Cat Breed 101: Persian

Cat Breed 101: Persian

Written by Dr. Muqeet Mushtaq DVM, MS ABG (Animal Breeding and Genetics)
The Persian cat is known for enjoying a sunny window and displaying unexpected bursts of kitten-like energy. The Persian is usually a medium-sized cat, although she is massive and heavily boned. She can appear larger with her masses of fur than she is.

The Persian is an extreme-looking breed. The body is short but thick with thick legs and a short, thick neck. The tail is short, and the ears are small. The head is round with large, round eyes. When viewed in profile, her face is flat, and the nose changes direction so that what is seen is mostly the coloured flesh on her nose. The coat on a Persian is thick, full and long. It is fine but should be lustrous and glossy.

At A Glance

 Weight range:

  • Male: large: >11 lbs.
  • Female: medium: 8-11 lbs.

Eye colour: Blue, Green, Copper, Odd-eyed, Hazel


The Persian is an ancient breed of cat, and, as with other ancient breeds, her history is a bit clouded. Longhaired cats were in Italy in the 1500s. These cats were imported from Asia. In the 17th century, Pietro Della Valle brought a cat from Persia to Italy to add to the breeding program. This cat may well have been a cat known in Persia as the Sand Cat, a cat who lived in the desert. This Sand Cat had a woolly coat, much like a steel soap pad, to protect her from the environment and permit her to live in the sand.

About a hundred years later, Nicolas de Pereisc acquired some longhaired cats. These cats came from Turkey, which is also the home to the Turkish angora, a different breed of longhaired cat. In the 19th century, the descendants of these Turkish cats were bred with some of the cats from Italy, which was the beginning of the modern Persian. Although this breed is ancient, it is also human-made.

The popularity of the Persian was enhanced when Queen Victoria and other royals fell in love with this stunning breed. They were introduced into the United States at the end of the 19th century, soon popular.


The Persian is a calm cat that exhibits bursts of kitten-like activity. She will be sleeping in the sun when she explodes, running around the room and rolling around.

The Persian will stretch out next to you, sleep in your bed, and sit on your lap when she is in the mood. She does not mind changes in routine and is generally friendly with anyone and everyone.

Other body characteristic

  • Longevity Range: 8-11 yrs
  • Social/Attention Needs: Moderate
  • Tendency to Shed: High
Coat Characteristic
  • Length: Long
  • Characteristics: Silky
  • Colors: White, Cream, Red, Blue, Black, Lilac, Chocolate, Silver, Cameo, Golden, Tortoiseshell, Brown, Blue-cream, Calico, Seal
  • Pattern: Solid Color, Bicolor, Tortoiseshell, Tabby, Tricolor/Calico, Shaded, Smoke, Points
  • Less Allergenic: No
  • Overall Grooming Needs: High
Club Recognition


By cat association:

  • ACFA
  • FIFe
  • TICA
  • CFA

By prevalence:

  • Common

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