The Persian cat is a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and short muzzle. It is also known as the "Persian Longhair" in the English-speaking countries. In the Middle East region they are widely known as "Iranian cat" and in Iran they are known as "Shirazi cat". The first documented ancestors of the Persian were imported into Italy from Iran around 1620. The exact history of the Persian cat does seem to be a bit of a mystery but many of these long-haired cats were seen in hieroglyphics. The story has it that these long-haired cats were then imported into Europe as their popularity grew and breeding took place in Italy and France.