Olympian Title Winners
In June 2011 the GCCF launched another exalted new title, the Olympian, to be competed for by Imperial Grand cats in classes for ALL breeds, with 15 certificates to win - 5 each at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, from 5 different judges at each level. The actual certificates awarded are very different in style from the familiar Challenge, Grand and Imperial ones - a striking pictorial representation of "Olympian" mountain peaks.
Only a small number of Birmans have been entering these classes so far but two well-known female neuters have already succeeded brilliantly. Within just three months one of them was the joint first cat of any breed to win 5 certificates to achieve an Olympian Bronze title, on the same day as a Maine Coon at a different show. The club is delighted to congratulate and salute these two much-loved ladies on their outstanding achievement.
IMPERIAL GRAND CHAMPION & OLYMPIAN BRONZE IMPERIAL GRAND PREMIER DANLEIGH STARBURST 13c6 Seal Tortie point
Owner/breeder Jean Wormald
Olympian Bronze title attained at the Southern & South Western Birman Cat Club Show on 10 September 2011, where she was also Overall Best in Show
UK IMPERIAL GRAND CHAMPION & UK OLYMPIAN SILVER IMPERIAL GRAND PREMIER MLYWARD SASSAFRAS 13c7
Owners/breeders Ron Mlynek & Dennis Hayward
Olympian Bronze title attained at the Birman Cat Club show on 5 November 2011, where she was Overall Best in Show
Two weeks later at the Supreme Show Sassafras gained her UK Grand Premier title, making her the first Birman to achieve Double UK and Imperial Grand titles.
Olympian Silver title attained at the Preston & Blackpool show on 24 March 2012.
A Celebration of Birman UK Grand Titles
The GCCF introduced the UK Grand Certificates in 1988, to be competed for only at its annual Supreme Show in new classes for Grand Champions and Grand Premiers. A cat winning a UK Grand Certificate at two Supreme Shows gains the title of UK Grand Champion or UK Grand Premier. This innovation had the effect of bringing to the Supreme some older-generation titled cats who would not otherwise have been eligible for the show and were probably retired.
In the early years of the UK Grands, Birmans were in the Longhair section but, together with the Turkish Vans, were given their own Grand classes at the Supreme, and later with the other Semi-Longhair breeds in their new Semi-Longhair section. The number of Birman Grand exhibits who entered was very small at first, but of course has increased over the years: just 4 in 1988, compared with the 30, 40 or 50 and over that we have seen in later years.
The very first Birmans to gain the coveted UK titles did so in the first year possible - 1989 - having gained their first certificates in 1988: they were Seal male Gr Ch Mockorange Big Boy owned Mrs Sandra Moore and bred by Mrs Sundra Barker, and Blue female neuter Ch & Gr Pr Laurant Penny Lane owned and bred by Mrs Carole Flynn. The next winners were the opposite sides of the coins, as it were: Seal male neuter Ch & Gr Pr Melvas Romeo owned and bred by Mrs Melva Eccles in 1990, and Blue female Gr Ch Laurant Mood Indigo, again owned and bred by Mrs Carole Flynn, in 1991.
I would like to pay tribute at this point to two cats who competed for several consecutive years and were the much-admired top-scoring Birmans of their day, but who as unlucky losers just didn't quite make it to a UK Grand title: Seal male Gr Ch Serlahjari Berlain and Blue male neuter Gr Pr Urprity Higgledy Piggledy, both owned by Mr Dougie and Mrs Liz Taylor of Scotland. These famous boys both gained one UK Grand (in 1990 and 1992 respectively) and then were so unlucky as to be pipped into second place in several consecutive years. In 1994 both achieved Best of Breed and Best of Variety in a wonderful double ,but just missed out on the those coveted UK Grand Certificates. 1995 was their last Supreme, when both were 2nd again in sizeable classes, and they continued to delight both old friends and newcomers by appearing on exhibition for some years. Berlain's many fans were sad to learn of his death on 25 February 2003 at the age of 17 and Higgledy Piggledy followed him over Rainbow Bridge in February 2005, aged nearly 14.
