Over the years there has been no small amount of dissent among cat owners and breeders as to what exactly distinguishes a true Persian from vulgar pretenders.
Of true importance to cat show enthusiasts is the difference between the Persian and the Angora, which is considered by many to be a Persian in everything but the name.
The differences between the two breeds are somewhat vague to the layman, but can be striking to the professionals.
When the first cat show that included Persians was run in the late 1800s by a man named Harrison Weir, he introduced a reference guide to be used to judge the features of cats called “Points of Excellence” that was then used to try and differentiate what were considered “true” Persians from other “breeds” or bloodlines – and this included the Angora.
The main difference or sticking point between the two cats and their admirers seems to be the coat and, to a lesser degree, their facial features. True Persians tend to have a tail a little bit longer than the Angora’s and a courser coat of fur on the underside as well.
Other distinctions between the two also include the larger head and less pointy ears of the Persian when compared to an Angora. The Angora is said to have a much more desired coat than the Persian, with the big differences being in the length of the coat on the shoulders and the hind legs which are seen as an improvement over the Persian in terms of overall looks.
Where the Angora fails in the eyes of some discerning breeders is in the head and facial area where the Angora has a more wedge-shaped head as opposed to the Persian look of a more well rounded head and facial features.
Not all cat lovers and showers fully agree with those differences however and some regard the Angora as a Persian with no distinct differences at all. Others have gone even further and claimed that all long haired cats be classed the same regardless of original bloodlines.