What is a Birman?

As breeders, we are often asked what defines a "good" Birman, the "good" generally being in reference to their quality for show versus pet. To be considered show worthy, a Birman must meet or exceed the standards as set down by the association you show in. On the following pages, we will take you through the Cat Fanciers Association standard for the Birman cat, with photos and diagrams to demonstrate the various features.


GENERAL: a cat of mystery and legend, the Birman is a color pointed cat with long silky hair and four pure white feet. It is strongly built, elongated and stocky, neither svelte nor cobby. The distinctive head has strong jaws, firm chin and medium length Roman nose. There should be good width between the ears, which are medium in size. The blue, almost round eyes, are set well apart, giving a sweet expression to the face.

HEAD: skull strong, broad, and rounded. There is a slight flat spot just in front of the ears.
NOSE: Medium in length and width, in proportion to size of head. Roman shape in profile. Nostrils set low on the nose leather.
PROFILE: the forehead slopes back and is slightly convex. The medium length nose starts just below the eyes and is Roman in shape (which is slightly convex). The chin is strong, with the lower jaw forming a perpendicular line with the upper lip.

CHEEKS: full with somewhat rounded muzzle. The fur is short in appearance about the face, but to the extreme outer area of the cheek the fur is longer.
JAWS: heavy
CHIN: strong and well-developed
EARS: medium in length. Almost as wide at the base as tall. Modified to a rounded point at the top; set as much to the side as into the top of the head.

EYES: almost round with a sweet expression. Set well apart, with the outer corner tilted VERY slightly upward. Blue in color, the deeper and more vivid blue the better.

female bluepoint champion                   male bluepoint grand premier

BODY: long and stocky. Females may be proportionately smaller than males.
LEGS: medium in length and heavy.
PAWS: large, round, and firm. Five toes in front, four behind.
TAIL: medium in length, in pleasing proportion to the body.
COAT: medium long to long, silken in texture, with heavy ruff around the neck, slightly curly on stomach. This fur is of such a texture that it does not mat.

(From left to right: chocolate male kitten, sealpoint male, bluepoint female, lilacpoint male)

COLOR EXCEPT GLOVES: Body: Even, with subtle shading when allowed. Strong contrast between body color and points. Points except gloves:mask, ears, legs, and tail dense and clearly defined, all of the same shade. Mask covers entire face including whisker pads and is connected to ears by tracings. No ticking or white hair in points. Golden Mist: desirable in all point colors is the "golden mist", a faint golden beige cast on the back and sides. This is somewhat deeper in the seal points, and may be absent in kittens.

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