History of the Havana Brown:
Brown cats have been around for a long time. In 1894 a "brown Siamese" was shown under the breed name "Swiss Mountain Cat" and the "Brown Cat" was shown in 1930. However, these cats quickly disappeared.
The Havana Brown is a "man made" breed which originated in England in the 1950's and is the result of crossing a Siamese male by the name of Tombee to a black short-haired female called Susanah. Susannah herself was half Siamese/half black moggy). Four kittens were born, three blacks and one stunning brown male who was named Elmtower Bronze Idol. Mrs. Isobel Munro-Smith (Elmtower) was the owner of both cats. Other breeders involved in the creation of the Havana Brown in the early days include Baroness Edit von Ullmann and Mrs. A Hargreaves who were the first to come up with the idea of creating a self-brown cat. They were later joined by Mrs. Munro-Smith and Mrs. Elsie Fisher and together formed the Chestnut Brown Group.
Elsie Quinn of Quinn cattery was the first US breeder to import the Havana (Roofspringer Mahogany Quinn) in the mid-1950's. It should be noted however that the Havana Brown in the UK is an Oriental looking cat, more in line with the modern day Siamese, however in the United States, it has kept the look of the early imports from the 1950's and has a less oriental build.
The original name for the Havana Brown was "Chestnut Brown or Chestnut Foreign Shorthair", but this name was eventually rejected in favour of the name Havana. The breed was accepted for registration with the CFA in 1959.
Appearance of the Havana Brown:
As has already been noted, the Havana comes in two "types". In the US it has a more cobby appearance of the older style Siamese, in the UK (and Australia) it is more in line with the modern day Siamese.
The US Havana is a similar type to the Russian Blue, with a medium sized, muscular body.
The head forms an equilateral triangle, ears are large with rounded tips, oval shaped green eyes. The US Havana has a nose stop, the UK Havana has a long, straight nose. The head of the US Havana is shorter than the UK one.
What is the same with both types is the rich mahogany brown coat. It is short, slick and lies close to the body. In fact, the Havana is brown all over except for the eyes. Even the whiskers and nose pad are brown. There should be no tabby markings.
Males are proportionately larger than females.
Temperament of the Havana Brown:
The Havana is an energetic breed of cat and can be quite talkative like its Siamese cousin. It is said that one unusual trait of the Havana is that they like to use their paws to touch objects.
They are affectionate, friendly and intelligent and enjoy the company of people and other pets. Some may become attached to one particular member of the household. However, in general, they get along great with children and make a great family pet.
12 - 15 years.
Photo courtesy of sam.romilly