Exotic Shorthair

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Exotic Shorthair
Brown Exotic Shorthair Kitten.jpg
Brown Tabby Exotic Shorthair
Female Kitten - 1 yr old
Origin United States
Breed standards
CFA standard
FIFe standard
TICA standard
AACE standard
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

The Exotic Shorthair is a breed of cat developed to be a shorthaired version of the Persian. The Exotic Shorthair is similar to the Persian in many ways, including temperament and conformation,[citation needed] with the exception of the short dense coat. It has even inherited many of the Persian's health problems .[citation needed]

The Persian was used as an outcross by some American Shorthair (ASH) breeders in the late 1950s to "improve" their breed. The crossbreed look gained recognition in the show ring but other American Shorthair breeders,[who?] unhappy with the changes, successfully produced a new breed standard that would disqualify ASH that showed signs of crossbreeding. One ASH breeder who saw the potential of the Persian/ASH cross proposed and eventually managed to get the Cat Fanciers' Association to recognize them as a new breed in 1966, under the name Exotic Shorthair. During the breeding program, crosses were also made with the Russian Blue and the Burmese. Since 1987, the only allowable outcross breed is the Persian. The Fédération Internationale Féline recognized the Exotic Shorthair in 1986.

Because of the regular use of Persians as outcrosses, some Exotics may carry a copy of the recessive longhair gene. When two such cats mate, there is a one in four chance of each offspring being longhaired. Ironically, longhaired Exotics are not considered Persians by CFA, although The International Cat Association accepts them as Persians. Other associations[which?] register them as a separate Exotic Longhair breed.[1]


Head: Oval, massive. Very broad skull. Rounded forehead. Round, full cheeks. Short, broad, round muzzle. Short, broad nose with pronounced stop. Strong chin. Broad, powerful jaws. Pancake.

Ears: Small, rounded at the tip, not too open at the base. Widely spaced and well-furnished with hair on the inside.

Eyes: Large, round, well-spaced. Pure, deep color corresponding to that of the coat (gold to copper in most varieties; green in the chinchilla and the golden; blue in the white and the colorpoint).

Neck: Short and thick.

Body: Medium in size, cobby, low to the ground. Broad chest. Massive shoulders. Large-boned, powerful muscles. Weight: 3,5 - 6 kilogram.

Paw: Short, straight, and large. Round, large paws. Tufts of hair between the toes are desirable.

Tail: Short, thick, carried low. Rounded tip.

Coat: Shorthaired but slightly longer than that of other shorthaired breeds. Dense, fluffy, erect hair. All Persian colors are recognized.


Male Exotic Shorthair - 12 months

Exotic Shorthairs have a gentle and calm personality reminiscent of the Persian, but are livelier than their long-haired ancestors. Curious and playful, they are friendly to other cats and dogs. They don’t like being left alone, and need the presence of their owner (or of voices or smells reminiscent of their owner, such as a radio). They tend to show more affection and loyalty than most breeds and make excellent lap cats. Their calm and steady nature makes them ideal apartment cats for city dwellers. Nonetheless, Exotics retain some of the energetic spark of their American Shorthair forebears and they are often capable mouse hunters.

Care and grooming[edit]

White female Exotic Shorthair cat - 12 weeks old

Unlike the high-maintenance Persian, the Exotic is able to keep its own fur tidy with little human assistance, though weekly brushing and combing is recommended to remove loose hair and reduce shedding and hairballs.

As with other flat-faced animals, the Exotic's tears are prone to overflowing the nasolacrimal duct, dampening and staining the face. This can be relieved by periodically wiping the cat's face with a cloth moistened with water or one of the commercial preparations made expressly for the purpose.

This breed does not reach maturity until around two years of age and enters puberty fairly late. When two Exotic Shorthairs are crossed, they may produce longhaired kittens called “Exotic Longhairs” by the C.F.A. but considered Persian by other registering bodies. Externally they look like Persians.


  • Feline polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Exotic shorthairs as is the case of Persians and other Persian derived cats have a high chance of inheriting PKD, a disease that can lead to kidney failure. Several studies using ultrasound scan screening have shown that the prevalence of PKD in exotics is between 40-50% in developed nations.[2][3][4] DNA screening for PKD is recommended for all exotic shorthair cats used in breeding programs, to reduce the incidence of kidney disease, by spaying and neutering PKD positive cats.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Calico, Mr. Tinkles' sidekick from the Cats & Dogs series.
  • There has been a long argument that Garfield might be an Exotic Shorthair because of his shape and his short and square build. However, Garfield's facial features don't resemble an Exotic Shorthair's, as Garfield has extended lips while Exotics have short lips. Granted, when Garfield is passive his lips are much shorter, so he very well could be an Exotic.
  • Furguson from the American television show New Girl is an Exotic Shorthair tabby.
  • Pudge the Cat, an internet-famous cat, is an Exotic Shorthair.
  • Smoosh, another Internet feline sensation, is an Exotic Shorthair. Smoosh is a "boyfriend" of Lil Bub.
  • Snoopybabe, another Internet feline sensation who is living in China, is an Exotic Shorthair.
  • Pandorka The Cat, a new internet cat star, is an Exotic Shorthair.
  • Bronte, a singing cat in an advert for UK mobile phone network 3


  1. ^ Helgren, J. Anne. (2006) Iams Cat Breed Guide: Exotic Shorthair Telemark Productions
  2. ^ Beck, C.; Lavelle, R. B. (2001). "Feline polycystic kidney disease in Persian and other cats: A prospective study using ultrasonography". Australian Veterinary Journal 79 (3): 181–184. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.2001.tb14573.x. PMID 11301745. 
  3. ^ Bonazzi, M.; Volta, A.; Gnudi, G.; Bottarelli, E.; Gazzola, M.; Bertoni, G. (2007). "Prevalence of the polycystic kidney disease and renal and urinary bladder ultrasonographic abnormalities in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats in Italy". Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 9 (5): 387–391. doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2007.03.004. 
  4. ^ Barthez, P. Y.; Rivier, P.; Begon, D. (2003). "Prevalence of polycystic kidney disease in Persian and Persian related cats in France". Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 5 (6): 345–347. doi:10.1016/s1098-612x(03)00052-4. PMID 14623204. 

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