(CAT WORLD (International) - Jan/Feb 1977)
(From Amanda Bright’s Collection)

Persian breeders have long dreamed of creating a Brown Persian, a cat with fine Persian conformation in a rich chocolate-brown color. That dream is fast becoming a reality with the development of the Chocolate Longhair. What is more, the chocolate brown color is only one of a whole range of beautiful new colors, including Lilac, Chocolate Tortoise-shell, Lilac-Cream and related colors. As a consequence, Persian breeders in the U.S. and throughout the world are now faced with exciting opportunities for the development of these new colors.


Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs in the U.S. trace their origins to the independent efforts of Brian Stirling-Webb in England and Regina van Wessem in the Netherlands. While the work of both breeders was cut short by their deaths, each undertook an informed and deliberate program to develop the new colors. Each, in turn, made important contributions to the current efforts at type improvement in the U.S.

During the 1950's, Brian Stirling-Webb, Briarry Cattery, first set out to transfer the Chocolate and Lilac colors to the Longhair. The aim of his breeding program was to transfer the recessive factor responsible for the Chocolate color (see discussion of genetics of chocolate and related colors which follows) from the Chocolatepoint Shorthair to the Longhair, while simultaneously working toward the conformation characteristics of the established Persian colors. In this process he made use of the finest English Persians available including the famous CH. FOXBURROW FRIVOLOUS, bred by Mr. P.M. Soderberg and owned by Joan Thompson. The first step in this breeding program was to initiate a series of crosses between Chocolatepoint Shorthairs (Siamese) and top quality Persians. The resulting shorthair kittens, which varied in color depending on the color of Persian used, all carried the recessive factor for chocolate and that for longhair. The next step was to cross these shorthairs with one another in an attempt to "double up" both recessives in a single cat. This goal was attained with the birth of BRIARRY BRUNO, the first Chocolate Longhair of record in the English cat fancy. BRUNO was out of GADEFORD BAGHEERA, a Chocolate Shorthair, and BRIARRY FFROLIC, a Blue Cream Shorthair. Each of these cats trace their ancestry back to Persians {CH. FOXBURROW FRIVOLOUS behind BAGHEERA and PELHAM PUFFBALL behind FFROLIC), as well as Siamese. Contrary to recent statements, BRUNO’s sire was not a "Havana Brown".

Mrs. Harding, Mingchiu Cattery, worked with Mr. Stirling-Webb to produce the first Lilac Longhair, MINGCHIU LILAK, a female sired by BRIARRY BRUNO. After Mr. Stirling- Webb’s death, Mrs. Harding continued work with the new colors in England. MINGCHIU LILAK played a major role in the Mingchiu line of Chocolate and Lilac Solid and Colorpoint Longhairs (the latter being classified as Chocolatepoint and Lilacpoint Himalayans in most U.S. associations). In particular, two of LILAK's sons, CH. MINGCHIU CHIRK and MINGCHIU KOHCOH, have played critical roles in the development of the new colors. CHIRK, a Bluepoint Longhair, has been a major source of type improvement in the Mingchiu Chocolate and Lilac Solids and Colorpoints, while KOHCOH, a Chocolate Longhair, provided the foundation for the three-generation Chocolate x Chocolate breeding process required in order to obtain Governing Council of the Cat Fancy recognition of the Chocolate Persian.

Working independently of the English breeders, Regina van Wessem, Siyah Gush Cattery, created her own line of Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs in The Netherlands. The first Siyah Gush Chocolate Longhair was produced "accidentally" in the course of a breeding program designed to create Colorpoint Longhairs (Himalayans). A Sealpoint Siamese female of unknown genetic background was bred to a White Persian male; a Black Longhair male from the litter was kept to breed back to his mother. One litter from this mother-son breeding included a Brown Longhair female who was named SIYAH GUSH CHENG SEN. After the surprise arrival of CHENG SEN, Miss van Wessem set out to understand the genetics of the new color. Accomplishing this, she established a systematic breeding program involving some U.S. stock imported to Europe. The Siyah Gush line provided some of the better type Chocolate and Lilac imports to the U.S. during the period from 1970-1973. Although Miss van Wessem's work was cut short by a fatal heart attack in the Spring of 1973, Mrs. Prose, Hoog Moersbergen, has carried on her work in The Netherlands. (More information on the "Dutch Chocolates" can be found in Mrs. Prose's article in "Cat World, Best of Volume 1").

