Turkish Van, the cat who loves to fish and swim
The Turkish Van is a very old of cat breed native of the region of the Lake of Van in Eastern Turkey. Her coat is particularly characteristic: snowy white with coloured spots at the base of the ears, separated by a white flame, and with a fully coloured tail most often with rings. This remarkable appearance made of this race an emblem very early in history by the civilizations which succeeded one another in the region since antiquity. But it was only during the fifties that this breed was finally officially described for the first time. And only in 1994, was the Turkish Van finally recognized as a separate breed, first of all in the USA and then in Europe.
Although very often confused with the Turkish Angora because they are both native of Eastern Turquey and are long-haired, the Van differs notably by his characteristic motive, a different hair setting and a very strong body built. Although long-accustomed to the local populations, the Van kept from their wild ancestors a well dipped character and an exceptional affinity for water. After all, fishing was her best means of subsistence.
However, the confusion between Turkish Angora and Van continues because wholly white Vans were often mistaken for white Angoras due to lack of Van motive. It is forgotten that genetics is very complex and that "white" is not a colour by itself and the real colour of the animal is inhibited by the expression of a particular gene. Thus, the descendants of two white Vans can perfectly be of colour and with the famous Van motive.
- Temperament: Particularly rustic, robust, this cat likes swimming. Thanks to the breeding selection, while she was considered aggressive, she became sociable. Independent, with a well dipped character, player, she shows herself very affectionate and even often possessive towards her master. She adapts herself to the life in apartment though a garden is most welcomed. Her development is slow and she needs 3 - 5 years to reach her definitive beauty.
- Living with: Curious, full of energy, good hunter and of course water-lover, she must have space to express herself.
- Grooming: Except during her very important shedding just before summer, she requires only a weekly brushing.
- Head: Medium to large, at least as long as wide. Round outlines, no angle nor straight line. High cheekbones. Full rounded snout. Nose with a light stop, then delicately hooked. Slight pinch. Slightly rounded chin.
- Ears: Big, wide at the base, set high on the head with slightly rounded extremities.
- Eyes: Big, in the form of walnut or of peach stones, placed slightly in oblique. Eyelids encircled by pink flesh. Colour: blue, amber or odd, green is allowed, but the amber is preferred.
- Neck: Strong.
- Body: Long, big and strong. Rounded rib cage. Rather wide hips. Strong-boned and very well-muscled built.
- Legs: Average length. Hinder legs longer than front legs. Average bone built, good muscle structure. Round feet. Well-developed tufts of hair between fingers.
- Tail: Average length, thick and furbished, ruffled or with a brush appearance. The hair must be at least 5 cm (2 in) long. The whole tail is coloured.
- Coat: Half-long to long hair, soft, silky, without woolly undercoat. Well-developed ruff and upper hind legs in winter. Snow white coat. Symmetric spots of red (auburn) or cream colour at the base of ears, separated by a white flame. Another spot of same colour stretches from the croup to the extremity of the tail. This particular spot arrangement is characteristic to the breed and known as the "Van" motive. Main recognized colours: red (auburn) and white, cream and white.
- Remarks: No marriage are allowed with any other breed.
- Defaults: More than three spots on the body. Lack of flame on the face. Badly distributed spots. Spot on the croup going on to high on the back. Disqualifications: two-coloured and monochrome motives. Lack of colouring on the ears and/or tail.
- General aspect: Solidly built, rather massive but still well proportioned. Weight: 3,5 to 9 kg (7 to 20 lbs).