Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: What Are The Differences?

Domestic Cat, Autumn, Birman, Nature, Winter
© Liudmila Chernetska/Shutterstock.com

Written by Colby Maxwell

Updated: November 11, 2022

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Depending on how you count it, there are around 70 different cat breeds worldwide. Each of these breeds is incredibly unique, and most are stunningly beautiful. Two breeds that look a little similar are the Birman cat and the Siamese cat. Both of these felines are wonderful companions, but what exactly makes them different? Today, we are going to find out the differences between them. Let’s discover: Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat; are they the same breed?

Comparing a Birman cat vs a Siamese cat

Birman cats and Siamese cats vary in hair type, hair color, and temperament.
Birman catSiamese cat
Breed Origin“Sacred cat of Burma.” First recognized in France in 1925. Potential temple companions for priests in northern Burma.Bred in Thailand (formerly known as Siam). First mention of Siamese showed up in an ancient book, “The Cat-Book Poems”.
Hair typeLong-haired with silky coats. No undercoat.Comes in two varieties but is most commonly recognized as a short-haired breed.
Hair colorColor-pointed cat. Point colors can be seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, red, or cream.Color-pointed cat. Point colors can be seal, chocolate, blue, or lilac.
TemperamentAffectionate, friendly, gentle, curious. Good with other pets.Social, affectionate, intelligent, playful (known to play fetch).
Price$400-$2,000$600-$1,200

The 5 main differences between a Birman cat and a Siamese cat

The main differences between a Birman cat and a Siamese cat are their coats, breed origins, and rarity (price).

Birman and Siamese cats are two extremely elegant breeds that share some striking similarities between them. These similarities are mostly in color, as both are known as “color-pointers,” with pale bodies and dark extremities. The Siamese is an extremely old breed and is often considered one of the foundational breed lines for many other cat breeds.

One of the clearest differences between these two breeds is their hair types. Birman cats are known for their medium to long fur, while Siamese cats are known for their short fur. One important note, however, is that Siamese cats have a long-haired variant, although they fall out of what most people imagine when they think of a Siamese.

If you are considering either one of these cats as a pet, temperament is super important. Overall, both breeds make wonderful companions and are known for their friendliness and affection. One of the main differences between the two is that the Siamese is known to be a bit more playful, with many owners documenting their cat playing fetch with them! That isn’t to say that the Birman isn’t playful, but the breed’s temperament isn’t as disposed to it. Still, it’s important to know that breed temperaments can be helpful, but individual cats rarely fall neatly into breed descriptions.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these differences in more detail below!

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: Breed Origin

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat

Birman cats likely came from Burma and could have been temple companions.

©Gatot Adri/Shutterstock.com

The Birman cat gets its name from its likely region of origin, Burma. Although there isn’t a specific timeline on when this breed was actually created, it is commonly believed that they were bred to be companions for priests in the northern part of Burma. The first time the breed was recognized by an official organization was in 1925 in France.

The Siamese cat is one of the older breeds around and was often used to create many of the modern breeds we consider distinct today. The first time that the Siamese breed shows up is in a book titled “The Cat-Book Poems,” a manuscript from a few hundred years ago. Other breeds descended from the Siamese include Balinese, Bengal, Birman, Burmese, Havana Brown, Colorpoint Shorthair, Himalayan, Javanese, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair, Oriental Longhair, Savannah, Snowshoe, Thai Cat, Tonkinese, and Mekong Bobtail.

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: Hair type

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat

The Siamese has short hair, while the Birman has medium to long hair.

©iStock.com/chromatos

The Siamese cat is known for its short hair, although one variant of the breed, the long-haired Siamese, has long hair.

The Birman is known for its medium to long silky hair. Interestingly, Birmans don’t have an undercoat. As such, they rarely get knots and mats like other breeds with similar hair.

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: Hair Color

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat

Birman and Siamese cats are color-pointers and have pale bodies with dark extremities.

©Liudmila Chernetska/Shutterstock.com

Both the Birman and the Siamese are known as “color-pointed” cats. Color-pointing is characterized by pale bodies with darkly marked extremities. The Birman has a pale body and “points” that can be seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, red, or cream.

Like the Birman, the Siamese is a color-pointed cat. It has a pale body and dark extremities. Siamese point colors are generally seal, chocolate, blue, or lilac.

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: Temperament

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat

Both cats make excellent companions, although the Siamese is often known to be a bit more playful.

©BeansproutP/Shutterstock.com

The Siamese is also a wonderful companion prized for its playfulness. It is known to be social, affectionate, intelligent, and playful. The breed is known to play fetch with owners, a habit that is mostly attributed to dogs.

The Birman cat makes a wonderful companion. It is known to be affectionate, friendly, gentle, and curious. Additionally, Birmans are known to do well with other pets in the house.

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat: Price

Birman Cat vs Siamese Cat

Birman kittens can go for $400-$2,000.

©iStock.com/cynoclub

Like any show animal, certain lines are more “prized” than others. These prices are for standard kittens.

The Birman usually costs between $400-$2,000 and is generally considered to be a rarer breed.

Siamese cats are much more common and cost between $600-$1,200.


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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