The Himalayan is considered a Persian in type and as such their standard is the same. Unlike other breeds such as the Ragamuffin, where any combination and style of color with spotted pads and noses may be acceptable, Himalayans are kept to a very high standard with requirements ranging from color combinations in the coat to nose and pad and eye color. The body of the Himalayan is meant to appear heavily boned but rounded, the cat should appear well-rounded and sweet. Legs should be stocky with large firms paws. The tail should be short but proportional and without a curve. Outside of color, the coat should be long and luxurious, standing out from the body and coming to a form a frilly collar between the front legs. There should be long tufts of fur coming from the ears and between the toes. The coat should be thick, rounding the shape of the cat and look healthy or "full of life". The head of the Himalayan should be large and round, with a smooth skull, stubbed nose and full cheeks. Ears should be small and round tipped, tilted forward and low on the head. Eye color should be brilliant, with eyes level and spaced apart.
The Himalayan is not a hyperactive cat, they prefer to play and be active while moderating this with lap time. They love to be where you are and doing what you are doing. They are more vocal than the Persian and less vocal than the Siamese.
The Himalayan, like the Persian, is a very grooming-heavy animal. Daily brushings are necessary and they should be bathed weekly. Though not prone to breathing problems, and generally healthy and vigorous, there are some hereditary diseases such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) that potential owners should be aware of. Be sure to ask your breeder about the health of their cats and have your kitten examined by an animal health professional.
The early evolution of the Persian likely occurred on the high, cold plateaus of Persia, now known as Iraq and Iran. When they were brought into Europe by the Phoenicians and the Romans, they impressed the Europeans and over the years the breed has been bred to perpetuate and accentuate the long, flowing hair. The original colorpoint Persian was the result of experiments in the 1930's to study feline genetics. World War II disrupted this research, not long after these experiments produced a Siamese like cat in body and color with the long hair of a Persian.
This colorpoint Persian is what we now know of as the Himalayan, and work to develop it as a unique breed began in the 1950's. The pattern is caused by the Siamese gene; one of the genes in the albino series which is affected by temperature and leads to the pointing on the extremities. The Himalayan is the result of Persians bred to Siamese and then the pointed offspring being bred back to the Persians and so on. Eventually a uniform cat with the Siamese pointing and Persian body was developed. In the 1970's, outcrossing to Persians became a regular practice as it was the only way to regulate type.
The Persian and Himalayan were merged into one breed in 1984 by the CFA as the body type is identical for both breeds and the Himalayan requires the Persian genetics in order to preserve the type. This decision caused a split from the CFA and is what formed the NCFA (National Cat Fancier's Association).