|Kami -- Doll-faced Shaded Cameo|
Extreme-faced Persians are the new version of Persians, with, as the name implies, an extremely flat face. (These are the show cats!) The nose leather sometimes does not extend passed the eyes in profile. To get their nose so short, the internal structure of their skulls has had to be modified and compromised in many cases. (The veterinary term is brachycephalic skull.) This shortening does come with many potential problems:
- breathing problems because of small nostrils
- breathing problems because of internal sinus structures
- breathing problems because the soft palate is not reduced in length
- frequent sinus infections
- blocked tear-ducts
- mild URI (upper respiratory infection) becoming very serious URI
- misaligned teeth leading to poor chewing
- misaligned teeth leading extreme tartar build-up and tooth decay
- overshot jaw because it was not reduced in length
- more frequent eye injuries
- diminished mental capacity due to smaller cranium
|Peaches -- extreme-faced shaded cameo|
Now, some extreme Persians have few of these, some have many of these -- a lot depends on the internal structures in the skull.
So why make a Persian nose so short? Interesting question to which I have never received a sound answer. The most frequent reply is because this is what the cat breed guidelines say, but that is a bit circular. The breed standard would not say a shortened nose if people didn't want it. I personally feel there are two reasons.
- When the breed standard began to emphasis a shortened nose, the cats with the shortest noses did better. As more short-nosed Persians won, the race was on to breed even shorter noses in the hopes of winning.
- The short nose with the big eyes and round face is a 'baby face'. There is a term for this, which I can't recall, but researchers have shown we humans are hard-wired to have loving feelings for large eyes and round faces. An extreme-faced Persian is much closer to this 'baby face' than a doll-faced Persian. They are more appealing to us.
So what will the future bring? Some of the non-US cat federations, such as in the UK, are moving away from the extreme-faced Persian to somewhere between extreme- and doll-faced. They are doing so mainly on health reasons. Will this trend happen in the US? I don't know -- only time will tell.