The Persian is a popular breed of domestic cat known for its long hair and flattened face.
Scientific & Common Names
Species: F. catus
Common Names: Persian, Persian Longhair, Iranian Cat (Middle East), Shirazi Cat (Iran)
Persians have long fur coats that can be bred in a variety of colors. They are also known for their rounded heads and flattened faces, with the muzzle barely projecting further than the rest of the face.
The traditional, older version of the breed featured a longer, more pronounced muzzle, but so-called “cat fanciers” tend to prefer the more flat-faced variety. Selective breeding was responsible for adding new color options for the cat’s fur, but also led to the more “smushed” look of their faces.
Persians are gentle and quiet in temperament. They are more likely to be found lounging in a box or on a chair or couch than climbing up the walls and shelves or performing feats of feline athleticism.
Persians have something of a clouded history. Their name comes from Persia, the former name for what is now Iran. Long-haired cats were imported from Persia to Italy around 1620, and the breed was further developed in England, and then the United States after World War II.
However, the cat’s origins in Persia may not be the beginning, as long-haired cats show up in hieroglyphics as far back as 1684 B.C.
Persian cats are popular breeds, despite some persistent health problems. Due to the shortened face, breathing difficulties and skin/eye problems can be common.
However, that has not stopped the breed from frequently holding the crown of most popular pedigree cat breed in North America, and it is equally popular in many other parts of the world.