There are TWO DIFFERENT Burmese breeds recognized by CFA - BURMESE AND EUROPEAN BURMESE. Burmese breed includes CONTEMPORARY AND TRADITIONAL Burmese cats.
EUROPEAN BURMESE VS. BURMESE
The biggest difference between Burmese and European Burmese is that European Burmese have red gene, and additional cream, red, and tortoiseshell colors. The colors of the eyes of European Burmese are gold to dark amber. Eyes of Burmese are gold. There is also difference in the appearance of these cats. European Burmese are more slender and oriental looking than Burmese. Burmese are very round in shape of the body, head and eyes. The European Burmese eyes should be slightly curved with a slant toward the nose.
TRADITIONAL BURMESE VS. CONTAMPORARY BURMESE
The Contemporary Burmese has shorter noses, muzzles and deeper nose break than Traditional Burmese. The controversy between Traditional and Contemporary Burmese blood lines stems around the fact that Contemporary Burmese blood lines carry a lethal HD, head defect. Contemporary cats with concave profile were very successful in show halls. This success made contemporary cats more desirable and defective gene was spread. Traditional blood lines are free of HD defect. As the breed progresses the difference in appearance between Traditional and Contemporary Burmese is fading but gene pools are growing apart.
CFA BURMESE STANDARDS:
GENERAL: the overall impression of the ideal Burmese would be a cat of medium size with substantial bone structure, good muscular development and a surprising weight for its size. This together with a rounded head, expressive eyes and a sweet expression presents a totally distinctive cat which is comparable to no other breed. Perfect physical condition, with excellent muscle tone. There should be no evidence of obesity, paunchiness, weakness, or apathy.
SABLE: the mature specimen is a rich, warm, sable brown; shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter hue on the underparts but otherwise without shadings, barring, or markings of any kind. (Kittens are often lighter in color.) Nose leather and paw pads: brown. Eye color: ranges from gold to yellow, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
CHAMPAGNE: the mature specimen should be a warm honey beige, shading to a pale gold tan underside. Slight darkening on ears and face permissible but lesser shading preferred. A slight darkening in older specimens allowed, the emphasis being on evenness of color. Nose leather: light warm brown. Paw pads: warm pinkish tan. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
BLUE: the mature specimen should be a medium blue with warm fawn undertones, shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter hue on the underparts, but otherwise without shadings, barring or markings of any kind. Nose leather and paw pads: slate gray. Paw pads: ranging from slate gray to warm pinkish blue. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
PLATINUM: the mature specimen should be a pale, silvery gray with pale fawn undertones, shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter hue on the underparts, but otherwise without shadings, barring or markings of any kind. Nose leather and paw pads: lavender-pink. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
The European Burmese is an elegant, unique cat breed of far eastern origin, moderate type with gently rounded contours. The coat shades gradually to the roots, with no smoke effect or ticking. Body underparts are slightly paler than the back. The points may show some contrast. Kittens and adolescents may have faint tabby markings and a lighter color. Non-red/cream adults should have no tabby markings. European Burmese colors recognized by CFA are: brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, tortoiseshells.
( standards - CFA official web-site www.cfa.org)