rec.pets.cats: The Chantilly/Tiffany Breed-FAQ
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Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997
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(formerly "Foreign Longhair")
Author: T. Oraas, Opurrtune/Purrfecta Chantilly/Tiffanies
Co-Author: Jennie Robinson, Neotype
Correspondent: D. Babyn //
Copyright (c)1995 T, Oraas and Jennie Robinson, All Rights Reserved.
* Physical Description
* Health and Care
* History: USA and England
* History: Canada
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a semi-foreign medium-sized cat of striking
appearance. Its rich colour and full, silky semi-long coat, plumed
tail, contrasting neck ruff and ear streamers make it distinctive and
showy. The medium-sized head has a gently sloped nose and short, broad
muzzle that is softly squared with gentle contours and a break. The
chin is firm. The cheekbones are broad and high.
The preferred eye colour is gold-yellow-amber. The eyes are a modified
oval shape, with an expressive look. The ears are broad at the base
and medium sized, with rounded tips tilting forward and outward.
Breeders responsible for the wide re-acceptance of this breed have
placed emphasis on retention of traditional conformation, free of
health and maintenance concerns, as the breed was during its American
breeding of 1967-1987. The body is of medium size and length, neither
cobby nor svelte, (semi-foreign). The breed is of medium musculature
and boning - females are 6-8 pounds, males are 8-10 pounds. The breed
standard requires rich and lustrous colouration in blue, chocolate
(which is the most well-known), cinnamon, lilac, and fawn, in both
solid and tabby patterns. This, and a silky coat texture of
appropriate length, make it a special cat.
Slight variations exist between associations for patterns/colours
accepted, but conformation and coat-quality and texture requirements
are unilateral. Full beauty develops with maturity; shedding is
minimal. White spotting is not allowed.
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a breed of loyalty, and easily becomes a
close, affectionate companion that is not overly demanding or
mischievous. They are not as placid as Persians, nor as active as
Orientals, and are best described as moderate. Usually, they develop
particular affinity to one person in the home, with whom they bond,
conversing in quiet "chirps" or trills characteristic of the Tiffany.
It does not thrive in endless hours of solitude, and may become quite
lonely. Persons working full time should plan on a companion pet.
Tiffanies integrate well with children and other pets and require
The breed is gentle and easily managed. It will prefer the company of
its special person to any other amusement. Some individuals forsake
the "four-on-the-floor" reputation of their peers. They are usually
friendly, but conservative with strangers. They leave no doubt as to
their affection if you are their "person," follow you constantly and
respond well to their name. They are devotion in a silky chocolate (or
Health and Care
The breed is very healthy, not given to any particular problems. Some
manifest "finicky" digestion; they do not tolerate food adjustment or
high corn-content foods well. Mothers are prolonged in labour, and not
too anxious to wean. Kittens are quite slow to accept solids.
The Chantilly/Tiffany is a breed of minimal care. Its silky
little-shedding coat is often well tolerated by the allergic and needs
only occasional combing, paying particular attention to the modified
ruff and hindquarters. The coat is not given to matting. Ears seem
inclined to waxiness and should be swabbed regularly.
History: USA and England
The history of this breed is intriguing. It began in 1967 when Jennie
Robinson (Neotype Cattery) of New York purchased "Thomas" and
"Shirley," a pair of semi-foreign longhaired chocolate cats with gold
eyes and unknown background, which were being sold as part of an
estate sale. Ms. Robinson judged Thomas to be a little over a year old
and Shirley about six months; they might have come from the same
parents, but they were not litter-mates. Nature took its course, and
Shirley's first litter was born in early 1969. Six kittens, all
identical, all a beautiful chocolate color, amazed Robinson and her
veterinarian. Intrigued, Robinson undertook a breeding program. In the
early '70s, the ACA registered Thomas, Shirley, and many of their
progeny as "Foreign-Longhairs."
Early breeders hypothesized that the cats might be of Burmese descent.
However, when the first litter was born in May 1969, kittens were dark
self-colours with no points and pinkish paw pads, the opposite of
traits that identify Burmese. All the USA cats of this breed descended
from Thomas and Shirley; none arose from nor were bred to Burmese.
Some of Ms. Robinson's kittens were sold to Sigyn Lund (Sig Tim Hil
Cattery), a Florida Burmese breeder who assumed the breeding program.
The public thought the chocolate cats came from her Burmese, since
their unknown New York origin was not publicized. Ms. Lund coined the
breed-name "Tiffany," a name synonymous with elegance and class, after
a Los Angeles theatre. She promoted the breed with the "Tiffany" name
because judges felt the "Foreign-Longhair" name was too general. They
suggested the name "Mahogany" would be more descriptive.
Unfortunately, none were ever registered under the Lund name; ACA had
dropped the breed from recognition as it was so rare. All breed
representatives became unregistered as a result. It continued to be
advertised as "Burmese."
At one point, the Sig Tim Hil cattery informally supplied information
(in a phone interview) to "Harper's Illustrated Handbook of Cats"
researcher Joan Bernstein regarding these chocolate cats. This
interview led to publication of information continuing to suggest the
possibility they were Burmese longhairs, the product of UK crosses
between Burmese and Himalayans. No such breedings were done in
England. However, there had been crosses between Foreign
Longhair/Angora, Havana, and Abyssinian. Later this lineage was used
in England in an attempt to re-create a cat like an Angora. The
American Tiffany/Chantilly is more likely an offshoot of one of these
During the same time Robinson and Lund were developing the breed in
the USA, a Canadian acreage owner was surprised when, in 1973, a
long-haired semi-foreign chocolate, gold-eyed cat with unknown
ancestry appeared at his home and gave birth to a litter of kittens
with the same appearance as the mother. Offspring of these were
rescued by Canadian breeders in order to re-establish the Tiffany
breed in North America in a cooperative effort with Robinson and Lund.
Thus, the breed that developed primarily in the '70s that seemed lost,
re-emerged in the late '80s in a greater colour and pattern range and,
though still rare, is enjoying ever-increasing popularity.
Canadian breeders were called upon to rename it in 1992, because a
different breed in England (Burmilla, 1983) began using the Tiffany
name with altered spelling: "Tiffanie." The former "Foreign-Longhair"
is registered in North America as "Chantilly," "Tiffany," or
"Chantilly/Tiffany," depending on the association; some registries
felt the breed was entitled to use the original "Tiffany" name, so the
breed has a dual designation.
If you wish to own one of these lovely cats, consult "Cats" magazine
for breeders' ads; be sure to make a reservation as there is usually a
waiting list. For more information, see "Your Purebred Kitten: A
Buyer's Guide" (USA) by Michelle Lowell.
Yes, the Chantilly/Tiffany is the "Chocoholics Delight."
Updated 20 June 1995
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