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Applehead Siamese: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

applehead siamese cat

When you think of a Siamese cat, you may think of a slender and angular animal with large, pointy ears and a long tail. In fact, this is how these cats tend to be depicted in popular culture, such as the children’s animated movie Lady and the Tramp. The truth is, there are actually several varieties of Siamese cats with two predominant “looks”: modular and slim, like the Modern Siamese, and muscular and round, like the Applehead Siamese. In this article, we will discuss the Applehead Siamese in-depth and go over the general history and origins of this breed as a whole.

The Earliest Records of the Applehead Siamese in History

There are several different types of Siamese cats, but the Applehead Siamese is considered to be the traditional Siamese variety. This breed, which dates back as early as 1350 AD, was a favorite among the royal family of Siam. In fact, only royals were allowed to keep these cats as pets at one time. They were believed to have the special power of receiving and communicating with the souls of the deceased, so they had the high honor of guarding Siamese temples.

Despite this breed’s long history, it wasn’t until the 1800s that these cats were introduced to the western world. Some say that the first American Siamese cat was a gift to Rutherford B. Hayes’s wife, First Lady Lucy Ware Hayes, in 1878.

How the Applehead Siamese Gained Popularity

The Siamese cat remains one of the most popular cat breeds. Like its Thai ancestors, the modern-day Siamese has been a very popular breed with influential people in society. Some of the most famous celebrities to own traditional Siamese cats include Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, John Lennon, Grace Kelly, Jane Fonda, and Marilyn Monroe. Other than First Lady Rutherford, two other residents of the White House—Amy Carter and Susan Ford—also owned traditional Siamese cats. There is no doubt that their popularity among society’s upper echelon helped the Siamese achieve the popularity it enjoys today.

The more modern Siamese cat that you may recognize in popular culture did not even begin to emerge until the 1950s and 1960s. Breeders selected for certain traits to achieve a particular look. Over time, the modern Siamese cat became the breed standard for cat shows due to its triangular head, long, slim body and neck, and slanted eyes.

Top 4 Unique Facts About the Applehead Siamese

1. All Siamese cats are white when they are born

Siamese cats come in four different color point varieties: seal, blue, chocolate, and lilac. In adulthood, they begin to display these colors in points across their bodies, including their faces, paws, ears, and tails. If you are looking for a Siamese cat in a particular color, you should wait to adopt until the cat’s color points have started to come through. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long; the color starts to show after the cat is about a week old, though the process isn’t complete until it is about one full year of age.

2. The Applehead Siamese most closely resembles the original Thai breed

There are two major types of Siamese cats: the Applehead or Traditional Siamese and the Modern Wedge Siamese. While you may think of Siamese cats as being small and lanky, the original breed from modern-day Thailand was actually a much more muscular animal with round heads. The Applehead was bred by design to appear more like its Thai ancestor due to health issues within the breed after decades of breeding focused on the more angular, sleek look of the Modern Wedge Siamese.

3. The term “apple-head” was originally a derogatory term

In Great Britain, the term “old-style” is preferred to “applehead” because it has negative connotations. In the United States, however, the term has stuck and become a term of endearment for these ever-elegant creatures.

4. The Applehead goes by a few different names

These cats are also referred to as the “Thai breed” by the International Cat Association. In Thailand, it goes by the name Wichienmaat.

Applehead Siamese Health Problems

While the Applehead tends to be healthier than its modern relative, every animal is prone to certain health problems. If you are interested in adopting an Applehead Siamese cat, you should know that they may be susceptible to some of the following health issues:

  • Respiratory problems: Respiratory problems are most common in Modern Siamese cats due to the shape of their heads, but the Applehead is not immune from developing problems as well. One of the most common respiratory infections in Siamese kittens is feline viral rhinotracheitis.
  • Eye problems: Siamese cats may develop glaucoma or nystagmus, a condition in which a cat’s eyes will shake or move back and forth. Some cats may have strabismus, a condition that makes them cross-eyed.
  • Kidney stones

Does the Applehead Siamese Make a Good Pet?

Applehead Siamese cats can make wonderful pets. They are loyal and very affectionate animals that love spending time with their families. In fact, they like having company so much that they don’t easily adapt to being left home alone for long periods of time. If you have a very busy schedule or work long hours at the office, you might want to look for a more independent breed.  They are also very talkative cats, so if you are hoping for a pet that will stay quiet most of the time, the Applehead Siamese is not for you. On the flip side, their social nature means that these cats are suitable for many different types of homes—even some homes with dogs. These cats are great for families with children or even seniors looking for a companion animal.

Related Read: How Much Does a Siamese Cat Cost? (Price Guide 2021)


Siamese cats are an ancient breed whose popularity has stood the test of time. However, not all Siamese cats were made alike. If you happen to find an Applehead Siamese cat, you should know that while they look the most like their Thai ancestors, they are not exactly direct descendants of the ancient breed; Appleheads most likely have some British Shorthair ancestry that helped them return to their original likeness. No matter what kind of Siamese cat you adopt, however, you can be sure that you are getting an affectionate pet who will be a wonderful addition to your family.

Featured Image Credit: Witsawat.S, Shutterstock

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