Khao Manee Breed Information
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The Khaomanee is a “new” breed in North America and Europe, but it is not new in Thailand, its country of origin.
The famous Tamra Maew (Siamese Cat Poems) of Thailand are thought to have been created about 700 years ago, kept alive by oral tradition, and finally published perhaps 200 years ago. The poems described the “good cats” deemed worthy of breeding and preservation, such as the Wichien-maat (ancestors of today’s Siamese and Thai), the Suphalak (ancestors of today’s Tonkinese and Burmese), and the Korat. The Siamese, Thai (also known as the old-style or applehead Siamese), Tonkinese, Burmese, and Korat are all widely known throughout the modern world.
But the poems also described the Khao-plort, which appears to have been a white cat with mercury-colored eyes. (Presumably, “mercury-colored” eyes were light grayish blue eyes.) Some time in Thailand’s history, perhaps during the 200 years after the poems were published, an updated version of the Khao-plort came into favor. The only native breed of white cat in Thailand today is the Khaomanee.
In Thai, Khaomanee means “white gem.” Khaomanees are indeed white, just like the Khao-plort of the ancient poems, but the perfect Khaomanee has odd-colored eyes. One eye ideally will be blue and the other eye will be green or yellow. In practice, the nature of the genes involved keeps breeders from consistently producing cats with odd-colored eyes. Many Khaomanees therefore may have two blue eyes, two green eyes, or two yellow eyes.
Like all cats native to Thailand, Khaomanees are shorthaired, a little lither in build than cats of Western origin, and in personality they are lively, highly intelligent, communicative, and people-loving.
As of 2007, the Khaomanee has begun the new breed application process in TICA (www.tica.org). The Khaomanee does not yet have championship status, meaning permanent recognition as a breed, in any of the world’s major cat associations. Major cat associations are registries that are well established and have reciprocity agreements with each other.
For more information about the origins of the Khaomanee in Thailand, see Martin Clutterbuck’s book, Siamese Cats: Legends and Reality. Bangkok: White Lotus, 2004. This book may be purchased online directly from Mr. Clutterbuck, from the Old-style Siamese Club (www.old-stylesiamese.co.uk), or from PREOSSIA (www.oldstylesiamese.com).
To contact Western breeders involved with the Khaomanee or to purchase Khaomanee kittens, please visit the following websites:
1. For breed information: http://www.khaomanee-kittens.com
2. In the United States: http://www.khaomanee.com
3. In France: http://www.khaomanee.info/
The following is a very tentative, “first draft” Khaomanee standard. An official Western standard will not exist until the breed has progressed further in the application process in TICA. ♦
Khaomanee (KM) TICA Draft Standard of Points
HEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Points
Shape . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Forehead. . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Profile and nose. . . . .. . 4
Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . …..5
Eye color. . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Ears . . . . . . . . . . . . … . 5
Muzzle and chin. . . . . . 5
Neck . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 2
BODY . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Points
Torso . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Legs and feet . . . . . . . 10
Tail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Boning . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Musculature . . . . . . . . . 5
COAT/COLOR/PATTERN . . . . 20 Points
Texture and length. . . . . 12
Body color . . . . . . . . …. . 8
PERMISSIBLE OUTCROSSES: None
Shape: Modified wedge, medium width. Shaped like a flattened papaya or bell. Muzzle somewhat cylindrical and noticeably narrower than upper head, with head widening abruptly at the level of the cheekbones. Cheekbones are high.
Forehead: Long; flat or very slightly convex.
Profile/Nose: Nearly straight, but with slight, straight, downhill slope from brow to just below eyes.
Eyes: Slightly to moderately large. But not extremely large. Not nocturnal or protruding. Plump oval in shape. Set about one eye width apart.
Eye Color: Odd-colored, one blue and one green or yellow. Two blue, two green, or two yellow eyes also permissible. Brilliance of blue, green and yellow colors preferred, but no copper eyes.
Ears: Slightly large, wide at the base, oval tips. Ears should point somewhat more toward twelve o’clock than horizontally. However, ears should be well separated from each other. Allow for light furnishings.
Muzzle: Medium in length, cylindrical, no muzzle break. End of muzzle is slightly rounded.
Chin: Aligned vertically with the nose.
Neck: Medium in length and width.
