About Old-Style Siamese


There seems to be a lot of confusion about the various terms describing the Old-Style Siamese. People are continually asking, "What is the difference between an Old-Style Siamese, an Applehead Siamese, a Traditional Siamese and a Classic Siamese?" The answer to this question is that all of these definitions can mean different things to whoever (usually a breed club) is defining them. Although some pointed cats with blue eyes, and defined as "Applehead," "Traditional" or "Classic" might fall within the definition of "Old-Style Siamese," many others might not.

For this reason, we define the Old-Style Siamese (OSS) as the same type of Siamese cat that was bred for centuries in Thailand; the same cat that became popular when it was imported to the West during the late nineteenth century and mid twentieth century. When we use this definition, there is a fairly large range of cats that will meet the criteria, but there are also many pointed cats that will not. Pointed cats are cats with blue eyes, a lighter body, and dark face mask, ears, legs and tail, much the same as a Siamese. Just because a cat has points does not make it a Siamese; only a pedigree can do that. An Old-Style Siamese will not have a thick, fluffy coat; the coat should be smooth and silky. An Old-Style Siamese will not have a round skull, a chunky body or tufted ears. An Old-Style Siamese will have a substantial body and a moderately wedge-shaped head, although the exact proportions of the wedge shape may vary. An Old-Style Siamese will fall within the 20th century breed standard developed in 1914 by America's Siamese Cat Society. 

Most importantly, an Old-Style Siamese will have a long pedigree, going back many, many generations, that is recognized by the major cat registries, unless the cat is a recent import from Thailand, documented and registered by TICA (The International Cat Association). Imports from Thailand (they've actually tested them genetically) are the "real deal," but most breeders in Thailand don't bother with pedigrees. We need these imports (who haven't been near our cats for over a hundred years) to keep our breed healthy by expanding the gene pool.

In short, an OSS should have the same look that has existed for so long in Thailand; the look that the first imported British cats had about 100 years ago. An Old-Style Siamese should look the same as the cats that dominated the Siamese breed until the late 1960s.

According to existing records, the first Siamese cats were imported to England in the eighteen eighties; these cats were the forebears of the cats in America today. An interesting note is that all of the cats in America are descended from something like eleven British imports. They were first seen in America, at shows, in about 1903. The first Siamese cat to win Best Cat in Show was at the Michigan Cat Club Show in 1907.

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