The Tonkinese is a cross between the Siamese and the Burmese. It can come in three patterns: solid, pointed and mink- a combination of the solid burmese and pointed Siamese. They come in twelve colors divided between the three categories. The coat is medium short, close-lying, fine, soft and silky with a lustrous sheen. The points should be densely marked but gently merging and allowance should be made for brighter color in young cats and darker color in older cats.
The head is a modified, slightly rounded wedge; somewhat longer than wide with high and gently planed cheekbones. The ears are alert and medium in size, with oval tips. They should be set as much on the top of the head as on the side. Eyes should be an open, almond shape in proportion to the size of face. The color should be deep, clear and brilliant.
The Tonkinese should be intermediate in body, neither cobby or svelte, instead giving the overall impression of an alert and active cat. Balance and proportion are more important than size. The body should be medium in length, with well-developed muscular strength that is not coarse. It should strike a midpoint between the extreme and the cobby body. Legs should be fairly slim, proportionate in length and bone with paws more oval than round.
The Tonkinese is a loving and family oriented pet. They love to take over shoulders and laps, and will happily supervise all your activities. They have sense like a radar and incredible memories but are strong willed and require persistence to train. They invent and play games, including fetch and tag with one another and their people. They love to play hide and seek with one another, dogs, and their families, are enthusiastic door greeters and guest entertainers.
Caring for a Tonkinese is simple and easy. They require a well-balanced, weekly nail clipping and a good scratching post (you may have to insist that they use it). Grooming should be done with a rubber brush and regular check-ups are recommended.
The Tonkinese is a cross between the Siamese and the Burmese. Chocolate Siamese were the foundation of what is the Tonkinese today. Burmese breeders and Siamese breeders have gone their separate ways in regards to type; Burmese breeders favoring the rounder look and Siamese breeders favoring the extreme look. Some breeders chose to cross the two different body shapes and see what happened. The goal was to create a breed that was an in-between of both parent breeds; an easy concept difficult to achieve. Eventually, however, their hard work paid off and they were rewarded with a Burmese body and Siamese pointing; a cat that resembles the more traditional Siamese.
There was much opposition to the breed originally, as many competitors viewed the cats as pet quality Siamese and Burmese. They were granted Championship status with the CFA in 1984 and by 1990 all major associations had accepted the breed for Championship.