Exotic Shorthair

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Exotic Shorthair
Ginger Exotic Shorthair
OriginUnited States
Foundation bloodstockAmerican Shorthair
Persian Cat
Burmese (occasionally)
Russian Blue (occasionally)
Breed standards
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

The Exotic Shorthair is a breed of cat developed as a short-haired version of the Persian. The Exotic is similar to the Persian in appearance with the exception of the short dense coat.[1]


In the late 1950s, the Persian was used as an outcross by some American Shorthair breeders. This was done in secret in order to improve their body type, and crosses were also made with the Russian Blue and the Burmese. The crossbreed look gained recognition in the show ring, but unhappy American Shorthair breeders successfully produced a new breed standard that would disqualify American Shorthairs that showed signs of crossbreeding. One American Shorthair breeder who saw the potential of the Persian/American Shorthair cross proposed and eventually got the Cat Fanciers' Association judge and American Shorthair breeder Jane Martinke to recognize them as a new breed in 1966, under the name Exotic Shorthair. In 1987, the Cat Fanciers' Association closed the Exotic to shorthair outcrosses, leaving Persian as the only allowable outcross breed.[2]


An Exotic Shorthair cat.


The Exotic Shorthair is a medium to large sized breed just like the Persian. The head of the Exotic Shorthair is round and large. The ears are small with a well rounded tip that face low on the head. The cheeks are full and rounded. The eyes are large and round. The tail is short compared to the length of the body. Just like the British Shorthair and the Persian the Exotic Shorthair comes in all different colour variations.[3][4]

Longhair Exotics[edit]

Because of the regular use of Persian as outcrosses, some Exotics may carry a copy of the recessive longhair gene. When two such cats mate, there is a 1 in 4 chance of each offspring being longhaired. Longhaired Exotics are not considered Persians by the Cat Fanciers' Association, although The International Cat Association accepts them as Persians. Other associations like the American Cat Fanciers Association register them as a separate Exotic Longhair breed.[2]

Male Exotic Shorthair – 12 months

A sleeping Exotic Shorthair


Like the Persian the Exotic Shorthair is a brachycephalic breed, meaning that it has problems as a result of having the nose and eyes in close proximity to each other, giving the appearance of a pushed-in face.[5] Some conditions common in the Exotic Shorthair are listed below.

12-week-old white female Exotic Shorthair
  • Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome. Also referred to as brachycephalic respiratory syndrome or congenital obstructive upper airway disease, this causes upper airway abnormalities ranging in severity. The syndrome can cause increased airway resistance, inflammation of structures in the airways, and increased strain on the heart.[6] Treatment includes weight loss, surgery, and avoiding humid or hot conditions.
  • Calcium oxalate urolithiasis. A stone that crystallizes in the bladder and kidney.[citation needed]
  • Corneal sequestrum. A necrosis of the cornea of unknown origin.[7]
  • Dystocia. An abnormal labor due to large-domed skulls.[8]
  • Feline polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Exotic Shorthairs, as well as 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 and 50% in developed nations.[9][10][11] DNA screening for PKD is recommended for all Exotic cats used in breeding programs to reduce the incidence of kidney disease by spaying and neutering PKD positive cats.

In a review of over 5,000 cases of urate urolithiasis the Exotic Shorthair was significantly under-represented, with only one of the recorded cases belonging to an Exotic Shorthair.[12]


The Exotic has steadily gained popularity among cat fanciers with the help of the devoted advocates of the breed who saw the value in a Persian and Shorthair crossbreed.

  • In 1967, the Exotic Shorthair was first accepted for Championship status by the Cat Fanciers' Association.[2]
  • In 1971, the first Exotic Shorthair achieved the status of Grand Champion.[citation needed]
  • In 1986, the Fédération Internationale Féline recognized the Exotic Shorthair.[citation needed]
  • In 1991, an Exotic was the Cat Fanciers' Association's Cat of the Year.[13]
  • In 1992, the Cat Fanciers' Association's Best Kitten was an Exotic.[14]


  1. ^ "Exotic Shorthair". PetMD.
  2. ^ a b c Helgren, J. Anne. (2006). "Cat Breed Detail: Exotic Shorthair". Iams.com. Telemark Productions / Procter & Gamble. Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Exotic Shorthair Standard" (PDF). Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Exotic Shorthair". Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  5. ^ "Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Cats". VCA Hospital. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Cats". VCA Animal Hospitals.
  7. ^ Kirk N. Gelatt, ed. (2021). Veterinary ophthalmology (Sixth ed.). Hoboken, NJ. ISBN 978-1-119-44181-6. OCLC 1143827380.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  8. ^ "Dystocia (difficult birth) in Cats". Cat World. 17 June 2017.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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. PMID 17498994. S2CID 7122987.
  11. ^ 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. S2CID 26271964.
  12. ^ Albasan, H.; Osborne, C. A.; Lulich, J. P.; Lekcharoensuk, C. (2012). "Risk factors for urate uroliths in cats". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 240 (7): 842–847. doi:10.2460/javma.240.7.842. PMID 22443437.
  13. ^ "Exotic Shorthair". PetMD. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  14. ^ "Exotic Shorthair Cat". Pet Finder.

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