The first Chocolate Longhair in North America was BRIARRY MOULD OF TAHMA, a Chocolate male imported in 1963 by Margaret Ewins, Tahma Cattery, Montreal, Canada. Work with the Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs in the U.S. dates back to 1969 when four Mingchiu Chocolates were imported by the Schneiders (Assissi), Elinor Pittman (Pitt's), Mrs. Skubina (Valentine) and this writer (Miversnit). The latter three breeders imported Chocolate males, MINGCHIU OSARI MINGCHIU BONZO and MINGCHIU PHILO, each of which made important contributions to establishing the new colors in the U.S.

In these "early days", U.S. breeders had a very limited breeding stock to work with: the Chocolate Longhairs listed above and a few imported Mingchiu Chocolatepoint and Lilacpoint Longhairs (Himalayans) and their offspring. This stock was relatively inbred and fell short of the desired Persian conformation. In 1970, American breeders "discovered" Regina van Wessem and began importing Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs from The Netherlands. These cats had a much different "look" than the Mingchiu imports. Their bodies tended to be more compact and their heads had a characteristic wedge shape. Initially, American breeders hoped that by crossing English and Dutch stock they could move toward the desired Persian type. Generally, however, these crosses have not been successful (that is, they have not produced offspring which are substantially better than the best parent), and so breeders have turned increasingly to crossing to the established Persian colors for type improvement.

Parallel to the efforts at type improvement has been an effort to extend the range of colors available in the Chocolate Spectrum. In 1972, the first Chocolate Tortoiseshell LH in the U.S., MIVERSNIT'S MARMELADE, made her appearance at Miversnit Cattery; in 1973 the first Lilac-Cream Longhair, MIVERSNIT'S AMBROSIA, arrived. The Chocolate Tortie features red and cream patching on a rich chocolate brown background, while the combination of cream patching on a pale lavender background makes the Lilac Cream a thing of incredible beauty. Spring, 1975, saw the birth of the first Lilac-&-White Bicolor, MIVER- SNIT'S SPLASH, and more new colors in the Bicolor group are expected this year. This newest group of colors is produced by transferring the dominant White-spotting factor from the Bicolor Persians to the Chocolate and Lilac Solids and Particolors. Other new colors, including Chocolate and Lilac Smokes, Shadeds and Tabbies, will doubtless make their appearance as interest in the "Chocolate Spectrum" grows among Persian breeders.

[Note: This was the terminology and state of understanding in 1973; today we understand that chocolate is an allele on the “black” locus, not an addition to black.]

All these new Persian colors have been produced by adding a single recessive genetic factor, the browning gene (symbolized "b"), to the recognized Persian colors. Thus, the Chocolate Longhair is a Black Longhair plus two doses of the browning gene (one from each parent), while the Lilac Longhair is a Blue Longhair (i.e. the maltese dilute of Black) plus a double dose of the browning gene. Readers familiar with the genetics of the established Persian colors can readily work out the genetics of all the new colors by simply adding homozygosity for the browning gene (bb). For example, the Chocolate Tortoiseshell is the familiar (Black) Tortoiseshell plus the recessive pair (bb), while the Lilac Cream is a Blue Cream plus the recessive pair (bb).

Just as the maltese dilute (dd) changes Black to Blue, the browning gene (bb) changes Black to Brown (Chocolate), but, unlike the maltese dilute, the browning gene does not change Red to Cream. The Chocolate Tortoiseshell, for example, exhibits the same Red and Cream patching as the "Black" Tortoiseshell. Unfortunately, American cat fanciers have been subjected to a bit of misinformation in this regard and, as a consequence, some associations have written standards for a Chocolate Cream color in their Colorpoint Shorthairs and Longhairs. Such standards do not correspond to any genetically distinct variety. The Chocolate Tortoiseshell will be identical to the Black (or Seal) Tortoise-shell with regard to the distribution of Red and Cream patching, and so one would expect similar standards for both. In the Lilac Cream, as in the Blue Cream, the maltese di-lute (dd) operates to "dilute" the Red in the patching to Cream.


