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The Tonkinese has a winsome personality, not surprising since the Burmese and Siamese are prized for their temperaments. Faithful followers say the Tonkinese has the best of both breeds. His voice is milder in tone than the Siamese; however, he does believe in feline free speech and wants to share all of the day's adventures with you when you come home in the evening. The Tonkinese craves, and returns, affection and companionship. Unlike the rest of your busy family, he will always join you for dinner. He has an unflagging enthusiasm for life and life's pleasures, and loves interactive toys such as human fingers and the tails of his cat companions. He makes every close encounter a game. While Tonkinese cats willingly adapt to humans and animals alike, they may annoy more sedate breeds and therefore might do better with members of their own breed or other active breeds.
Tonkinese are particularly popular among cat lovers who remember the Traditional Siamese and want a cat with a less extreme body style than currently exists in the show Siamese. The waiting list can therefore be long, since numbers are currently low.
The Burmese gene responsible for the sable color is a member of the albino series of gene alleles and causes solid black to appear dark brown by reducing the amount of pigment in the hair. The Siamese gene for point-restricted color is also part of this alleles series. Because the Siamese gene is only partially recessive to the Burmese gene, the Tonkinese can come in three patterns: solid, like the Burmese; pointed, like the Siamese; and mink, a combination of the two. Mink used to refer to the look and feel of the Tonkinese's soft silky coat, but now refers to the mink pattern unique to the Tonkinese. With this pattern, the shading from point color to body color is subtle and not as sharply defined as with the pointed pattern. The body displays a pale to medium shade of the darker point color.
Tonkinese that display the pointed or solid pattern are called 'variants' in some associations. The CFA, for example, does not allow variants (called Any Other Variety or AOVs) to be shown for Championship competition. However, variants are important in Tonkinese breeding programs. Breeding two mink Tonkinese cats together produces offspring with an average color ratio of 1:2:1, 25 percent solid, 50 percent mink, and 25 percent pointed Tonkinese; however, breeding a pointed Tonkinese to a solid Tonkinese will produce 100 percent mink Tonkinese.
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