start by quoting for you the relevant portions of each standard from
STANDARD FOR ABYSSINIAN
BODY: Long, lithe, graceful and well balanced.
LEGS: Relatively long and fine boned.
PAWS: Oval and compact.
TAIL: Thick at base, proportionately long and tapering. A whip is undesirable, kink not permissible
STANDARD FOR BURMESE
BODY: Of medium length and size, feeling hard and muscular, and heavier than its appearance indicates. The chest strong and rounded in profile, the back straight from shoulder to rump.
LEGS: Slender and in proportion to the body, hind legs slightly longer than front. PAWS: Neat and oval.
TAIL: Straight and of medium length, not heavy at the base, and tapering only slightly to a rounded tip without defect. A visible kink precludes the award of a Challenge Certificate, but an invisible bone defect at the tip may be overlooked in an otherwise excellent specimen
‘STANDARD’ FOR AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC (!)
Medium body, medium length legs, paws and tail in proportion to body.
STANDARD FOR AUSTRALIAN MIST
BODY: Medium in length, hard and muscular, heavier than it appears; chest broad and round.
LEGS: Proportionately strong, hind legs slightly higher than forelegs. PAWS: Neat and oval.
TAIL: Long, thick, minimal taper, well furred.
These standards are picked apart in the comparative table shown on the next page preamble phrases and faults are incorporated in the appropriate place.
Fundamentally the perfect Australian Mist body has a strong frame of bone - definitely with more substance than the Abyssinian, which is a finer and more athletic cat than either Burmese or Aussie Mist. A good Burmese tends also to have some of this strength of bone, and shares with the Aussie Mist a very strong, deceptively heavy muscle cover. However, this greater strength of bone does not imply either a lack of elegance, nor does it allow any degree of cobbiness to be acceptable - as is specifically mentioned in the Burmese standard.
There is a tendency in some lines to develop too ‘boxy’ an outline in the profile of the standing cat - the legs are a touch too short, the front and back legs appear to be the same height, and the back is quite straight, and parallel to the ground. I would describe the perfect body as sculpted, the broad arc over the rounded rump is differentiated from the saddle of the back, which is again distinct from a more obvious curve over the shoulder blades, before flowing into the elegant neck.The transition from each curved plane along the back is smooth, one flows into another
an obvious break. The curves visible in profile also include the
chest and the nicely taut smooth line of the tummy.
In cross section, there should be breadth across the back, the curve over the rump and shoulders flow smoothly into the tops of the legs, which should also have a rounded, muscular elegance, never resembling tree trunks. Paws are neat, oval, but strong, broad enough to balance the strength of leg.
Viewed from the top, there needs to be a balance between the breadth of the skull, and the back - from time to time Ausmists have tiny little heads on very broad bodies (and I am not talking solely about ‘Tachete syndrome’ sufferers!), or they have narrow tubular bodies, more befitting a Siamese, topped with a broad head (more obvious in stud males). Viewed from on top, the body which is too short and square, with short boxy head is also easily spotted, as is the looong snaky body with the looong snaky head - both these extremes are wrong. As the standard says ‘a well balanced cat of moderate Foreign type, with no tendency to extremes in any characteristic. These words form part of our standard’s preamble and should always be borne in mind when assessing a kitten to keep, a stud to use, or as a judge.
In considering the tail, it should be remembered that bone and muscle alone are not the essence - the fur cover is also being discussed in all three standards. The tails of all three breeds reflect to some extent coat texture. Each of the tails of the parent breeds is different from each other, and different from the Australian Mist tail. Our tail is long, but without taper, it is a ‘fat tail’ because it should be covered with fur with considerable undercoat. Of course there is some taper in the bone, but this should not be visible . We are less hung up about bone defects than the two parent breeds, but it should always be borne in mind that the Standard List of Faults - All Breeds, it says
*Fixed Deviation (Kink) of the Tail at any Point - small bony excrescences need not debar the cat from being placed, but should be taken into consideration if visible. An invisible defect at the extreme tip of the tail may be overlooked in an otherwise excellent specimen.
We have tried to maintain an attitude to tail defects in keeping with this general provision for all breeds.
Short tails can be a problem - they appear to be rather persistent, as do kinks - so try to avoid breeding from short or kink tailed stock. Thin tails, however, generally indicate a coat texture fault, which is likely to be evident elsewhere. Choosing a mate with better coat texture is likely to improve more than one characteristic! Truda M Straede
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