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Veterinarian Reviewed on January 4, 2008 by Dr. Janice Huntingford


Physical Characteristics

Breed Group:

Shorthair Group.


Adult females weigh approximately 6-8 pounds and adult males weigh approximately 8-12 pounds.


Tonkinese grow to an average size as compared to other cats. Males tend to be somewhat larger than females.


Tonkinese cats come in many different colours and patterns, but the three main colourings are mink, pointed, and solid.


The Tonkinese has a soft, short coat with a curling cowlick on its chest.



Highly intelligent and sociable, Tonkinese like to have constant companionship, whether human, feline, or otherwise. While not hyperactive, these cats are playful and can be mischievous at times. Tonkinese are affectionate animals and make very loving companions.

Country of Origin:



While the exact history of this breed is unknown, Tonkinese have existed at least since the first half of the nineteenth century. However, the modern form of this breed was developed in Canada during the 1960s by crossing a Siamese with a Burmese.


The name of this breed was originally spelled “Tonkanese” but the spelling was changed during the early 1970s to “Tonkinese.” A common nickname for this breed is “Tonk.”


The Tonkinese has a relaxed disposition and is very good-natured. These cats are very interested in humans and like to talk. Tonkinese like to have the company of a second Tonkinese, especially for times when their owners are not at home. In addition to getting along with humans and other Tonkinese, these cats get along with other cats, dogs, and pretty much all other pets.



Do to their high level of intelligence and social nature, Tonkinese are quite trainable.


Tonkinese are very active cats and require plenty of room to run and play.


Tonkinese are best suited to households where they will have constant companionship and where they will have plenty of room to run, jump, and play. These cats get along with humans, other cats, and other pets. Tonkinese need plenty of attention and their coats require regular grooming.


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List of cat breeds

Read also: Seychellios
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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