Photo by © Bernadette

Tonkinese - Breed Profile:

Origin: USA
Colors: Natural, champagne, blue and platinum
Size: Medium
Coat Type(s): Shorthair
Grooming: Little
Talkativeness: Vocal
Activity Level: Very high
Attention Requirement: High
Overall: Moderately docile

Physical characteristics

The Tonkinese is a medium size cat with a well-muscled and athletic body. Neither svelte nor too stocky. The legs are slim, well-boned, and well-proportioned to the body. The tapering tail is well-proportioned too. The feet are oval. Tonkinese cats are rather heavy for their size: adult males weigh 8 to 12 pounds, adult females weigh 6 to 8 pounds. The head is wedge-shaped. The medium size ears are wide at the base, alert, with rounded tips. The eyes are almond-shaped and relatively large; they are slightly slanted along the cheekbones towards the outer edge of the ear. The eye colour fits the coat colour.


Tonks have inherited traits of both their parents. They are super-affectionate, smart and talkative like the Siamese, and super-devoted and playful like the Burmese. You will need a good cat tree (or even several ones) to satisfy this cat requirement to burn its energy. Tonks can make a toy out of everything, and they will gladly tell you all their kitty news when you get home. Their voice is softer than that of the Siamese. Highly intelligent, Tonks can be trained to play fetch and some other dog games. Tonkinese cats love attention and will wrap their velvet paws around any human who provides it. They demand to be family members. If they are left alone for a too long time, Tonks will feel lonely and abandoned. These cats are basically not a choice for those who have to spend a lot of time at work, unless your Tonk has a feline companion to have fun with. But even though they get along well with other felines and cat friendly dogs, Tonks are extremely people oriented and always prefer humans. If you don't give them enough love and attention, they may become depressed, so make sure you do have time and wish to come up with a Tonk's expectations.
Photo of Tonkinese kitten by © Jacqui

Coat and grooming

The coat of Tonks is short, soft, silky and sleek. It requires little grooming.
There are three possible patterns: mink, pointed and solid. The latter is sometimes called sepia. Pointed Tonks have point colour highly contrasted to the body colour; mink Tonks have point colour with medium contrast to the body colour, and solid Tonks have point colour with little contrast to the body colour. Note that the solid pattern in Tonks is not the same as the solid pattern in other cat breeds: the point colours are darker shades of the body colour, so they are still noticeable even though they have very low contrast. Each of the three patterns can come in four colours: natural, champagne, blue and platinum.


Generally robust, Tonkinese cats have nearly no health problems. Some individuals may be prone to plaque, tartar deposits, and gingivitis.

Other interesting facts

Tonks were originated by crossing between the Siamese and Burmese cat breeds.