Torso: Slightly long, high on the legs. Well toned, muscular, but agile-looking, never massive. Stands with weight appearing evenly planted on all fours, rather like an impish baby goat. Underbelly is parallel to the ground and firm.
Legs: Medium to slightly long.
Feet: A wide oval, medium in size in proportion to cat.
Tail: As long as the torso, tapering gradually to the tip.
Boning: Medium to slightly refined (females) or medium to slightly robust (males).
Musculature: Very firm, but cat should look agile and feel flexible and springy, not meaty or heavy. Males should have more muscle than females, but should not be cobby or thick-necked.
Texture: Close-lying, very smooth, little or no undercoat. Smoothness is important; softness is not required.
Length: Short to medium.
Body Color: Very even, snowy white.
The ideal cat of this breed is a medium-sized cat of semi-foreign type, descended from and resembling the native Khaomanees of Thailand. It is a shorthaired, completely white cat with odd-colored eyes, but same-colored eyes other than copper eyes are unavoidable and perfectly permissible. Indeed, the original eye color of the breed may have been limited to blue.
The history of the Khaomanee probably began when the Thai people developed the Khao-plort, an all-white cat with “mercury” colored eyes (most likely gray-blue eyes). The Khao-plort is described in the Tamra Maew, the Siamese Cat Poems of Thailand that are 200 to 700 years old. It is not certain when the cat fanciers of ancient Siam began to favor odd-colored eyes in their Khao-plort cats, but they must have done so by about 100 years ago at latest. The cats at that point came to be called Khaomanees, which means “white gem.” Khaomanee as of the twentieth century had become the preferred name in Thailand for the breed, although the breeders still often use Khao-plort as an alternative name.
Khaomanees are derived from the native race of cats still seen in Thailand today. Like other native cats of Thailand, they should have characteristics suitable for the hot, wet, tropical climate, including a lithe, but not extreme, body, medium length nose (handles hot air better than short noses), a very short smooth coat, and muscular and athletic but never bulky body.
Preserving the resemblance to native Khaomanees includes, for example, preserving the natural sexual dimorphism. (Males should typically be 8 to 12 pounds and may have slightly heavier boning than females. Females should typically be 6 to 8 pounds.) It implies that characteristics more typical of Western breeds, such as very round heads or copper colored eyes, are to be avoided.
The personality of the Khaomanee, like that of all the native cats of Thailand, is communicative, though not necessarily noisy. They are active, playful, curious cats. They love to interact with people and hate to be left alone and ignored. The Khaomanee is highly intelligent. This is not a reserved, self-sufficient, independent breed. But it is a great breed for those who like cats that are all but human in their personalities and needs.
Stud jowls in males. Colored spots limited to the head in kittens and young adults only.
Males resembling female cats in size, boning, or musculature. Females so large, heavy in boning or musculature that they resemble males. Round eyes. Oriental eyes. Short or blunt muzzle. Very long or pointy muzzle. Narrow upper head or narrow space between ears. Small ears, very large ears, or ears set low (closer to the side of the head than the top). Very straight profile.
WITHHOLD WINS (WW):
Roman profile. Pronounced stop. Pronounced convex forehead. Fluffy or stand-out coat. Cobby body. Obesity. Copper eye color. Colored markings or clumps of colored hairs. Paw pads and nose leather other than pink.
Visible tail fault. Crossed eyes. Visible protrusion of the cartilage at the end of the sternum (xiphoid process).
Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud but may not threaten to harm.
In accordance with Show Rules, ARTICLE SIXTEEN, the following shall be considered mandatory disqualifications: a cat that bites (216.9), a cat showing evidence of intent to deceive (216.10), adult whole male cats not having two descended testicles (216.11), cats with all or part of the tail missing , except as authorized by a board approved standard (216.12.1), cats with more than five toes on each front foot and four toes on each back foot, unless proved the result of an injury or as authorized by a board approved standard (216.12.2), visible or invisible tail faults if Board approved standard requires disqualification (216.12.4), crossed eyes if Board approved standard requires disqualification (216.12.4), crossed eyes if Board approved standard requires disqualification (216.12.5), total blindness (216.12.6), markedly smaller size, not in keeping with the breed (216.12.9), and depression of the sternum or unusually small diameter of the rib cage itself (126.96.36.199). See Show Rules, ARTICLE SIXTEEN for more comprehensive rules governing penalties and disqualifications.