The Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora

by Lisa James

Turkish Angora - CFA GC Folie A Deux Bi & Large of Grimoire, AKA Beanie Baby

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Turkish Angora - CFA GC Folie A Deux Bi & Large of Grimoire, AKA Beanie Baby

The Turkish Van & the Turkish Angora are both native Turkish breeds as presented in your history, yes, BUT, there the resemblance stops. The 2 breeds are NOT related, as they originated in different "pockets" of place, & as such, are completely unrelated breeds. The Turkish Van (TV) originated in the Lake Van region, & are the ones known as the "swimming cats", not the Turkish Angora (TA). This breed originated in the mountainous area of Ankara, which is where their name came from.

In looks & build, they are completely different. The T Van is built more like a football player, in relative terms that are easier to understand. They are a heavier built, heavier boned, more moderate looking cat with a heavier coat. They come in one pattern, the Van. The TA is built like a ballet dancer. Their bodies are long, slender, elegant, finely boned, & lighter coated. Their beautiful, upright, tall ears are their hallmark feature.

They come traditionally in white, yes, & the eyes in a white can be blue, odd eyed, green, amber, or now a new recognized color of green-gold. Deafness can be found in any eye flavor of white, but breeders are trying hard to decrease the amount of deafness in the breed. They can be found in any color/pattern under the sun except for pointed, self chocolate, & self lilac, which is felt widely to be evidence of hybridization of the breed, most likely with Oriental Longhairs.

However, in Europe, the pointed & pointed/white Turks are gaining in favor, & there are breeders working with points. These cats are not recognized or registered in CFA, I don't know if TICA or ACFA will recognize them or register them.

There are still 2 "styles" if you will, of the TA. In most of Europe, the "old style" or "zoo style" TA is still prevalent. These cats tend to be heavier all the way around, with heavier coats, shorter ears, & stockier boned, but never coarse or bulky.

The solid blue cat & the poorly groomed white cat in your current photos are good examples of the European style of TA. Shafira, which is the CORRECT spelling of the name of the cat that you have listed as Saphira & Nightingale are excellent examples of the American style of Turkish Angora, which exemplify the ballet dancer picture in the mind.

Nightingale lives with us now & has given us her last litter of 4 lovely little girls to carry on after her. She was spayed about a month ago, & may compete in the Premiership classes, which are classes for spayed & neutered cats. They achieve the equivalents of the same titles that intact cats do.

We breed & show Turkish Angoras here in Florida under the cattery name of Grimoire (see link below). We are striving for that ballet dancer look with each generation. Our first CFA Grand is the beautiful blue-silver mctabby & white female shown here. Please feel free to visit with us at our home on the web at

Grimoire Turkish Angora Cats (link opens in a new window)

Lisa James

From The Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora to Turkish Angora Cat

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The Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora

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Nov 07, 2011 Funny
by: Anonymous

Hi Senem
After reading some additional comments I now see what your posting was concerned with. Despite UC Davis' 2008 Report and the Phylogentic tree which shows the American Angora is related to Tunisian cats and the Egyptian Mau, American breeders still insist that their Angoras are descended from Ankara Zoo Turkish Angoras, which of course is totally false. Not only do they look completely different they ARE completely different. The kind of cat who's picture was posted is typical of the North African and Egyptian street cat which has picked up the semi-longhair gene along the way.
There are few if any Tunisian or Egyptian cats in Turkey and certainly none in the Ankara Zoo.

Nov 07, 2011 Turkish cats and foreigners
by: Harvey Harrison

I wouldn't be so funny if the Turkish authorities took the trouble to genetically analyse or permit overseas Universities to analyse the DNA of Turkish cats in order to establish their particular genetic make-up and thus to contribute to scientific knowledge about them
It is because of my work that we have discovered that the " American " Angora is totally unrelated to any Turkish breed. More data and samples are needed to make a convincing argument but the Turkish authorities do not collaborate, thus contributing to the falsification of the breed outside of Turkey. .
If Turkish people complain about foreigners activities in these fields they should blame themselves because they are doing nothing. The existence of the Angora and Van in Turkey is seriously under threat due to the counter-productive ban on their export. People in Turkey do little for their cats and I suspect there are more Angoras and Vans outside of Turkey than in Turkey. We have quite a lot of Turkei Vans and angoras in Cyprus due to the Pttoman presence here. This has been proven genetically. I am the only person here who protects and conserves these Turkish cats. No Turk or Cypriot cares a hoot about them.

Nov 07, 2011 funny
by: Sanem

As a Turkish woman living in Turkey I find it very funny when I see some foreigners deciding which cat is a Turkish Angora and which cat is a Turkish Van. All of my family members have cats, we generally like cats in Turkey an the cat lovers in Turkey never accept multi colored cats as Turkish Angora or Turkish Van. We accept them as crossbreeds and still love them as much as we can.

Jan 16, 2010 Shedding Light On a Misconception
by: Harvey Harrison

Regarding your comments that the TA and TV are totally different breeds, you might be interested to study the DNA findings of UC Davis Genome project.
I submitted just one sample of a a Ankara Zoo Turkish Angora's DNA which shows a very close genetic relationship to the Turkish Van. Their appearances are almost identical too. You will soon be able to see many more photos of TAs from the Zoo on Pictures of Cats.
The contemporary Western TA has a much more complicated ancestry and really little to do with Turkey.
More DNA samples of Ankara Zoo Angoras will be submitted as they become available.
The free-roaming SLH of Cyprus prove to be much more closely related to the Ankara Zoo cats than the contemporary TAs. In fact the sample from my Yeni Yildiz from N Cyprus tallies identical with the sample from the Ankara Zoo. They are both classified as Turkish Van type D because they vary widely from samples sent from contemporary TAs and almost identical to modern-day Turkish Vans, whether of the cat fancy or free-roaming in Turkey or Cyprus.

Sep 26, 2009 Safira and Nightingale
by: Kathryn

Safira and Nightingale are much better examples of Turkish Angoras than Paoli. You can really see that straight, long profile on the picture of Nightingale, a very important feature of the Turkish Angora that distinguishes it from other breeds, especially the Turkish Van. Also, Nightingale clearly has that long, finely boned body.

Sep 09, 2009 Many Thanks
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Lisa, thank you for your valued input. It is most welcome. I changed the title to make it more searchable by Google. I am happy to be corrected by someone who knows better! I hope you get some visitors from you article. I am sure visitors will find your article useful.

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