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    Bombay and Asian Shorthair

    Bombay and Asian Shorthair


    Thailand, France


    The development of the original Bombay breed began in the United States in the 1950s, although the present Bombay look was not achieved until 1965. The breed was developed using black American Shorthairs and American Burmese with the specific aim of recreating the appearance of a black leopard in miniature (hence one of its nicknames the parlor panther). The breed name alludes to India, where black leopards (black panthers) are not uncommon. Breed creator Nikki Horner wanted to create a cat with the sleek coat and muscular conformation of the Burmese, the inky color of a black American Shorthair, and bright copper eyes that are often likened to new pennies. BibleAlthough recognized by the CFA in the 1976 and by TICA in 1979, the Bombay remains rare.

    Because the American Burmese differs greatly in conformation from the European Burmese recognized in Europe and Australasia, outside of North America, the Bombay has been recreated to conform to European Burmese standards. In the United Kingdom, the Bombay forms part of the Asian Self grouping, which encompasses cats of the European Burmese type, but with solid coloration rather than the sepia-pointed pattern of the Burmese.

    In the United Kingdom, the Bombay (or European Bombay) arose in two ways. Solid black Burmese occurred in Burmese litters in England as far back as the 1960s. Although they attracted interest at shows, they did not go forward as a breed. The modern European Bombay began in the 1980s, when Burmese breeders decided that non-sepia-pointed Burmese, including the solid black color, would make an attractive addition to the show bench. Because American Burmese are not recognized in the United Kingdom and are not allowed to be crossed to European Burmese, UK breeders had to start from scratch. The new breed was registered as the Asian Self, and the black Asian Self is also known as the Bombay. This Bombay breed was recognized in the United Kingdom in 1990, with other solid colors being recognized in 1994.

    Although the Bombay in the United Kingdom is part of a wider group of breeds that began with the Burmilla, in the United States, there has been no attempt to breed other solid-color or nonsepia Burmese. Kittens with Burmese color restriction still occur in Asian Self and American Bombay litters due to recessive genes and are registered as Asian Variants.

    In continental Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, new lines of Bombay, meeting the European Burmese conformation, were developed from local lines of European Burmese and black shorthairs. American Bombays have been imported into a few parts of Europe by those who consider the black self Asian Shorthairs to be pretenders to the Bombay name. In New Zealand, the Asian Shorthair group is called the Mandalay, with the black self Mandalay being analogous to the Bombay. The Mandalay began with accidental matings between Burmese and other domestic cats in the 1980s and were recognized in 1990. British-bred Bombays have also been used in some Mandalay bloodlines.

    Physical description

    In the United States, the Bombay, except for its solid color, conforms to the American Burmese standard. This means a robustly built, muscular, and medium-sized cat with a rounded head; large eyes, set wide apart; and ears set wide apart. Outside of the United States, the Bombay conforms to the more Oriental (foreign) type of the European Burmese: the body is lighter in build and the head forms a short wedge, slightly rounded at the top and with a longer muzzle than that of the breed's American counterpart. To ensure the coat and conformation remains close to the Burmese, the Bombay is crossed to the Burmese in the United States and to the European Burmese and Asian elsewhere. Those differences aside, the Bombay resembles a miniature black panther.

    Colors and varieties

    The signature color of the Bombay is the deepest, densest, inkiest black imaginable, with eyes ranging from deep gold to copper. The black coat should shine like patent leather. In the United States, only the Bombay is recognized. In Britain and continental Europe, "Bombay" is a synonym for the black self Asian Shorthair. In New Zealand, the black self Mandalay is analogous to the European-style Bombay.


    The Bombay's temperament reflects its origin. This cat combines the easy-going nature of the American Shorthair (or British/European Shorthair outside of the United States) with the adaptable, inquisitive, social nature of the Burmese. Bombays are intelligent cats who enjoy interaction with their humans and enjoy playing games. Their playfulness and intelligence mean they can often be trained to walk on a leash or to do agility activities. Many Bombays will helpfully retrieve toys thrown by their owners. Like Burmese, Bombays enjoy snuggling up to their owners, whether on a lap or under the bedcovers. Their sociability and playfulness mean they need company and interaction during the day, either with humans or with other similarly active cats.

    Activity level


    Vocal level

    Moderate; like their Burmese ancestors, Bombays have a distinctive voice, although some Bombays are much more talkative than others.

    Special needs

    The short, sleek coat needs little maintenance. Loose hairs can be removed with a quick rubdown with a rubber brush. The coat benefits from being stroked with the palm of your hand to maintain its sheen-something the affectionate Bombay will enjoy as much as her owner.


    In addition to the Bombay, there are other Burmese-type cats without the form of partial albinism that results in the unique color of the Burmese breed. These include New Zealand's Mandalay, which are bred in solid colors and in tabby and tortie patterns; and the Asian Shorthair group in Europe, which includes tabbies, torties, smokes, and shaded and tipped varieties. The tipped Asian Shorthair is recognized under the name Burmilla. Semi-longhaired varieties are recognized in Europe as the Asian Longhair group, also known as the Tiffanie (not to be confused with the Australian Tiffanie or the American Chantilly/Tiffany).

    Blue Self

    Black Smoke

    From The Cat Bible, Copyright by Sandy Robins, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with I-5 Press

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