Himalayan commonly known as Himmie for short, can be described as a Persian in Siamese drag, loving but perceptive. In the 1950s, British and North American breeders became interested in achieving a Siamese-pointed Persian.
Starting with the Cobb-Keeler “recipe” to get the colorpoint pattern, they then bred the cats back to Persians to establish breed type. Once the cats bred true, recognition as a breed was sought.
Whether he is considered a variety of Persian or a distinct breed depends on which cat association you talk to. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the Himalayan as a distinct breed in 1957, but in 1984 the CFA Board of Directors decided to reclassify the Himalayan as a colour variety of the Persian.
The American Cat Association also considers the Himalayan a colour variety of the Persian, and The International Cat Association recognizes the Himmie as a member of its “Persian Group,” which includes the Persian and the Exotic Shorthair.
White persian himalayan catThe Cat Fanciers’ Association considers the Himalayan Persian simply a color variation of the Persian rather than a separate breed, although they do compete in their own color division. It was for the color that the breed was named “Himalayan”: a reference to the coloration of Himalayan animals, in particular the Himalayan rabbit.
It has been suggested that the Persian long-haired cats are descended from Pallas’s cat, Felis manul, a wild cat that inhabits central Asia and which is unmarked with spots or stripes and has very long soft fur.
There is, however, no osteological or other evidence for this and it is more likely that the long-haired domestic cats are the result of artificial selection for this characteristic by man. Due to their Persian ancestry, some Himalayans may have the gene that causes Polycystic kidney disease, (PKD); however, a genetic test can reveal which cats carry the PKD gene, so that they may be spayed or neutered.
The Himalayan is an ideal indoor companion; it speaks more and is more active than the Persian, but is quieter than the Siamese.
Though gentle and peace-loving, the Himalayan loves playing games such as fetch and getting into mischief, though it can be kept amused by simplest toy or even a piece of paper. In addition, a Himalayan can become extremely attached to its owner, demanding constant attention and pampering.