Tonkinese cat breed photo

The origin of the breed

Have you ever wondered whether a cat may be as smart as siamese and tender as burmese.

For Tonkinese feline it’s that simple, as if it derives from both of the above. Actually, the reason behind it’s existence is a desire to develop a cat that will combine the best qualities of burmese and siamese. The first attempt to do was in 30-s, when a “Golden Siamese” breed was formed, it was not much of a success, however. Tonkinese, however, was made with the newest strains available. Presumably, it is named after a Tonkin village in the north of Vietnam.

The breed was first acclaimed by CCAFC in 1974, with British and American organisations following in 1984. Note that European and American standards differ heavily.


A medium sized and averagely (5 - 11 lbs) weighed, elegant feline. Build combines siamese and burmese traits. The defining feature is a special mink colouration.

Head: Medium length, and even smaller width. Shaped as a smooth wedge, with a slight bump on a nose-forehead transition. Muzzle is square or moderately wedge-shaped, jaws are set high and cheeks lack any significance. The chin should be strong enough, but not protruding.

Eyes: Medium size, shaped after a peach seed with an oval top and round bottom. Set wide and at a slight slant, they are coloured aquamarine or irish green.

Ears: Quite large in size, broad at base and round at the tips. Placed wide and slanted outwards, they are covered by a short and scarce downing.

Neck: Long to medium in length and average in girth, it has a is covered in developed muscles.

Body: Medium in size, not compact, semi-oriental type. The rump is higher than the Decent bone structure and well developed muscles make for a heavy cat.

Legs: Medium in length, hindlegs are slightly longer than forelegs. Thin, slim and fit.

Paws: Medium in size, neat, elliptic and elegant.

Tail: Medium length, at least one body long. Broad at base, it tapers to a tip and is evenly coloured throughout.

Coat: Short, thick well clinging and silky to the touch. Shiny, it has a mink or sable look to it.

Colours: The Mink pattern is a defining feature of this breed, as well as siamese-like colourpoints and a darker background you’d expect from burmese. Colour variants are also shared with Burmese, albeit with softer hues:

  • Brown or Mink: warm brown body with dark chocolate spots
  • Chocolate or Champagne: cream background and warm brown spots
  • Baby blue: brighter blue silver background, darker blue silver spots
  • Platinum: pink silver body and dark silver spots
  • Honey: golden or amber-apricot background, red-brown spots. Honey colouration is not acknowledged by CFA.

Spots tend to dissolve into background, having a blurry, hardly defined borders unlike those of Siamese. Coat tends to darken with age, and is only developed by the age of 1,5. Under normal conditions only 1 in 4 kittens has mink pattern, another 25% have colourpoint coat. Only mink cats are considered show-worthy and are used in breeding.

Flaws: Round head; round eyes; short muzzle; narrow or oriental body; striped pattern.

Disqualification on shows: Узловатый или изломанный хвост и глаза желтого цвета.

Universal disqualification rules: Ампутированные когти, крипторхизм, глухота.

Character traits and features

Tonkinese is a rather smart, playful, active and sanguine cat. It is known for it’s tender and friendly character, as well as it’s ability to form bond with it’s master. Unlike the siamese, however, it won’t neglect strangers as much, it is friendly to other cats and is especially nice to children. It can’t deal with being alone however, and would demand attention. Tonkinese adapt well to living in a flat, yet their natural desire to discover would make them crave for open space. Outdoor strolls would easily fix this, especially since you can walk them on a leash like smaller dogs.

Maintenance and care

Tonkinese’ coat is easy to maintain by combing it on a weekly basis

Nutrition choices

Balanced nutritions are required

Selection and breeding

Allowed crossings: Burmese-Siamese crosses produce Tonkinese in first generation.

Breeds derived from or relative to Tonkinese.

Alternative and obsolete breed names


Golden Chekong;

Golden siamese;



Breed's catteries