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Siamese (and Traditional Siamese or Applehead Siamese) History history

The breed was first seen outside their Asian home in 1884, when the British Counsul-General in Bangkok, Mr. Owen Gould, brought a pair of the cats back to Britain for his sister, Mrs. Veley (who went on to be co-founder of the Siamese Cat Club in 1901). The cats were shown at the Crystal Palace in 1885, and the following year another pair (with kittens) were imported by a Mrs. Vyvyan and her sister. Compared to the British Shorthair and Persian cats that were familiar to most Britons, these Siamese imports were somewhat longer and less "cobby" in body, had heads that were less round and larger ears. These differences and the pointed coat pattern which had not been seen before by Westerners, produced a strong impression--one early viewer described them as "an unnatural nightmare of a cat"! But these striking cats also won some devoted fans and over the next several years fanciers imported a small number of cats, which together these formed the base breeding pool for the entire breed in Britain. It is believed that most Siamese today are descended from about eleven of these original imports.

The original Siamese imports were medium-sized, rather long-bodied, muscular, graceful cats with moderately wedge-shaped heads and ears that were comparatively large but in proportion to the size of the head. The cats ranged from rather substantial to rather slender but were not extreme in either way.

In the 1950s - 1960s, many breeders and cat show judges began to favor the more slender look and as a result of generations of selective breeding, created increasingly long, fine-boned, extremely "Oriental" cats; eventually the modern show Siamese was bred to be extremely elongated, with thin, tubular bodies, long, slender legs, a whip-thin tail and long, narrow, wedge- or triangular-shaped heads topped by extremely large ears. The major cat organizations altered their official breed standards to favor this newer streamlined type of Siamese, and the minority of breeders who stayed with the original style found that their cats were no longer competitive in the show ring. By the mid-1980s, cats of the original style had disappeared from cat shows, but a few breeders continued to breed and register them, resulting in two types of purebred Siamese the modern show Siamese, and the "traditional," or "Apple Head" Siamese, both descended from the same distant ancestors, but with few or no recent ancestors in common. In the late 1980s, breeders and fans of the older style of Siamese, concerned that the old lines were threatened with extinction, organized to preserve them, to educate the public about the breed's history and to provide information on where people could buy kittens of the more moderate type, which became known primarily as "Traditional Siamese".

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Siamese_(and_Traditional_Siamese_or_Applehead_Siamese)".
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