The history of the development of the Asian Group, of which the Tiffanie is a part, began with a happy accident back in 1981.
Miranda von Kirchberg (Bickford-Smith by marriage), who was a successful and well-known Russian Blue breeder with the prefix Astahazy, had purchased a male Chinchilla (Persian type) cat as a pet for her husband. This cat was called Jemari Sanquist, and just before he was due to be neutered, he managed to gain access to one of Miranda’s Burmese females, Bambino Lilac Fabergé. On the 11st of September, this mating produced a litter of four females of mostly Burmese ‘type’ (body format), but with the Black Silver Shaded appearance coming from the Chinchilla. Miranda was so taken with the appearance of these accidental kittens that she decided to look at developing it into a breed in its own right.
Miranda and one of her friends, Thérèse Clarke (Kartush), began working with these striking cats, and decided on the name Burmilla, as a contraction of the Burmese and Chinchilla names. As development conditioned, Miranda became interested in the range of different colours, patterns and even the two coat lengths that the future matings produced. She formed the the Asian Group Cat Society (AGCS) in 1985 to develop this whole group within the GCCF. Meanwhile, the Clarkes continued with the original Black Silver Shaded Burmillas, working towards having them accepted within the Cat Associaiton of Great Britain, rather than the GCCF.
The GCCF awarded preliminary recognition to the five breeds of the Asian Group in 1990. The Asian Smokes, Burmillas and Tabbies were awarded Championship status in 1997, followed by the Asian Selfs in 2000, and finally the Tiffanies in 2003. Since gaining full recognition, the group has taken numerous Best of Variety awards at the GCCF Supreme Show, which is the top show in the GCCF calender – the feline equivalent of Crufts.
In 1988, only 67 cats of the Asian Group were registered. By 1993, the GCCF was registering over 200 cats of the Asian Group per year. Since 1996, the annual registration has been over 500 cats per year, although at its peak in 2001 there were 733 registered! Unfortunately, there are no figures published as to what proportion of this number are Tiffanies, so it is difficult to know how they are progressing as a breed in their own right, however, there are no Imperial Tiffanies at all, only five Grand Champions, and just the one Grand Premier, Annas owned by Heather MCrae & Richard Gabb, by our good friends from Scotland “Cagaran Cats”
Tiffanies come in seventeen colours – four ‘dominant': Black, Chocolate, Cinnamon and Red; the ‘dilutes’ of these: Blue, Lilac, Fawn and Cream; the ‘dilution modified’ Caramel and Apricot, and the ‘Tortie’ versions (excluding Red/Cream/Apricot). All colours can be ‘Self’ (solid), or can be combined with various Tabby patterns (Ticked, Spotted, Mackerel and Classic). They can also be ‘Shaded’ either with or without Silver, or if they are a self combined with Silver to become a ‘Smoke’. All colours and patterns also come in either ‘Full Expression’ or ‘Burmese Restriction’, where the colour is paled slightly, with the head, tail and legs being darker than the body. This gives a total of over 400 possible combinations, and if you include the paler form of shading, ‘tipping’ as a separate pattern, there are almost 500 combinations.