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Turkish Van


The Turkish Van is a semilong-haired breed, developed from a selection of cats obtained from various cities of modern Turkey, especially the southeast part, mostly near Lake Van. The breed is distinguished by the Van pattern (named after the breed), where the colour is restricted to the head and the tail, a few spots on the body; the rest of the cat is white. The breed takes from 3 to 5 years to reach their full maturity.


In 1955, two British photographers, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, while on assignment in Turkey for the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, were given two unrelated cats in Turkey. They took them home and allowed to mate. When the offspring came out identical to their parents – chalk white with dark tail and head markings – she set to establishing a standardised breed, originally named Turkish cat, later Turkish Van, and having it recognised by the British cat fancy organisations. The breed is recognised by FIFe since 1960.


The Turkish Van is a large, muscular cat with a long sturdy body and medium long tail. The body should call to mind the body build of an athlete. The coat on a Turkish Van is semi-longhaired, with no evident undercoat.


Turkish Vans are highly driven and muscular, which allows them to be very strong jumpers to study their environment. They get around with impressive athleticism. While Turkish Vans are affectionate to their family members, they are not normally lap cats. They may lie next to their owners and will happily allow themselves to be petted, but this is not a breed that tolerates being picked up and often wants to be near their owner, not on their owner.

Breed Standard
Last modification of the Standard: 2024