About Mandalay


Under the New Zealand Cat  Fancy Inc rules, the Mandalay breed is fully intermateable with the Burmese breed, and you can get Burmese and Mandalay in the same litter. They are registered as Mandalay or Burmese depending on what their colour classifies them as (ie by phenotype). The difference between Mandalay and Burmese is basically in their coat and eye colour, they are the same in every other way. Burmese have a gene which changes their coat colour – this is known as the Burmese Gene (or “cbcb”), Mandalays do not have this gene (and are “CC”). A Seal Burmese is genetically black, however because of the presence of cbcb gene rather than the CC gene, the colour is changed to the Seal (dark brown) colour. Mandalays have the exact same natures as Burmese – in fact some say that as well as having more intense coat and eye colour, they have more intense personalities – if that is possible!


The Mandalay breed was originally developed here in New Zealand.  As with many pedigree breeds throughout the world, it originated from accidental matings. 

The first one happened in the South Island around the early 1970’s, and the second in the North Island in 1988.

The South Island breeding program was the result of a Cream Burmese to a mated to a Red Domestic Shorthair.  The resulting kittens from the South Island mating were all a deep, rich russet red colour. 

The North Island line started with a Seal Burmese to a Black Domestic Shorthair. Similarly, the resulting kittens from the North Island mating were stunning jet black with amber eyes, and certain breeders were so taken with these cats that breeding programs were started to reproduce these beautiful cats.

The Mandalay breed was recognised by the New Zealand  Cat Fancy Inc in June 1990. Unfortunately so far as we are aware, at this time there are no Mandalay cats left from the two original New Zealand breeding programs.

Since that time, there has also been a Cinnamon Mandalay program developed with the introduction of the Cinnamon gene from Abyssinian and Siamese.

There has also been a UK Bombay line imported into NZ.

In the UK similar programs came about involving Burmese, and the resulting breeds were called Bombays for black cats and Asians for all of the other colours. These are different again from the Bombays of the USA, where American Burmese were originally bred with American Shorthairs.

In 2013 a Mandalay program has begun in Australia which involves the use of British Shorthair and Burmese for the initial cross, and subsequent matings are back to Burmese or Mandalay. The type standard resembles that of the Burmese with exceptions for coat and eye colour.

Because of the small number of breeders and even smaller genepool of Mandalays, in 2013 we applied to the NZCF BSAC to import a Mandalay from Australia, given foundation cross was British x Burmese (as opposed to in NZ where it is Domestic x Burmese). This application was unfortunately declined.

In 2015 we had an experimental program approved through the NZCF BSAC to begin a Domestic x Burmese program. This progressed through to second generation when we identified an issue of Congenital Hypothyroid and so the cats involved in this program were all desexed.

In 2018 we again applied to the NZCF BSAC for approval to import a Mandalay from Australia and later that year received confirmation of that approval. In 2019 an Ebony Mandalay stud ‘Bahati Outrageous Fortune (Gen 3) was imported from Queensland, Australia.

Breed Issues

Mandalays are susceptible to the same breed issues as Burmese. For a list of these issues and further information, please view the International Cat Care website.

In comparison to other breeds, Burmese have relatively few issues.

As breeders we take every precaution in avoiding the introduction of any hereditary problems in our cats.

We ask all of our kitten owners to advise us if there are any issues that come up, so that we can deal with these issues and prevent them arising again.

NZCF Standard of Points

To view the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc Standard of Points for the Mandalay breed click here