What is a Balinese?

Grand Champion Purrmatix Dream Come True in Blue,DM
Grand Champion Purrmatix Sensational Sealia

Blue Point and Seal Point Balinese Littermates
Photo Copyright (C) Larry Johnson

A Balinese is love in an ermine coat, beauty with a bounce, intelligence shrouded in satin, and grace with a glint of mischief shining out of sapphire eyes. As you watch him cross a room, head held high, slender, perfectly proportioned body a study in fluid symmetry, you do not find it surprising that his ancestors were considered sacred in Siam. Yet, despite his unmistakable aura of nobility, he is never too dignified to play the clown. Royalty ready for a romp, a crown prince enjoying the role of court jester... a blue blood whose lofty rank has never gone to his head.

Although records show that a longhaired cat of pure Siamese ancestry was registered with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) as early as 1928, there was no serious effort to promote this variation. Longhaired kittens appearing in Siamese litters were quietly sold as pets and their existence conveniently forgotten.

What is frequently left out of this tale is that early in the 1940s, Siamese breeders around the world had already began using domestics and a limited number of other breeds to introduce Red, Cream, Tortie and Lynx Point colors and patterns to the gene pool. These hybrids are the ancestors of CFA's (Cat Fanciers Association) Colorpoint Shorthair breed, but (over time) they were accepted as full Siamese by a majority of the other registries around the world.

It is not until 1950 that the story of the Balinese truly begins. Two longhaired kittens were born into a litter of registered Siamese owned by Marion Dorsey (Rai-Mar; California). She realized that she had something special and bred the two together. To her surprise they bred true for the long coat and thus the breed was formally started. Sylvia Holland (Holland's Farm; California) became interested in 1956 and soon afterwards, Helen Smith (Merry Mews; New York) also became involved. The name Balinese has nothing to do with Bali, Helen Smith chose the name because the svelte lines of the cat's body, flowing coat and effortless grace reminded her of the Balinese dancers. There is insufficient time and space to try to name all the early breeders that contributed their time and efforts to see the breed recognized around the world or the number of different "mutation" lines discovered all over the USA since the 1950s.

As Balinese breeders campaigned for acceptance in each registry they were not under the restraints and guidelines laid down today... they did not need to list and describe each color desired for championship competition. They used the Siamese show standard as a guideline, added the flowing coat and requested that the breed be accepted "in all championship colors of Siamese". This explains why Balinese were accepted in a rainbow of colors in all other registries UNTIL they reached CFA. Because CFA separated the "pure" Siamese (Seal/Blue/Choc/Lilac Point) from the ones derived from hybrid ancestry, the "other color" Balinese were denied registration by CFA. It was not until 1979 that breeders were able to gain acceptance by CFA as a separate breed known as Javanese. CFA Javanese have a special and unique history originating from a limited Colorpoint, Siamese, Balinese gene pool . Effective May 2008, the CFA merged the two breeds, the Javanese becoming a division of the Balinese breed. This brings CFA in line with the other worldwide registries while continuing to recognize and respect the history and accomplishments of both breeds in CFA.

Balinese are judged according to the Siamese standard with additional emphasis on the longer hair which lies close to the body, flowing along the cat's lines, longest on the tail forming a proud plume. The coat is the most unique feature of the breed, silky in texture, it doesn't mat like other longhaired breeds and tends to shed less than the Siamese.

More Information

CFA Breed Council Secretary - Kris Willison : 832/900-1218 (fax)
CFA Balinenese/Javanese: Breed Profile | Breed Standard | Registration Prefixes | Breeding Chart
CFA Almanac - Balinese Oct '97 | CFA Almanac - Javanese Feb '94 | History of the Javanese Breed
CFA Balinese Cats of Distinction | CFA Javanese Cats of Distinction | Javanese Foundation Cats: Balimoor Cattery | Mishna M'Lady of Su-Bali

Grand Champion, Regional Winner
Purrmatix Suzie Q

Chocolate Point Balinese Female
Photo Copyright (C) Vickie Jackson

Grand Champion
Nagai Ke's Promises Promises of KLM

Lilac Point Balinese Female
Photo Copyright (C) Chanan

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