As we have seen, the Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs and related colors trace their origins to some of the finest Persian bloodlines - CH. FOXBURROW FRIVOLOUS in England, and Gallahad Whites and European Blues on the Continent. Most breeders in the U.S. are making systematic use of established Persian lines in their breeding, and all are committed to breeding the new colors of the Chocolate Spectrum to Persian type and conformation. The success of these efforts can be seen in the Miversnit and other cats pictured here, most of whom trace their ancestry to the famous Jeannel, Bloemhill and Erman Persian bloodlines. In the early days, breeders were hampered by the poor type of the first specimens and by the corresponding refusal of most associations to recognize the new colors for championship competition as Persians. Recently, as breeders have begun to produce Chocolate and Lilac solids and particolors with the desired Persian conformation, some American associations have responded by accepting the new colors within the Persian classification.

Still, work with the new colors is being hampered by the refusal of most associations, CFA in particular, to allow them to participate in championship competition. If, during the 1950s, someone had found a Chocolate Longhair on the street, taken it in and registered it as a Brown (Chocolate) Persian, there would be no problem obtaining Persian recognition for these new colors in CFA. This is precisely the route to recognition followed by the Calico and Bicolor Persians. Chocolate Longhairs have occurred "naturally” (i.e. accidentally) in both the U.S. and England, but all our present breeding stock was produced by intentional, recorded crosses between Persians and Shorthairs to obtain the desired color factor, followed by years of selective breeding with extensive use of Persians to eliminate all the characteristics of the Shorthair except the single gene responsible for the chocolate color. Yet, because the original crosses used to create these new colors involved Persians and Siamese, CFA and most other U.S. associations have insisted on registering these new colors as "Himalayans". These associations then refuse to allow championship competition for these colors on the grounds that they are not "really" Himalayans (i.e. not Colorpoints). This situation illustrates the problems generated by breed classification systems which are based on politics — who wants what to be where — rather than on biologically sound principles.

At present, the Chocolate and Lilac Persians have been recognized for championship competition by American Cat Association (ACA), the oldest of the U.S. associations. HA-LEE CHOCOLATE FUDGE, bred by Les and Hazel Lehman (Ha-Lee Cattery), was the first U.S. Champion Chocolate Persian and HA-LEE CHOCOLATE DELIGHT was the first of this color to win Best Cat. In most other U.S. associations, the Chocolate, Lilac and related Persian colors must be exhibited as AOV Himalayans.


In England, the Chocolate and Lilac Persians were sometimes referred to as "Self Chocolate" and "Self Lilac" Longhairs, presumably to distinguish them from the Chocolatepoint and Lilacpoint Longhairs which were being developed at about the same time. The term "Self" simply means solid color, nothing more. Thus, the English may refer to the solid color Red Persian as a "Self Red" to distinguish it from a Red Tabby. In the U.S. where the term "Self" is not generally used, some have interpreted it as having something to do with the Chocolate and Lilac colors. For example, another cat publication placed the original advertising for the Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs under the heading "Self Longhairs" (over the objection of the advertiser — me), despite the fact that the "Chocolate Spectrum" includes particolors as well as solid color cats. In fact, "Self" has nothing to do with the Chocolate and Lilac colors and responsible breeders are seeking to discourage this distorted usage. One reasonable policy seems to be that if you want to call the Blue Persian a "Self Blue", the Black Persian a "Self Black", the Red Persian a "Self Red", etc., then you can also call the Chocolate and Lilac Persians "Self Chocolate" and "Self Lilac". Otherwise you would do well to keep the term "Self" to yourself!


