The Persian cat we know today in all its various color forms is one of the oldest pedigree breeds around.
It also has one of the longest and bushiest coats among the long-haired group of cats. The incredible density of the Persian coat is due to the combination of a large amount of ‘down’ or fine hair, and long ‘guard’ hair. This characteristic makes them the softest-coated breed of pet cat. The dense coat also means that Persians are high maintenance, as they require constant grooming to prevent the fur from matting and knotting.
The Victorian Persian, or late 19th century white-coated cat, was originally crossed with an Angora type to produce the Persian long-haired cat. The earliest European and American forms were white with blue eyes. There were also a number of crosses with blue, cream and black long-haired varieties that produced the orange-eyed form. The two eye-color forms were characterized separately just before the Second World War. Persian kittens may display dark markings on the head, but these usually disappear as they mature.
There is a ‘Peke-faced’ variety of the Persian cat, recognized in the USA, that may still await recognition from breed associations in other countries.