The Persian is a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and shortened muzzle. Recognized as a breed since the late 19th century, it was developed first by the English, and then mainly by American breeders after the Second World War. In Britain, it is called the Longhair or Persian Longhair.
Persian Cat - Breed History
It is not clear when longhaired cats first appeared, as there are no known long-haired specimen of the African wildcat, the ancestor of the domestic subspecies.
The first documented ancestors of the Persian cat were imported from Khorasan, Persia into Italy in 1620 by Pietro della Valle, and from Angora (now Ankara), Turkey into France by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc at around the same time. The Khorasan cats were grey coated while those from Angora were white. From France, they soon reached Britain.
Longhaired cats were also imported to Europe from Afghanistan, Burma, China and Russia. Interbreeding of the various types were common especially between Angoras and Persian cats.
The first Persian was presented at the first organized cat show, in 1871 in the Crystal Palace in London, England. As specimens closer to the later established Persian conformation became the more popular types, attempts were made to differentiate it from the Angora cat.
Persian Cat - Breed Description
A show-quality Persian has an extremely long and thick coat, short legs, a wide head with the ears set far apart, large eyes, and an extremely shortened muzzle.
The Persian cat was originally established with a short muzzle, but over time, this characteristic has become extremely exaggerated, particularly in North America. Persian cats can have any color or markings including pointed, golden, tortoiseshell, blue, and tabby.
Persian Cat - Breed Temperament
The Persian is generally described as a quiet cat. Typically placid in nature, it adapts quite well to apartment life. Himalayans tend to be more active due to the influence of the Siamese. One study compared cat owners’ perception of their cats and Persians rated higher than non-pedigree cats on closeness and affection to owners, friendliness towards strangers, cleanliness, predictability, vocalization and fussiness over food.