In 1995 the Birmans had their own AC (Any Colour) Grand class for the first time, when Gr Ch Sylfox Robernt, owned by Mrs Sally Simmonds and bred by Mrs Eileen Reynolds, became the first Blue male UK Grand Champion, and there were three further UK titles the following year, including the first Blue male neuter Gr Pr Laurant Sir Galahad (making a Laurant hat-trick of UKs), and the first AOC Birman: Seal Tortie female Gr Ch Klassyklogs Krafty Karess owned and bred by Mrs Jane Tackley. In 1997 there was a split into Seal, Blue and AOC (Any Other Colour), opening up the chances still more widely, and all 12 certificates were awarded except for Seal Female where none had entered. The new title that year was the first Tabby point, Seal male who became UK Gr Ch Keitum Krackerjack, owned and bred by Mrs Julie Keith. 1998 was a rather bad year as two judges did not seem to be very impressed with the standard of Birmans and a good many certificates were withheld, including no fewer than five UKs; two UK Grand titles were gained, but it might have been four. In 1999 the Tabby Points got their own Grand classes, followed in 2002 by the Chocolates & Lilacs and the Red, Cream & Tortie group, giving the opportunity for a possible total of 20 Birman UK Grand Certificates to be won. The percentage awarded to Birmans in the years since then has been very high and several UK Grand titles have been gained each year. There are now over 90 Birmans who hold UK Grand titles (this includes six females who hold two, as Adult and Neuter) and it is worth mentioning that most of these managed to win their certificates in consecutive years.
The Birman who held the distinction of being the first female of any breed to become both a UK Grand Champion and a UK Grand Premier has already been mentioned above; the late Klassyklogs Krafty Karess, bred and owned by Mrs Jane Tackley and later given to her husband Barrie as a very special present. "Kressie" became a Double UK at the 2000 Supreme, at the age of 7, and later achieved Imperial and International Grand Premier titles. For some years she was the self-appointed Patron of her Terribly Titled Birman Cat Club, sending them special certificates! Among early highly ranked members of this exclusive club were the late UK Gr Ch & UK Gr Pr Shwechinthe Zunetra, Chocolate female bred by Mrs Elizabeth Brigliadori and her daughter Dr Kathryn Robson, who became the second Birman Double UK at the 2003 Supreme at the age of 10; and UK Gr Ch & UK Gr Pr Shandatal Queenofhearts, Seal female owned and bred by Mrs Shirley Talboys achieved her second UK title at the 2004 Supreme. "Qtie" was Supreme Kitten in 1996 and has been Seal Neuter Best of Breed exhibit at the Supreme for three years running as well as Best of Variety Neuter in 2002 - a wonderful record. These supremely classy girls were joined in 2005 by UK Gr Ch & UK Gr Pr Tarkusha Zinfandel, a Blue female owned and bred by Mr Geoffrey and Mrs Carol Tarr. She achieved the UK double at the age of 9 in a class of 6 other senior ladies, having been Best of Variety Adult at the 1999 Supreme, the year of her UK Grand Champion title. UK Gr Ch & UK Imp Gr Pr Shwechinthe Sasskia, a classy Lilac neutered female owned and bred by Mrs Elizabeth Brigliadori and Dr Kathryn Robson, in attaining her UK Grand Premier title in 2009, became the fifth Birman female to achieve the UK double, at 11 years old. They are now joined by UK Imp Gr Ch & UK Olympian Silver Imp Gr Pr Mlyward Sassafras, 12-year-old Cream point female owned and bred by Ron Mlynek and Dennis Hayward
The 2009 Supreme was a very good year with a record total of 10 Birmans gaining the UK Grand titles, plus a Best of Variety Exhibit (the first Birman BOV since 2006): the wonderful 16-year-old Seal Female Neuter Ch & UK Imp Gr Pr Syralette Blushing Bride, owned and bred by Sue Attley. Her win set a new Birman record: the oldest Birman to gain a title in Britain.