As most breeders know, there are two genetically distinct Brown Shorthairs, the Chocolate Shorthair (Havana Brown in U.S.) and the Burmese. Although each is produced by adding a recessive color factor to a Black cat, they are not produced by the same color factors. The colors are qualitatively distinct, with the Burmese shorthair having a darker brown color with traces of points, while the Chocolate shorthair has a solid milk-chocolate color. These two Brown shorthairs are produced by two different recessive color factors so that a cross between them would produce not Brown but Black kittens. Thus they are not compatible for breeding purposes (i.e. so long as the aim is to produce Brown cats).

While the Chocolate, Lilac and related colors in Longhairs were produced by transferring the Chocolate color factor (b) from the Chocolatepoint Siamese to the Longhair, other breeders have transferred the Burmese color factor (cb) to the Longhair producing a Burmese Longhair. It is important to realize that the Chocolate Longhairs and the Burmese Longhairs have different origins, different genetics and different color possibilities. For example, there is no color analogue in the Burmese Longhair to the Lilac and related colors in the Chocolate Spectrum. The Chocolate Longhair and the Burmese Longhair are both Brown cats which have been consciously created by scientifically designed breeding programs. Since they have nothing else in common, they must face the battle for recognition separately. Only confusion could result from bringing them together.


The Chocolate and Lilac Longhairs stimulated a great deal of interest among Persian breeders in the early 1970s, but the poor type of available breeding stock, together with the conservatism of CFA and other large associations, have served to dampen that enthusiasm until quite recently. Meanwhile, a small group of dedicated breeders have worked patiently with crosses to established Persian colors to improve type and to expand the range of colors involving Chocolate and Lilac. Now a new era in the development of these new colors is dawning as Chocolate and Lilacs of Persian type are produced and used to promote Persian recognition for the new colors.

At this critical time, it may be useful for U.S. breeders working with the Chocolates and Lilacs to compare their situation with that of the U.S. Bicolor breeders only a few short years ago. Both the Bicolors and the Chocolates and Lilacs were created through the transfer of a color factor from Shorthair cats to the Persian, and both were imported to the U.S. with Shorthairs in the pedigrees. Similarly, both the Bicolors and the Chocolate and Lilac imports were poor in type and stimulated no immediate surge of interest. The genetic factor responsible for the Bicolor colors, however, is a dominant one and so the process of type improvement has been much more rapid for the Bicolor breeders than for those working with the recessive Chocolate color factor. Another difference is that Bicolor breeders were able to use CFA recognition of the Calico Persian as a "lever" to promote recognition of the other colors produced by the Bicolor factor. Chocolate and Lilac breeders, in turn, may use the CFA recognition of the Bicolors as championship Persian colors to promote recognition of the Chocolate and Lilac solids and particolors as legitimate Persian colors. In accepting the Bicolors as Persians, CFA implicitly accepted the historical diversity of the Persian breed. Since the Shorthair backgrounds of Bicolors and Chocolates alike date back to before the time when CFA ended open registration for Persians, there is no logical basis for denying Persian recognition to either set of colors. It is up to the breeders working with these new colors to mobilize support for recognition by showing good type specimens and by seeking to educate judges and fellow breeders. In the end, this effort will be successful. The only question now is how far off that end is.

Editor's Note: Interested readers are invited to write letters giving their opinions on Mr. Horan's article and the future of the Chocolate & Lilac LHs.

CAT WORLD (International) Mar/Apr, 1977
(From Amanda Bright’s Collection)

At four weeks of age, the little DOUCE ROSE crawled out of her basket. Caught by the rays of sunshine, her plump, fluffy body was like a pink powderpuff. She is a Lilac-Cream Persian and the well intermingled pastel colors on her back appear as a very soft pink. She is the result of many years of breeding planned to make my husband's dream of a pink cat come true. A cat just as pink as the pink cats, rabbits and elephants in children's books – of course, we will never get one that pink because the pink of paint is not the same as a living coat color, but DOUCE ROSE is the answer to his dream.

