Applehead Siamese cats, as their name suggests, have rounded faces like apples! They also have bigger, heavier bodies than today's ultra-lean and svelte Wedgehead show cat.
Appleheads came about after years of selective breeding during which Siamese breeders strove to produce a longer, thinner, more extreme-wedge look in their show cats.
This eventually resulted in some serious health problems for the modern breed, both externally, with some kittens being born with ear and eye defects, and internally, causing cardiovascular and kidney complications.
This caused an enormous amount of concern, and a move was started by some American breeders to try and return the breed to the look of the early cats that came from Siam (Thailand) to the West, sometime in the 1880s.
Armit, an early Thai cat, in 1890
These original Thai cats had smaller ears, less angular faces, bigger bones and rounder, more muscular bodies.
The breed today (and the modern show winner) is very long, lean, and angular.
In order to achieve the round Applehead look, breeders may have crossed their Siamese with other breeds.
For example, the American or British Shorthair varieties, which have shorter, rounder faces.
It's possible that today's Applehead Siamese cats are not, in fact, totally similar to those early Thai cats.
Attempts to create a cat whose looks were more in keeping with those original Siamese may actually have gone too far, and many Applehead faces may now be too round.
This is because it's likely that the cats in those early pictures were un-neutered males.
Stud cats tend to be heavier than neuters, and have a tendency to develop jowls that make them look round-faced, whereas in fact their faces (without the jowls) were probably more of a moderate wedge shape.
But, from the two pictures here, you can see that the look is very similar.
A Traditional Siamese cat today
The terms traditional Siamese or 'Applehead' are used mainly in the United States, and indeed the use of the term 'traditional' to describe the Applehead cat was first proposed and copyrighted by the Traditional Cat Association, Inc.
British breeders don't generally use the term Applehead, preferring instead to use 'old-style' (which can also be used to describe the Classic shape – a more moderate body-type which is different to, and rather smaller than, the Applehead. You can see how complicated it gets!)
I always think of the old-style or Classic shape as falling somewhere between the Applehead and the Modern or Extreme-Wedge show type of cat.
Siamese cats are extremely beautiful, with all the personality,
intelligence and loving nature for which the breed is known.
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