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|Alternative names||Chantilly, Foreign Longhair|
|Domestic cat (Felis catus)|
The Chantilly-Tiffany or Chantilly/Tiffany, also known as simply the Chantilly or the Foreign Longhair, is a breed of cat derived mainly from cross-breeding long-haired Asians and Burmese. The breed originated in North America. As the name suggests, it is closely related to, and in some registries considered distinct from, the Tiffany (or Tiffanie, a.k.a. Asian Semi-longhair) breed, the British variant. The Chantilly was thought extinct until the 1960s when two of these cats appeared during an estate sale.
It is a cat with a semi-foreign body style and a full semi-long coat. The coat is silky, soft and smooth; the lack of undercoat usually makes grooming simpler than that of cats with an undercoat. Somewhat a late bloomer, the Chantilly-Tiffany is slow to mature and usually does not come into its full stature until about two years old. The eye color of the feline intensifies with age. The head should be a broad, modified wedge with gentle curves. It should have a medium length nose and a strong, broad, short and softly squared muzzle, and defined but not obvious whisker pads.
Originally found only in the color of chocolate, the Chantilly-Tiffany now occurs in a range of colors including chocolate, blue, cinnamon, lilac, and fawn. Accepted patterns are solid, mackerel, ticked, and spotted tabby. The color is rich; shading in solids may occur toward the underside. The overall impression of the ideal Chantilly would be a semi-foreign cat of striking appearance resulting from the combination of its rich color and full, silky semi-longhair coat, plumed tail, contrasting neck ruff, and ear furnishings.
History: USA and England
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The history of this breed began in 1967 when Jennie Robinson (Neotype Cattery) of New York purchased "Thomas" and "Shirley," a pair of semi-foreign longhaired chocolate cats with gold eyes and unknown background, which were being sold as part of an estate sale. Ms. Robinson judged Thomas to be a little over a year old and Shirley about six months; they may have come from the same parents but they were not litter-mates. Shirley's first litter was born in early 1969, containing six kittens, all identical, all the same chocolate color, which amazed Robinson and her veterinarian. Intrigued, Robinson undertook a breeding program. In the early 1970s, the ACA registered Thomas, Shirley, and many of their progeny as "Foreign-Longhairs."
Early breeders hypothesized that the cats might be of Burmese descent. However, when the first litter was born in May 1969, kittens were dark self-colors with no points and pinkish paw pads, the opposite of traits that identify Burmese. All the USA cats of this breed descended from Thomas and Shirley. None arose from nor were bred to Burmese.
Some of Ms. Robinson's kittens were sold to Sigyn Lund (Sig Tim Hil Cattery), a Florida Burmese breeder who took on the breeding program. The public thought the chocolate cats came from her Burmese, since their New York origin was not publicized. Ms. Lund coined the breed-name "Tiffany," a name synonymous with elegance and class, after a Los Angeles theatre. She promoted the breed with the "Tiffany" name because judges felt the "Foreign-Longhair" name was too general. They suggested the name "Mahogany" would be more descriptive. None were ever registered under the Lund nam. ACA had dropped the breed from recognition as it was so rare. All breed representatives became unregistered as a result. It continued to be advertised as "Burmese."
At one point, the Sig Tim Hil cattery informally supplied information (in a phone interview) to "Harper's Illustrated Handbook of Cats" researcher Joan Bernstein regarding these chocolate cats. This interview led to publication of information continuing to suggest the possibility they were Burmese longhairs, the product of UK crosses between Burmese and Himalayans. No such breedings were done in England. However, there had been crosses between Foreign Longhair/Angora, Havana, and Abyssinian. Later this lineage was used in England in an attempt to re-create a cat like an Angora. The American Tiffany/Chantilly is more likely an offshoot of one of these efforts.
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