In the Oriental breed group there are six breeds of cats: Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Shorthair, Oriental Longhair (Javanese), Seychellois Shorthair and Seychellois Longhair. Each of these breeds are the same cat underneath the coat: They all have the same conformation or ‘type’ and the same breed standard. It is only the colouring and the fur length that sets them apart as separate breeds. See table below.
|Full colour expression||Oriental Shorthair||Javanese/ Oriental Longhair|
|Pointed pattern with white patching||Seychellois Shorthair||Seychellois Longhair|
The Balinese is quite simply a longhaired Siamese. The Balinese coat is long, fine and silky. The fur lies close to the body, outlining the elegant physique beneath. The tail, however, should be full and a big, plumed tail is most desirable. Because of the coat the Balinese tends to have a softer, less exaggerated look than the Siamese. And many owners claim that their while their Balinese are extremely people-orientated and playful, they are milder in nature than their Siamese cousins. This could be attributed to the quieter longhaired breeds used in the early Balinese breeding programme. The breed is relatively new and was introduced in the 1970s. Colours permitted are the same as for the Siamese: Seal point, blue point, chocolate point, lilac point, cinnamon point, fawn point, caramel point, red point, cream point and apricot point. They come in solid, tortie and tabby varieties as well as pure white (no points). The eyes are always blue.
Bi-coloured Balinese (pointed with white) are known as Seychellois Longhairs because the white patching produces a pattern that is quite different from the regular pointed pattern. It is completely random and different everytime so each Seychellois has its own unique pattern. Seychellois Longhairs are very rare in the UK.
The Javanese is now, more correctly, known in the UK as the Oriental Longhair, though this is more of a description than a name. It’s an Oriental cat but with a long, swishy coat like that of the Balinese. This cat has full colour expression, which means the that colour is not limited to the ‘points’ as it is in the Siamese and Balinese. The colour palette for this breed is very wide. There are the 10 main colours, 7 torties, 5 different tabby patterns (including shaded), silver and gold base-colour as well as bi-colours (any colour/pattern with white). The eye colour should always be green.
This breed has a scattered heritage as it was bred, from around the 1970s, similtaneously in different countries under different names. In Britain it was known as the Angora, in the Netherlands it was called the Mandarin and elsewhere the Javanese. Several different breeds were used in creating this type of cat so its origins are not precisely known but the basic template has always been Oriental.
Balinese and Javanese cats are fun, people-loving characters. They are intelligent cats and can be trained (though are more likely to train you). They like to play fetch, walk on a harness and lead, ride on shoulders and wrap your heart around their squirrel tail. Beware: once you’ve tried these cats there is no going back, you’ll be hooked for life. They are extremely sociable and are not suited to being only cats.