The doll face Persian has a longer nose and jaw than the familiar flat-faced Persian cat. However, doll face Persians aren’t new. In fact they came first. Breeders selectively derived flat faced Persians from doll faces.
Today we are going to look at how the doll face Persian’s looks help them to stay healthier than other Persian cats. And let you know what the pros and cons of owning one will be.
What is a Doll Face Persian?
You may think this is a new type of cat. Actually, these felines are considered to be the original or traditional type of Persian.
They’re still the same breed, the difference is in the structure of their heads. The doll face’s natural head shape protects them from disorders caused by a flat face, including breathing problems, eye injuries and difficulty eating.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at the doll face Persian’s history, appearance, temperament, and health concerns. We’ll also delve into how and why the breed’s conformation has changed so drastically over the years.
Where Does the Doll Face Persian Come From?
The Persian is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world. Many people believe these cats have Persian or Iranian origin. However, there is some mystery surrounding the breed’s exact origins. Some believe that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics reference this breed.
Their distinctive long hair is believed to be the result of a natural gene mutation. However, it was their striking appearance that caught the eye of Pietro Della Valle, an Italian nobleman credited with importing them to Italy in the early 1600s. By the mid-1800s these cats were popular throughout Europe and by the late 1800s they had made their way to the US.
Until the late 19th century these cats did not have the flat-face that is now a signature of the breed. Instead, they featured a nose that was slightly shorter than other breeds, but in proportion to their facial structure.
The Evolution of the Doll Face Persian
Over time, cat breeders modified the Persian into its present‐day appearance by artificial selection. Today, the forehead, nose, and chin are in vertical alignment when viewed from the side .
Big eyes, round cheeks, and a large forehead are other defining features of the modern Persian. Unfortunately, having a flat face causes a condition known as brachycephaly.
This means they have shortened nasal cavities which can cause upper respiratory and breathing problems, particularly in hot, humid weather.
Prominent eyes are another brachycephalic trait. This leaves them prone to eye injuries and other problems, such as excessive tearing and staining.
Some people refer to these cats as the peke‐face Persian, in reference to the Pekingese dog, another pet with a brachycephalic head structure.
These cats can be subject to acute health issues that can severely impact their health and quality of life. Despite this their shortened faces and snub noses are deemed desirable qualities by many people.
What’s worse is that these structural deformities have been increasingly accentuated over time.
This is now considered the standard by the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Persian cats who do not have the flat-faced appearance are known as doll face Persians.
Fun Facts About the Doll Face Persian
In July 1871, traditional Persians were showcased in the world’s first organized cat show at London’s Crystal Palace.
Today, only the peke-face Persians are considered show quality.
You’ll no longer find doll face Persians at cat shows.
Classic Persian, old fashioned Persian, and original longhair are other monikers for the doll face Persian.
In the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, a white, doll face Persian belongs to the villainous Blofeld.
Doll Face Persian Appearance
Other than not having a flattened face and short nose, the doll face Persian looks like any Persian cat.
They have a small, rounded head, with a shorter nose than other cat breeds, but not as flat as their peke‐face counterparts.
Sweet expressions have earned them the name, doll face Persian.
These medium-sized, felines typically weigh between 7 and 12 pounds. Standing from 10 to 15 inches tall, their bodies are stocky and short.
This breed is known for its long flowing fur that can grow up to 10 inches long in places. White is probably the most popular color and they’re the only ones who have blue eyes.
They can also have copper eyes like all other doll face Persians, or occasionally one blue and one copper eye.
Other solid colors include:
Persians come in so many colors and patterns that they’ve broken into divisions for competition purposes according to the CFA.
In addition to Solid this includes:
- Silver and Golden
- Shaded and Smoke
- Calico and Bicolor
Doll Face Persian Temperament
Not only are doll face Persians beautiful, they also possess a friendly, calm, and loving temperament.
They’re known as being very people-oriented and love to crawl into your lap for some long petting sessions. Luckily, these cats are easy to handle, because life with a Persian means daily grooming.
Doll face Persians are generally happy cats with a laid back, cool cat attitude. These undemanding creatures simply want to love and be loved.
Even as kittens they’re quiet, and as they grow you’ll rarely hear them make a sound other than a perpetual, pleasing purr.
Most doll face Persians will want to be indoors, spending their days sitting quietly or curling up next to you on the sofa.
They aren’t particularly playful and may be sensitive to loud noises.
Doll Face Persian Lifespan
Purebred cat breeds like the doll face Persian, typically don’t live as long as crossbreeds.
12.5 years is the average lifespan for all purebred cat breeds.
However, other factors, such as having a lower body weight and being neutered were also found to increase a cat’s lifespan.
Other sources puts the average lifespan for a Persian at 14 to 15 years.
Doll Face Persian Health
Since doll face Persians don’t have the short face normally associated with the Persian breed, they can breathe easier and tend to experience fewer respiratory issues. However, like all purebred cats, they’re at risk for certain health conditions.
Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition in which multiple cysts form in the cat’s kidneys.
Present from birth, these cysts grow larger over time, often culminating in kidney failure.
Unfortunately, Persians have the highest incidence of PKD. When buying a kitten, it’s important that both parents have been DNA tested clear for this condition.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a cardiac condition that causes the walls of the heart to thicken. It’s the most commonly diagnosed heart disease in all types of cats.
Persian cats are also at risk for fungal skin infections, such as ringworm.
Their long coats are believed to be related to why forms of dermatophytosis are more severe for this breed.
Hip dysplasia, portosystemic shunts, hairballs, and urinary tract stones are also health concerns associated with the doll face Persian.
Doll Face Persian Grooming and Feeding
It should come as no surprise that the doll face Persian is a high maintenance pet. Their glorious coat will need to be groomed on a daily basis.
As long as you’re dedicated to this regular routine, grooming should take no more than 10 minutes a day. However, you must be diligent, otherwise their silky, flowing fur can easily become matted and unmanageable.
Doll face Persians will also be heavy shedders.
Using the proper brush can help keep their shedding under control.
A bath once a month is also recommended to keep your glamour puss looking their best.
Like all cats, the food you give your doll face Persian must be high in protein from real meat sources, including organs. Check the ingredients to ensure there are no fillers, artificial additives, or by-products.
Since their face isn’t as flat as modern Persians, they shouldn’t have as much trouble picking up food as their peke faced family members.
This article is dedicated to recommending the best dry and wet food options for a Persian.
Do Doll Face Persians Make Good Family Pets?
Persians are the most popular pedigree cat breed in both the US and the UK.
These gorgeous creatures are as prized for their excellent temperaments as they are for their beautiful appearance.
Other than daily grooming they’re fairly low maintenance.
They’re quiet pets who love to cuddle and make ideal companions for homebodies.
If you have a noisy household they may need a special spot where they can chill out.
Young children may also be too rambunctious for this laid back feline.
Rescuing a Doll Face Persian
Choosing to adopt a doll face Persian from a shelter offers a number of benefits. Older felines will usually have been health checked by a vet and have their shots.
Although they’re unlikely to have a pedigree certificate, adoption fees will be much less expensive than buying from a breeder.
Best of all you’ll be providing a beautiful cat with a forever home.
On the downside, it may be hard to locate a doll face Persian, since they’re rarer than the flat-faced variety.
Here are some shelters that are dedicated to Persians that can be contacted about adoptions.
If you know of others, please add them in the comments section below.
Finding a Doll Face Persian
As with rescues, locating a doll face Persian from a breeder will likely be more difficult, since this variety is less popular than the flat-faced version.
Vets recommend that you take a kitten home at 13 weeks.
By this point the breeder should have certification that they’ve had their vaccinations as well as for inherited conditions like PKD.
Choose a kitten with a normal shaped face that is not flattish to avoid respiratory and other conformational problems.
A repeatable breeder will happily introduce you to the kitten’s parents and siblings and show you where they’re living. They should also answer any questions you have.
Doll Face Persian Products and Accessories
Bringing a doll face Persian into your life means acquiring the necessary accoutrements.
From cat beds and litter boxes to scratching posts and toys, this article will give you the lowdown on the latest cat accessories.
If you love the Persian breed, but have hesitated to make one a part of your family due to the problems associated with the flat face, a doll face Persian may be the solution you’ve been seeking.
However, you may also want to consider the Maine Coon cat.
They have long hair to rival the doll face Persian, but require less grooming.
These cats are also just as sweet and loving.
Big, beautiful, Maine Coon cats can weigh up to 25 pounds.
Is a Doll Face Persian Right For Me?
Before you make the decision to get a doll face Persian, be sure that you have the time to devote to caring for their coat every day.
If you’re deciding between the modern and traditional versions of the breed, consider the serious health concerns that come with a flat face.
Whatever your personal preference is, be mindful that selectively breeding cats with brachycephalic features has come at a high cost for the Persian breed.
References and resources
- Cat Fanciers’ Association
- Schmidt, MJ, et al., “The Relationship between Brachycephalic Head Features in Modern Persian Cats and Dysmorphologies of the Skull and Internal Hydrocephalus,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 2017
- Schlueter, C. et al., “Brachycephalic Feline Noses: CT and Anatomical Study of the Relationship between Head Conformation and the Nasolacrimal Drainage System,” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 2009
- Farnworth, MJ, et al., “In the Eye of the Beholder: Owner Preferences for Variations in Cats’ Appearances with Specific Focus on Skull Morphology,” Animal, 2018
- O’Neill, DG, et al., “Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England,” J Feline Med Surg. 2015
- Biller, DS, et al., “Inheritance of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian Cats,” Journal of Heredity, 1996
- White, AJM, “End-stage hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in a cat,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2015
- “Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals – Persian Dermatophytosis,” Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
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