Tradition says these were ancient Burmese temple cats, who miraculously acquired their white paws and golden dusted coat. There are various claims as to when they were first taken to Europe but they were certainly in France by 1920, recognized there under the name Sacred Cat of Burma in 1925 and developed by French breeders, not reaching the USA until 1959 — nor Britain until 1964.
Though this strong and muscular cat combines point markings with long fur it should look neither like a Siamese nor a Persian but has its own distinctive appearance. The Birman pattern consists of dark points as in the Siamese but the paws have white 'gloves', which on the front paws end in an even line across the paw at or before the angle formed by the paw and leg; on the back feet they cover all the paw and taper up the back of the leg, not going beyond the hock.
The coat of the original seal color is a clear beige with a golden hue and the CFA standard asks for a 'golden mist' on the back and sides of blue, chocolate and lilac coats as well (the extent of its color range). The GCCF expects any body tints to be as in similar color Siamese, though a warm-toned shading across the shoulders is also favored by breeders.
Long and massive, set on heavy, medium-long legs with big strong round paws; tail medium long.
Broad rounded skull, medium long nose with a slight dip but no stop, slightly convex; full cheeks, rounded muzzle and a strong chin; ears medium high, almost as wide as tall, spaced well apart and as much to the side as the top of the head.
Almost round, the outer corner tilted very slightly upward, set well apart; blue, the deeper the better.
Medium to long, silky and non-matting with a heavy ruff, slight curls on the stomach, short on the face but longer on the outer edge of the cheeks.
Seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream solid points and tortie, tabby and tortie-tabby variations on these, but only seal, blue, chocolate and lilac in CFA.