The Oriental Longhair is the longhaired version of the Oriental Shorthair just as the Balinese is the longhaired version of the Siamese.
Alternatively, it could be considered to be the full coloured equivalent of the Balinese in the same way as the Oriental Shorthair is the full coloured equivalent of the Siamese.
Prior to 1st June 2003 the breed was known as the Angora in the UK. In the US it is known as the Oriental Longhair, in FIFe the Javanese and in some other organisations - the Mandarin.
In the 1890's some Longhaired cats were referred to as "Angoras"; these were supposedly distinguished from the Persians by having a more angular head, larger ears and a longer, silkier, uneven coat.
By the early 1900's the Angora was no longer recognised as a separate breed in the UK and some authors of the day doubted that it ever had been distinct. The "Angora" was then forgotten for many years and the only accepted Longhaired breed in the UK was the Persian.
More Recent History
Other longhaired breeds were introduced: Turkish Vans were imported and then Birmans. Balinese (longhaired Siamese) appeared on the show bench in 1975 and in 1981 the first UK Somalis (longhaired Abyssinians) were born. Maine Coons were given GCCF Preliminary recognition in 1988 and now have Championship status. Norwegian Forest Cats were recognised by the GCCF in 1989 and granted Championship status from June 1st 1997, Ragdolls were recognised in March 1990, with Championship status from June 2001, and finally the Tiffanies (longhaired Burmese and Asians) in September 1990. Unfortunately the longhaired Orientals lagged behind although they have been recognised by the GCCF almost as long as the Balinese and far longer than the Somalis.
The Origin of the breed in the UK
In the late 60's and early 70's, Kernow Gerza and Kernow Koptos, offspring of a mating between a Sorrel Abyssinian and a Seal Point Siamese, were used by Maureen Silson in her breeding programme. In 1971, from the brother-sister mating of these cats, Maureen bred Southview Pavane, the first Oriental Cinnamon.
However, these two had inherited more than the light brown (cinnamon) gene from their Abyssinian sire - they had also inherited the gene for longhair and passed this on to several of their kittens. Although not the first to be produced, the first Southview longhair to cause excitement was Trappist, a "longhaired Havana" who was born in 1973. Trappist, known to his friends as "Cuckoo", was used for breeding and was on exhibition at the 1978 Supreme Show.
This was the start of the modern UK Angoras who are not related to the Angoras of the last century or to the Turkish Angoras which are not recognised by the GCCF.
Today's Oriental Longhairs
Many of the immediate descendants of Kernow Gerza and Kernow Koptos proved to carry the longhair gene and are behind the majority of todays UK Oriental Longhairs. In order to maintain the breed, they were mated out, first to Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs and then to Balinese as well when these became available and these matings are still the basis of today's breeding programme. Some new lines have been produced by mating Oriental Shorthairs to Balinese and breeding the resulting full-coloured, short-coated variants back to Balinese.
So why, after so many years, have longhaired Orientals made such slow progress? Part of the reason is that the continuing matings to Oriental Shorthairs and Balinese, essential to enlarge the gene pool and improve the breed, produce a large number of variants (shorthaired, carrying longhair) and pointed Oriental Longhairs (Balinese look-alikes) who are useful for breeding but cannot be shown. Cats being the cussed little things they are, it is always a fair bet that in a mixed litter the longhaired kittens will be pointed and the solid coloured kittens will turn out to be variants!
However, they have made it at last. They have had Provisional status since 1st June 1998 and on 1st June 2003 - thirty years from "Cuckoo's" birth - they achieved Championship status.
In addition, the breed which was known until 1st June 2003 as the Angora, was officially renamed the Oriental Longhair.
Congratulations to Grand Champion Loricha Mogwai
62 43bs - Chocolate Silver Shaded OLH - Abonella Spider Man (62 15) x Loricha Maidtoorder (62 43bsv)
Owner/breeder: Sylvia Smith
First GCCF OLH Champion in three straight shows - Merseyside, OCA, Wiltshire
and first OLH Grand Champion
Premier Aprikat Skyryder
62 15 - Black OLH - Aprikat Spokesman (61) x Aprikat Sycadelicmoon (62 21)
Owner: Helen Berry Breeder: Rosemary Smyth
First GCCF OLH Premier in three straight shows - Somerset, OCA, Wiltshire
Champion Aprikat Starsnshadows
62 20e - Tortie Tabby OLH - Aprikat Shadowsinthedark (62 20) x Aprikat Sprinklewithstars (62 21)
Owners: John & Elaine Robinson Breeder: Rosemary Smyth
First GCCF OLH Female Champion
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