ESTHER is the genetical counterpart of ROSE. She is a Chocolate Tortie, a milk chocolate sundae with cherries -chocolate brown with red patches. Lilac-Cream is the dilution of Chocolate Tortie. ESTHER, a beloved pet of another family, is not willing to mate; when she is brought here to stud with her own basket, cushion and drinking bowls, she has a determined look on her face with which we are very familiar - she does not like this boy and, anyway, she hates car riding! We will have to find another female to use in our breeding program to produce the rainbow of many colors which can be obtained from chocolate.

What is chocolate? It is the color of the Havana (Ed. note - Oriental Chestnut SH), of the Chocolate Longhair, of the "points" of the Chocolate Point Siamese and Himalayan. It is not the color of the Burmese.

Chocolate is one of the dilutions of black. It can be carried by both black and red. Its dilution is lilac when both partners are carrying blue.

Black and red are the 2 (only) principal colors. Black has the blue dilution and red the cream dilution. But when the "color restriction to the points” (Siamese, Himalayan factor) is involved somewhere in the line, black can be diluted in seal and chocolate. When chocolate and blue are carried by both partners, lilac is appearing. Red cannot carry black or seal, but it can carry chocolate and lilac.

If you are combining chocolate with another color which does not carry the dilution for chocolate you will only get classic colors.

Chocolate (with blue dilution) x Black or Blue = Black and Blue
Chocolate (with blue dilution) x Red or Cream = Tortie and Blue-Cream

If black or red is carrying chocolate or its dilution lilac, then you have the key which opens the door to a treasury of colors.

Chocolate (with blue dilution) x Black or Blue carriers = Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac

Chocolate (with blue dilution) x Red or Cream carriers = Chocolate Tortie, Lilac-Cream

Once you have these colors, you can combine them with any other kind of genetical factors. With silver or with white patches (as in the Calico), you can get delightful shades. Be careful, however, not to combine silver with white patches as you will get a lot of neither nors".

With the points factor in both partners, you can obtain all these colors on the "points” of the Siamese or Himalayan but I shall limit this article to colors all over the coat (as in the Persian) because some colors are much more beautiful this way. For example, a Chocolate Smoke Longhair is a magnificent creature, whilst a Chocolate Smoke Point Himalayan looks like a Chocolate Point with clouds and faint marks in the point color and does not match with any standard. A Chocolate Tabby Persian or Chocolate Tabby Himalayan are both beautiful.

It is up to the breeder to select from all these new colors. He or she must have an instinct for what will take the eye of people at a show. It must be a clear, definite color. It is useless to take a cat of a new color to show if the judge and exhibitors cannot see what is special about such a cat. It will only serve to reinforce the old-fashioned judge and breeder in their opinions that all these new colors obtained through genetic knowledge are worth nothing and an offence to "purity"!

If there is a kitten in one litter whose color is not desirable for showing as a new variety, it is very possible that this kitten can be used to breed another color which will be appreciated. Don't forget to pay attention to type; try to keep the best type with the best color because a new color with poor type is not progress.

Accompanying this article is a chart of all the colors you will be able to obtain out of a Chocolate or from cats of another color who are carrying chocolate. For example:

l. DOUCE ROSE has a Tortie Persian dam carrying chocolate. Her sire is a Lilac Point Himalayan. I would have preferred to use my Lilac Longhair male as he is not carrying the “points" factor, but he is her grandsire and I try to avoid inbreeding whenever possible because health is important, too.

2. A Black Persian female carrying chocolate, when mated to a Red-&-White male carrying lilac, produced: Chocolate-&-White, Lilac-&-White, Chocolate Tortie-&-White, Lilac-Cream-&-White.
These are wonderful shining colors when matched by flat face, round copper eyes and long coat.

3. A Black Smoke Persian female carrying chocolate, when mated by a Lilac Longhair male, produced Chocolate Smokes, Lilac Smokes, Chocolates and Lilacs.

There are so many different variations to do which can give wonderful colors and it is well worthwhile to try them. If CAT WORLD readers would like to breed for any of these new colors and do not know how, they may write to me and send a pedigree of the cats they intend to use. I shall be glad to help.

(Editors' note: Mrs. Prose's address is: Cattery Hoog-Moersbergen, Gastelseweg 45, Budel (N.-B.), Holland.)


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