For the 2009 Supreme the GCCF introduced an additional element: classes for cats already holding a UK title to compete for the honour of Best of Breed in their colour category. There were very few takers, in the Semi Longhair section at least and no Birmans at all, but in both 2010 and 2011 Imp Gr Ch & UK Imp Gr Pr Rivanna Chiffon, a beautiful Chocolate Tabby Female Neuter owned and bred by Mrs Liz Stables who became UK Grand Premier in 2009, entered for Best of breed, and won it. At 11 years old she has now achieved Best of Breed Tabby Neuter for a record five years running - a superb achievement.
Until this year, just one Birman UK Grand title holder (and Terribly Titled Birman) also holds the distinction of a "Supreme" title: Seal Tabby Male Neuter Kalemyo Klawsforapplause owned and bred by Mrs Viv Lee. Now over 10 years old and still on the show bench, he won a Kitten Best of Breed at his first Supreme in 2000, returned as a young neutered Champion in 2001, gained his Premier title on the day and was Best of Variety Neuter followed by the ultimate success - Supreme Exhibit, entitling him to include "Supreme" with his subsequent titles. Today "Kaly" is Champion & Supreme UK Imperial Grand Premier under the GCCF, as well as holding a string of TICA and FIFe titles. Although two other Birmans have achieved Supreme Exhibit, both did so as kittens: the late Gr Ch Tarkusha Princeofthieves in 1995, a Seal male owned and bred by Mr and Mrs Tarr; and UK Gr Ch & UK Gr Pr Shandatal Queenofhearts, already referred to above, in 1996. Unfortunately, as kittens do not carry titles, they have not been able to be styled "Supreme".
However, the 2010 Supreme, a great year for our Birmans with 8 new UK Grand titles plus Adult and Neuter Best of Variety exhibits, gave us the first to win a Supreme title since "Kaly" in 2001, in the Household Pet section. Grand Master Cat Twizzle, a Blue point boy of 8 years, won his first UK Grand by winning his Grand class of 6 cats, was chosen as Best of Variety Longhair Pedigree Pet, went forward to Supreme judging on the platform where he was chosen as Supreme Pedigree Pet. This win earned him his second UK Grand certificate, and so his proud title is now Supreme UK Grand Master Cat Twizzle, the first Birman UK Grand HP exhibit. Many congratulations to Twizzle, to proud owner Elizabeth Scott and delighted breeder Nicky Butler!
Details, and photos where available, of all the UK title winners to date on the UK Title Holders Gallery
Editor, Birman Cat Club Magazine
Imperial Title Winners
In June 2005 the race began for the first Birmans to win the new Imperial title introduced by the GCCF to be competed for by Grand Champion and Grand Premiers only, and to be awarded to cats "of exceptional quality". It took nine months for the first Birman to win the five certificates required to achieve an Imperial title. The first male and female Adults and Neuters to become Imperial Grand Champions and Premiers are as follows:-
UK GRAND CHAMPION SUCETTE ICECOLD INALEX - 6-year-old Lilac male adult
GRAND CHAMPION KLASSYKLOGS KORALLINA - 3-year-old Seal Tortie female adult
UK GRAND PREMIER LINGCOMB ENDYMION - 5-year-old Seal male neuter
GRAND PREMIER ESAYA BRONTE - 12-year-old Seal female neuter
Their photographs and more details can be seen below. Since March 2006 many Birmans, in all colours, have achieved the title and the present total is more than 70 Imperial Grand Champions or Premiers.
UK & IMPERIAL GRAND CHAMPION SUCETTE ICECOLD INALEX 13c4
Owner/breeder Miss Liz Whitby
The first ever Birman and first male to win the new Imperial Title. Achieved at the Lancashire Cat Club Show Saturday 11th March 2006