History of The Persian Cat

Traditional vs extreme persian. Then and now.

Persian cats have transformed dramatically over the last century – from traditional to extreme; mesocephalic to brachycephalic. The pressure from artificial selection has made these cats unrecognizable from their ancestors.

Historically, persian cats are descendants of Angora cats crossed with British longhairs. The Persian breed was founded in Persia, today’s Iran. Royal families adored them for their luxurious coats, well mannered personality, and affection-seeking nature. They were shipped to the United States, sometime between 1500 – 1800 (CFA breed council).

Visionary breeders selectively bred a subset of traditional persians into modern day flat and peke-face Persians. The longhaired ancestor was a short, broad cat with good bone structure, and a protruding, well rounded snout. The Persian today remains a short, broad cat with good bone structure, but the head is much more rounded and breeders have accomplished a peke-face look (ie. pig face). Per modern breed standard, the break of the nose must be centered between the eyes,  and the snout must be flush with the rest of the face. The eyes are also set further apart on the face and are rounder. Today, flat and peke-faced Persians overtake doll face Persians in the show ring and some say in homes.

At Ethereal Persians Cattery, we aim to produce doll face persians; termed after their doll-like facial appearance. Doll face persians exhibit midstream features from both tradition and extreme persians.  They are characterized by a muzzle that slightly protrudes and a nose that is below the lower eye lid.  Doll faces have a snout that is shorter than that of the traditional persian and longer than that of the extreme persian. We breed towards the exaggerated extreme coat better represented by modern day persians.


Domestic cat phylogeny showing persian ancestry in relation to other breeds.