The European Burmese and the Burmese we know in North America originated from the same source –- Wong Mau, the first Burmese introduced to the western world by Dr. Joseph Thompson in 1930. As Wong Mau was the only example of her type, she had to be mated to another breed of similar type. The obvious choice then was the Siamese. Resulting litters revealed that Wong Mau herself carried a pointed gene, as kittens in her litters were both solid and pointed in color.
The solids were selected for further propagation of the breed. From the United States, the breed spread east to the United Kingdom, where the same lack of breeding stock led again to the introduction of Siamese. From then on, the breed followed different courses of development until today we have two very different looking cats with two different standards, both sharing a common ancestry.
The most obvious difference is the array of colors displayed by the European Burmese -- 10, to be exact -- but there are other differences as well. The European Burmese is an elegant, moderate cat with gently rounded contours, whereas the Burmese has a compact, well-rounded appearance. The European Burmese should have eyes with a top line that is slightly curved with a slant towards the nose, while the Burmese's eyes should have a rounded aperture.
The temperament of the two breeds, however, is essentially the same. Because the European Burmese are highly intelligent, affectionate, and extremely loyal, they make outstanding pets. They like the companionship of another animal, whether dog or cat; however, if circumstances make it impossible they will live quite happily as the sole pet. They love people and make wonderful companions.