Exotic Shorthair (Cat)

Exotic Shorthair Cat

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Animal, animals
Subkingdom Bilateria
Infrakingdom Deuterostomia
Phylum Chordata – chordates
Subphylum Vertebrata – vertebrates
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758 – mammals
Subclass Theria Parker and Haswell, 1897
Infraclass Eutheria Gill, 1872
Order Carnivora Bowdich, 1821 – carnivores, carnivores
Suborder Feliformia Kretzoi, 1945 – cat-like carnivores
Family Felidae Fischer de Waldheim, 1817 – cats
Subfamily Felinae Fischer de Waldheim, 1817
Genus Felis Linnaeus, 1758 – small cats
Species Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 – Domestic Cat
Felis catus, Linnaeus, 1758, Taxonomic Serial No.: 183798

For many years British breeders experimented with crossbreeding Persian and Russian Blue lines into the British shorthair breed. In the 1950's and 1960's in the U.S., some breeders began using Persians in their American shorthair breeding programs. There was an open registration policy at that time. The goal was to add color not yet available in American shorthairs, such as chinchilla and shaded silver, which at that time existed only in the Persian breed. Resulting from this hybridization the shorthairs began acquiring some undesirable traits, including round heads and soft, excessively long coats. This outcrossing was discontinued by most breeders.

The hybrids were appreciated by some breeders for the cat's exceptional beauty and uniqueness. In 1966, through the initiative of Jane Martinke, a judge with the CFA, it was suggested to institute a program in recognition of the hybrid. Therefore the CFA decided to designate the new breed as Exotic Shorthair. The ideal was to be a short haired Persian, and all breeders of the hybrid American Shorthairs were given an opportunity for registration of their cats to this new breed.

By 1967, Exotic Shorthairs were accepted for Championship status. Burmese and Russian Blues were also used in the early years because at that time any shorthair was allowed. Today only Persians are accepted.

The standard for Exotic Shorthairs is the same as that for Persians except the coat which must be medium length, soft and stands out from the body. The length is slightly longer than that of other short-haired cats but should not be so long that it "flows," as does the Persian's coat. Because of its close ties with the Persian, this breed has been judged along with the long-haired breed group at the CFA shows since 1983.

Following years of hard work, breeders have produced Exotic Shorthairs equal in body and head type to the Persian. However, the breed still has its own distinct appearance which some call a "teddy bear look," with a stocky body that is boldly apparent with short legs and the neck is more easily seen without the long coat.

Exotic Shorthair Cat
Grolier Encyclopedia ©1991
One of the more recently accepted breeds of cat by the CFA. Its fur has Persian qualities but is as short as that of the Abyssinian and does not mat. Its color is the same as the Persian breed. Its nose is short and snub and its legs are low. This cat was produced by breeding a shorthair with a Persian.

References and Further Reading

  • Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge ©1991
  • Feline Husbandry, pp. 39-40, ©1991 American Veterinary Publications, Inc.
  • Pet MD: Exotic Shorthair
  • About This Breed
  • Vet Street: Exotic Shorthair
  • All Cat Breeds
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