TIFFANY/CHANTILLY CAT BREED
The Chantilly’s long road to acceptance started in 1967. The breed’s originator, Jennie Robinson, bought two cats, an 18-month-old male and a 6-month-old female, from a pet shop in White Plains, New York. She was told the cats had belonged to someone who had recently died. Several years later, ACA registered the cats, Thomas and Shirley of Neotype, as “Sable Foreign Longhairs”.
Nature took its course and Thomas and Shirley produced their first litter in May 1969. Shirley and Thomas continued to live long and prosper; producing something like 60 kittens in a span of about 7 years says Robinson. During the early 1970s Robinson showed Thomas and several of his kittens in the New York metropolitan area. Other breeders who owned Thomas’s offspring showed them in Long Island and Connecticut.
Because of the Tiffany’s color, early breeders assumed the breed was related to the Burmese, although no known connection exists. Since chocolate, long hair, and gold-colored eyes are all recessive traits, and the cats bred true from the beginning, it seemed certain that someone had been working with these cats. But who and for what purpose remains a mystery. Robinson also notes that the kittens had gold eyes with a distinct green halo, silky chocolate coats without any black hue, and, unlike the sable Burmese, and pink paw pads.
Robinson stopped breeding the Tiffany, but in the 1970s Sigyn Lund took up the torch, buying Robinson’s cats and continuing to work with the breed until the mid-1980s. Because show judges had found the name “Foreign Longhair” to be too general, a new name was needed. Lund chose “Tiffany” because of the Tiffany Theatre whose name was associated with class and elegance.
Since Lund was a Burmese breeder, fanciers assumed the breed was a longhaired Burmese bred from her Burmese stock, although this was apparently not the case. During this time, trouble began for the Tiffany. Articles and books reported the Tiffany as a longhaired version of the Burmese, creating confusion. In 1979 TICA recognized the Tiffany, but in the Burmese breed section. And ACA dropped the breed from recognition because it was so rare.
Even more confusing, the GCCF in Britain began calling a Burmese and Silver Chinchilla Persian hybrid the “Tiffanie” (The shorthaired version of the Tiffanie is known as the “Asian Burmilla”) When Lund stopped breeding in the mid-1980s, the Tiffany came perilously close to extinction as a breed.
Tiffany advocate Tracy Oraas began her involvement with the breed in 1988, when she responded to a classified ad advertising “Chocolate kittens” Oraas got in touch with Siamese/Oriental breeder Jan DeRegt. DeRegt undertook efforts to reestablish the breed after consulting a TICA judge who proclaimed that nothing on the show bench compared with them. With some detective work (including calls to all the veterinarians in Florida), Oraas and DeRegt managed to contact the Tiffany’s first breeders, Jennie Robinson and Sigyn Lund. After much research, Oraas and DeRegt concluded that the Burmese was never used in any Tiffany breeding program, nor was the Tiffany the product of British crosses between Burmese and Himalayans. Their research did reveal that English breeders had crossed Foreign Longhairs (Angoras), Havana Browns, and Abyssinians in an attempt to recreate an Angora-type cat. They suspect that the Tiffany may have been a product of these efforts.
In 1992 Oraas and DeRegt were asked to rename the breed because of possible confusion between the Tiffany and the British breed, the Tiffanie. The breed is now known as both the Tiffany and as the Chantilly and the names Tiffany and Chantilly have been copyrighted to prevent others from using the names and creating more confusion.
Tiffanys have “moderate” temperaments not too docile, not too active in fact, say fanciers, just right. Their voices are soft and sweet, and they enjoy a good conversation that consists of “chirps” That sound a bit like pigeons cooing.
Owners report that their Tiffany companions love to snuggle with their favorite humans. Another Tiffany favorite is the crackle of crisp cellophane.
Tiffanys often bond with one or two family members and become devoted and loving companions, but are polite in their quest for attention. They’ll follow you everywhere but won’t force their affection on you, which makes them perfect companions for the cat lover who doesn’t want an all-present, all-the-time feline. Don’t get the idea that Tiffanys don’t need human companionship, though. If left without human companionship for long periods, they become depressed. Although they are loyal and loving to their favorite humans, Tiffanys don’t like to talk to strangers.
The ideal Tiffany/Chantilly is a striking feline with a semi-foreign body style and a full semi-long coat. The coat is silky, soft, and smooth; the lack of undercoat makes grooming easy. The neck ruff frames and softens the contours of the face. Ear furnishings extend from inside the ear like long streamers. Somewhat a late bloomer, the Tiffany is slow to mature and usually doesn’t come into its full glory until about two years. The eye color intensifies with age.
Originally found only in chocolate, todays Tiffany/Chantilly comes in a range of colors and patterns. The color, like the coat, develops late.
- N/A Activity
- N/A Playfulness
- N/A Need for Attention
- N/A Affection
- N/A Need to Vocalize
- N/A Docility
- N/A Intelligence
- N/A Independence
- N/A Healthiness and Hardiness
- N/A Grooming needs
- N/A Good with children
- N/A Good with other pets
General: (AACE standard)
The overall impression of the ideal Chantilly would be a semi foreign cat of striking appearance resulting from the combination of its rich color and full, silky semi-longhair coat, plumed tail, contrasting neck ruff, and ear furnishings.
Body: Semi-foreign, medium long, rectangular in shape; heavier than its size suggests; bone structure medium.
Head: Shortened, broad, modified wedge with gentle contours; slight indication on gently sloped, medium-length nose; strong, broad, short and softly squared muzzle; defined but not prominent whisker pads.
Ears: Well-spaced, medium-sized with moderately rounded tips; placed in line with wedge, tilting slightly forward.
Eyes: Set far apart on slight angle; flattened top plane and rounded underneath; modified oval shape. Color ranges from yellow to gold; green halo around pupil permissible.
Tail: Well plumed; medium length; proportional to body length; tapering from base to tip; not whippy.
Coat: Semi-longhair; full with silky light texture at maturity; slow to develop fully expressed by about 24 months; length approximately 2 inches (5.1 cm); longer coat permissible providing texture is appropriate; hair forms “petticoats” on hind legs.
Color: Chocolate, blue, cinnamon, lilac, and fawn; accepted patterns are solid, mackerel, ticked, and spotted tabby. Color is rich; shading in solids may occur toward the underside.
Disqualify: Blue eyes; white lockets and any manifestation of white spotting.
Allowable outcrosses: None.