and demanding. Their voices are also less piercing (or raucous,
depending on taste) in most cases than the Siamese, but most Tonks do like a
good chat. Most observers feel they combine the more attractive features of both
Tonks exhibit a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. The three main
patterns are natural, mink, and point. The mink variety is most desirable for
show. The most commonly accepted colors are: lilac (platinum), champagne, blue,
and natural (brown). Typically, natural patterned cats have gold or green eyes,
cats with the point pattern are blue-eyed, and the mink cats have a shade of aquamarine.
A great deal of subtle variation exists in colors and patterns, and Tonkinese
coat colors change with age.
Breeding two Tonkinese cats does not necessarily yield a full litter of show
quality Tonkinese kittens - the colorations do not breed true to type in about
half of all otherwise purebred kittens. Those kittens that don't fit the
standards perfectly are usually sold as pets, and for less money, but they still
have that same Tonkinese charm and personality. The genetics of the coat
coloring and its interaction with eye coloring is complex and fascinating,
though perhaps not the main attraction for Tonk fans.