Tonkinese History
  • Reigns as one of the world's oldest feline breeds with historical references dating back to the Ayudha Period in the late 1300s.
  • The first known Tonkinese was named Wong Mau in the 1930s. This cat was bred with a Siamese.
  • The name "Tonkin" is the ancient name of Vietnam.
  • Imported to England in the early 1800s from Asia.
  • In the 1960s, the Gulf of Tonkin became a household phrase due to the Vietnam War. This is the body of water located on the east coast of the peninsula that housed Burma and Siam (now called Thailand).
  • First recognized and accepted as a cat breed by the Canadian Cat Association in the 1980s.
  • Achieved championship status by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2002.
Tonkinese Behavior Concerns
  • Active, intelligent and athletic.
  • Prone for being mischievous, especially if bored. Able to open doors.
  • Touted for have the smarts and inquisitiveness of a Siamese with the laid-back personality of a Burmese.
  • Benefits by regular exercise, learning tricks and playing interactive games with people like fetch.
  • Extremely chatty and loves being in the spotlight.
  • Capable of turning on and off lights and mastering dog-like tricks.
  • Would rather "help" you with chores than sit calmly in your lap.
  • Enjoys the company of visitors, other cats, children and dogs.
Look of Tonkineses
  • Bred to look like a pleasing blend between a Siamese and Burmese.
  • Only purebred cat to have almond-shaped aqua eyes (a blend of the blue-eyed Siamese and the golden-eyed Burmese).
  • Body is medium sized and muscular.
  • Comes in three primary patterns: mink, pointed and full color. Points on the face, ears and tails are slightly darker than the Siamese.
  • Color tends to get darker as this breed gets older.
  • A "cowlick" look on the chest occurs naturally.
Grooming Tonkinese Cats
  • Blessed with a wash-and-wear coat that requires minimal grooming.
  • Short, dense coat is silky to the touch.
  • Benefits by having its teeth brushed regularly to prevent gingivitis.
Suggested Nutritional Needs for Tonkinese
  • Not prone to obesity due to its high metabolism.
Fun Facts of Tonkineses
  • Also known by the popular nickname of "Chocolate Siamese."
  • Jane Barletta, one of the early promoters of this breed, single-handedly gave the Tonkinese national recognition when she extolled its many talents while being a contestant on the game show, Jeopardy! in the 1960s.


Tonkinese cat breed picture
15 - 20 years
6 - 12 pounds
Tonkinese Traits
  • Lap Cat
    1 out of 5
  • Intelligence
    5 out of 5
  • Ease Of Training
    4 out of 5
  • Grooming Requirements
    1 out of 5
  • Shedding
    2 out of 5
  • Good With Children
    5 out of 5
  • Good With Dogs
    5 out of 5
  • Chattiness
    5 out of 5