International & Regional Winners Since 1982
 

History

Bombay
Back in the late 1950s Nikki Horner, a very successful breeder of Persians and Burmese, was inspired to develop a new breed similar to the Burmese, but with a shiny, black coat and copper eyes. She named her creation the Bombay, after the black leopard and the city in India. After several unsuccessful attempts of crossing black domestic shorthairs with Burmese, she started over and began breeding her Burmese to black American Shorthairs. The results were much better. After years of showing her Bombays in the provisional class, the breed was finally accepted for championship status by CFA in 1976. When TICA was founded in 1979, the Bombay was one of the breeds accepted for championship status. Due to their shiny, "patent-leather" coats, "new-penny" eyes and pleasing dispositions, the Bombay quickly gained popularity.

Burmese
All modern day Burmese can trace their ancestry to a small brown cat named Wong Mau, who came to the USA from Burma in 1930, with a Dr. Thompson. Thompson, a retired Ship's doctor and practising Psychiatrist, who also bred cats. Realizing that Wong Mau was different from his Siamese cats, Dr. Thompson persuaded three breeder/geneticist friends to investigate Wong Mau's genetic make-up. This investigation showed that Wong Mau was in fact a hybrid of Siamese with a new dark-coated breed of cat which became known as Burmese. The early Burmese were a deep rich brown color called Sable. Burmese now come in Blue, Chocolate/Champaign, Lilac/Platinum. The International Cat Association also recognizes Red, Cream, Sable Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie and Lilac Tortie.

Is the Bombay a black Burmese?
In one word, "NO!" To quote from Patricia C. Taylor's article, "Meet the Bombay" in the May/June 1978 issue of Cat World, "While many people feel that the Bombay is a black Burmese, although, the two breeds are close in type, they are not the same! A comparison of the standards will immediately show likenesses and differences. Judges especially should note what the Bombay breeders are striving to produce." This statement is as true now as it was in 1978. To compare the breeds in general terms, both are described as medium-sized, somewhat compact, well-muscled, sturdy bone structure and surprisingly/ deceptively heavy for their size. They have rounded heads, a short, broad muzzle; medium ears with rounded tips, round eyes and a sweet, open expression. Both breeds have short, close-lying coats with the Burmese coat being described as looking like a wet seal coming out of the water and the Bombay's black coat described as having a shimmering, patent-leather sheen.

"Traditional" vs. "Contemporary or More Extreme"
The subject of "Traditional" vs. "Contemporary/More Extreme" in the Bombay and Burmese is a very divisive one. It not only refers to the "style" or "look," but to genetics. Therefore, to present it as neutrally as possible, I am quoting excerpts from the online article, "The Feline Genome project, Feline Cranial-Facial Abnormality." From the Background section: "During the 1970's, a alternative style Burmese cat was established. Phenotypically still within the CFA standard, this "strain" of Burmese expresses a more rounded head with a higher frontal prominence, a shorter, broader muzzle, seeming larger and more prominent eyes, and generally a more demarcated nose break. This shorter, broader muzzle form has been referred to as the "Eastern", "new look", "Contemporary", or "more extreme". The longer, narrower muzzle form is referred to as "Traditional" or "less extreme". The "more extreme" Burmese quickly became popular in the show ring and intensive breeding programs ensued. Shortly after the widespread establishment of the "more extreme" cats, litters involving the "more extreme" cats as both parents began to produce kittens with a severe congenital craniofacial deformity." From the Results section: "The "more extreme" facial structure is strongly associated with the defect, but no strict "threshold" could be determined. Breeders should realize that not all short facial structures are due to this gene. For example, Persians have very short facial structures, but do not have a problem with this defect. In addition, many "Traditional" Burmese breeders have successfully produced cats that have shorter facial structures that are not a result of contemporary breedings, but due to selection of cats with the preferred type."

 

 

 

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