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Sable Burmese Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

sable burmese cat sitting

Height 8–10 inches
Weight 8–12 pounds
Lifespan 12–16 years
Colors Sable, champagne, blue, platinum
Suitable for Large and small families, seniors
Temperament Chatty, playful, energetic, intelligent

The Sable Burmese cat is one of the four recognized Burmese colors and one of the most popular due to its attractive appearance. If you are thinking about getting one of these cats but would like to know more about them first, keep reading as we look into the different varieties to see what sets the Sable color apart.

Sable Burmese cats have varying shades of brown or “chocolate” fur that usually gets darker toward the back. The paws, face, and tail will also be dark, while the neck and underside will be a light coffee color. Kittens start with a golden color that gets darker as they age. The sable color was created when Dr. Joseph Thompson mixed a walnut-brown female cat from Burma (now Myanmar) with Siamese cats. Selective breeding helped the doctor isolate the sable gene, demonstrating that Burmese cats are a distinct breed from Siamese cats, leading to championship recognition from the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)1. Since then, the CFA accepts three other colors for the Burmese breed—champagne, blue, and platinum—though you can also find them in many other colors.

Sable Burmese Breed Characteristics


The Earliest Records of the Sable Burmese Cat in History

Dr. Thompson received a small brown cat from Burma in the mid to late-1920s or early 1930s and mixed them with Siamese cats to create the first Burmese kitten. Within only a few years, the CFA registered them as a unique breed, and they quickly became a favorite household pet.

sable burmese kittens in colored background
Image Credit: Altsva, Shutterstock

How the Sable Burmese Cat Gained Popularity

Cat owners instantly fell in love with the chocolate brown cat with expressive yellow eyes. Their short coat doesn’t shed as much as many other breeds, so it’s easier to maintain. The other three accepted colors are also quite popular, though there are many other available colors. This is a surprisingly heavy indoor cat with a friendly and playful personality, making them popular among children and adults.

Formal Recognition of the Sable Burmese Cat

After Dr. Thompson perfected the breed, the CFA registered it in 1936 and fully recognized it in 1957. Breeders mixing the Burmese breed with Siamese cats are responsible for the 20-plus-year delay in full acceptance, but doing so also helped create the Tonkinese cat, an official mix of the Burmese and Siamese breeds.

close up of Burmese cat standing on gray background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

9 Unique Facts About the Sable Burmese Cat

1. Sable Burmese cats like to explore

Because of this, they will quickly learn how to open cupboards and even simple doors, making it important to kitten-proof your house to keep them safe.

2. Sable Burmese cats are extremely friendly

They will usually be among the first to greet a stranger in your home, unlike many cats that run and hide until they are familiar with the person.

Brown Burmese cat in the garden
Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock

3. Sable Burmese cats are surprisingly heavy, but it’s not because they are overweight

It’s a result of their extremely muscular physique, which is what causes many people to describe them as “bricks wrapped in silk.”

4. There are American and British versions of the Burmese cat

They have slightly different standards, but most modern cat registries do not recognize them as separate breeds.

5. The American version of the Burmese originally had more health problems than the British version

This could possibly result in a severe head malformation that could prove fatal to kittens.

burmese cat lying on couch
Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock

6. Not all Burmese cats have yellow eyes

While most Burmese cats have yellow eyes, there are some with blue or green eyes. Unlike coat color, eye color isn’t as important in judging competitions.

7. The Burmese’s short coat is low maintenance

Burmese cats tend to shed very little.

8. Burmese cats are quieter than many other breeds

They are rarely vocal.

burmese cats lying on sofa
Image credit: Sergey Neanderthalec, Shutterstock

9. Burmese cats are one of the easiest pets to steal

The extremely friendly nature of Burmese cats makes them one of the easiest pets to steal, as they often follow strangers willingly.

Does a Sable Burmese Make a Good Pet?

Sable Burmese cats are great pets that are extremely friendly and quick to greet guests and children. They are always ready to play and enjoy fetch and string games, and they will also play with other cats and even dogs. They like sitting on your lap and will usually follow you around the house to stay close. They are extremely low maintenance and tend to have long lifespans.


The Sable Burmese has the original coat color of one of the friendliest cat breeds that you can find. The dark color is varying shades of chocolate brown, ranging from a light shade over the belly and neck to a dark shade on the tail, paws, and face. Breeders first registered the Sable Burmese in 1936, and the CFA fully recognized them in 1957. Today, there are four official colors—sable, champagne, blue, and platinum—but you can also find these cats in many other colors, such as lilac, red, and cinnamon. These cats are easy to maintain and are ideal for large and small families.

See also: Burmese vs. Bombay Cat – Learn to Know the Difference

Featured Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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