BREEDS & PROFILES
LIONS FOUNDATION OF CANADA DOG GUIDES
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, was established in 1983. It’s the largest school of its kind in Canada with its training school in Oakville and breeding facility in Breslau.
Cat Breeds that Come from Canada Part 2: The Tonkinese
This is a series about a handful of special – not to mention beautiful – cat breeds originating from Canada. The Tonkinese – a cross between the Siamese and Burmese – is one of them. Here’s an overview of this fascinating breed.
Body: medium-sized and muscular; slim legs; oval paws
Head: modified, slightly rounded wedge shape; longer than it’s wide
Eyes: open almond shape; aqua, blue, green or yellow-green in colour
Ears: medium-sized; broad at base; oval tip
Base coat colours: blue, champagne, natural and platinum
Colourways: 12 different colourways
In the 1960s, a Canadian breeder named Margaret Conroy crossed a seal-point Siamese with a brown Burmese. She wrote the first breed standard and the Canadian Cat Association officially registered the Tonkinese in 1967.
Before that, a man named Milan Greer started the first deliberate crossbreeding between the Siamese and Burmese and called the breed Golden Siamese.
BEHAVIOUR AND PERSONALITY
Tonkinese cats are active, friendly, very loving and social. Owners need to provide enough affection and attention as well as opportunities for mental and physical stimulation. This also means that when you’re away they’re better off if they have the company of another cat or even a dog.
They’re not as talkative as Siamese cats. In fact, it’s one of the reasons they were bred. Plus: They tend to enjoy riding on shoulders.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
The Tonkinese sports a short, super soft coat. To distribute skin oils and get rid of dead hair, weekly brushing should be prioritized and the occasional bath is recommended. Owners should also clean their teeth, eyes and ears as often as necessary.
POSSIBLE HEALTH CONCERNS
While Tonkinese cats are generally quite healthy, breed-specific issues (1 and 2) do exist in addition to diseases that typically tend to affect Siamese cats (3 to 11).
- Sensitivity to anaesthesia
- Asthma/bronchial disease
- Gastrointestinal conditions, e.g. megaesophagus (enlargement of the esophagus)
- Nystagmus: neurological disorder; causes repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements
- Congenital heart defects, e.g. aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening)
- Amyloidosis: rare, serious protein deposition disease (primarily affects the liver in cats)
- Hyperesthesia (rolling-skin) syndrome: neurological; causes episodes of agitation, self-mutilation and rippling of the skin upon contact (hence the name)
- Lymphoma: cancer that begins in the infection-fighting cells of the immune system
- Progressive retinal atrophy: degeneration of retina; leads to blindness (genetic test available)
- Crossed eyes
Tonkinese is a clever choice for families with cat-friendly dogs and (polite and gentle) kids.