Domestic short-haired cat

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Domestic short-haired cat
American Shorthair.jpg
Tabby male domestic short-haired cat
Other names
  • Domestic Shorthair (DSH)
  • House Cat, Shorthair (HCS)
  • Shorthair Household Pet
Common nicknamesmoggie, mutt
Variety statusNot recognised as a standardised breed by any major breed registry.
Like the domestic long-haired cat, this is not a breed, but a non-breed classification of mixed-breed cat.
Domestic cat (Felis catus)
Black-and-white female domestic short-haired cat sleeping in a sunbeam.

A domestic short-haired cat is a cat of mixed ancestry—thus not belonging to any particular recognised cat breed—possessing a coat of short fur. In Britain they are sometimes colloquially called moggies. Domestic short-haired cats are distinct from the British Shorthair, American Shorthair, and other standardized breeds with "Short-hair" names recognized by various registries. Domestic short-haireds are the most common cat in the United States,[1] accounting for around 90–95% of their number.[1][2] Other generic terms include house cat and alley cat (the latter may be used more specifically to refer to feral cats).

In the cat fancy, and among veterinarians and animal control agencies, domestic short-haired cats may be classified with organisation-specific terminology (often capitalized), such as

  • Domestic Shorthair[2] (DSH)
  • House Cat, Shorthair (HCS),[3][4] or
  • Shorthair Household Pet.[5]

Such a pseudo-breed is used for registry as well as shelter/rescue classification purposes. While not bred as show cats, some mixed-breed cats are actually pedigreed and entered into cat shows that have non-purebred "Household Pet" divisions. Show rules vary; Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) permits "any eye colour, all coat colours and patterns, any coat length or texture, and any length of tail"[4] (basically, any cat). Others may be more restrictive; an example from the World Cat Federation: "All classic colours are permitted. Any amount of white is permitted. The colours chocolate and cinnamon, as well as their dilution (lilac and fawn) are not recognized in any combinations (bicolour, tricolour, tabby). The pointed pattern is also not recognized. The description of colours is listed in the general list of colours."[5]

Domestic short-haired cats are characterised by a wide range of colouring, and typically "revert to type" after a few generations, which means they express their coats as a tabby cat. This can be any colour or combination of colours. They also exhibit a wide range of physical characteristics, and as a result, domestic short-haired cats in different countries tend to look different in body shape and size, as they are working from differing gene pools. DSH cats in Asia tend to have a build similar to a "classic" Siamese or Tonkinese, while European and American varieties have a thicker, heavier build.[6] Mixed-breed domestic cats have a form of hybrid vigor due to their diverse gene pool, so they are much less vulnerable to the genetic problems for which purebred cats must be carefully screened.

Since freely breeding domestic short-haired cats form distinctive landraces in wide geographic areas, they have been the basis of several recent formal breeds such as the European Shorthair (Celtic Shorthair), and American Shorthair.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Domestic Longhair (Video). Cats 101. Animal Planet. Says 10% are long-haired.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Pet (Dog & Cat) Population Factsheet" (PDF). American Humane Association (AHA). 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2013-12-17. Gives a figure of 95% short-haired.
  3. ^ "Breed Standards". Luxembourg: Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe). 2013. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b "House Cat / Hauskatze / Chat de Maison" (PDF). FIFe. 1 January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Shorthair: Household Pet". Essen, Germany: World Cat Federation (WCF). 1 January 2010. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. PDF version:
  6. ^ "Cat keeping has always been a hairy thing". Retrieved 2017-02-16.