The Tonkinese is an elegant oriental cat breed that is a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese. This blend, which was originally called the Golden Siamese when first developed in the US in the first half of the twentieth century, displays characteristics from both breeds. The breed wasn’t recognised and popularised until it was revived in Canada in the 1960s and renamed Tonkinese.
Small to medium-sized and muscular, the Tonkinese cat weighs between 2.5 and 5.5 kg. It bears an obvious resemblance to both oriental parent breeds, but is lighter in colour than the Burmese and has less angular, slightly more rounded shapes than the Siamese.
Tonkinese cats have a short, close-lying coat with a silky texture and lustrous sheen. The coat is classified as mink, with solid colour paling around the belly and chest. Tonkinese come in many different colours but there are five main coat varieties in Australia: natural mink, blue mink, honey mink, champagne mink and platinum mink. The points (mask, ears, legs and tail) are always darker than the body.
This breed is just as friendly and affectionate as the Burmese and Siamese and makes an excellent family pet. Tonkinese cats love attention and companionship and are great with children. Inquisitive and intelligent, Tonkinese should be given plenty of toys and games to keep them occupied. If your house is empty for many hours of the day, you should consider getting another cat to keep your Tonkinese company. Like other orientals, this is a vocal breed that will meow when it wants attention.
The Tonkinese is generally a healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 15 to 18 years.