With their sweet teddy bear look, docile yet loving temperament and relatively easy maintenance grooming regime, Exotic Shorthairs are fast becoming one of the more popular cat breeds. They make the perfect pet for people who are looking for the laid back personality of the Persian, along with the unique body and head shape, yet do not wish to commit to grooming a Persian’s long coat.
Exotic Shorthair Cats: Breed History
The first documented breeding programs involving a short haired version of Persian cats took place in Britain in the 1950’s. Persian cats were crossed mainly with British Shorthairs to produce shorthairs with the Persian build. During the 1960’s similar programs were developed across the Atlantic, by American breeders who crossed Persian cats with American Shorthairs. It was only in 1967 that these cats began to be shown under the name “Exotic Shorthair”, with clubs dedicated to the breed forming both in the UK and the USA.
Most associations no longer allow crosses to anything but Persian cats, and most of the breed development is now done within the existing gene pool of the Exotic Shorthairs.
An Exotic Shorthair is like a Persian in all breed standards except coat length and type. They share the same stocky build, heavily boned and balanced, along with a large round head and large round eyes. In fact, without the long fluffy hair of the Persian, it is usually easier to judge the cat’s build and shape. The lack of long hair gives this breed an even rounder look.
Like Persian cats, Exotic Shorthairs come in a variety of coat colors and patterns. Since the 1980’s pointed coat patterns (like the Siamese or Himalayan) are also acceptable in Exotic Shorthairs.
The personality of the Exotic Shorthairs matches that of the Persians. They Exotic Shorthairs are often described as affectionate, mellow and laid back, although some breeders claim the Shorthairs are not as laid back as the Persians and may show personality traits normally associated with American Shorthairs.
Exotic Shorthair Cats: Special Needs and Concerns
Exotic Shorthairs are susceptible to many of the health hazards and genetic problems which may affect Persians. Good breeders work hard to weed out these problems, so making sure that you are dealing with a qualified and ethical breeder is imperative when buying an Exotic Shorthair. Some of these common ailments include deformities to the jaws, nose and eyes, which could lead to sinus problems, breathing difficulties and tear duct problems. Breeders should also test for PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) and make sure that their breeding lines are PKD free.
Exotic Shorthair cats do not have any special grooming requirements. Their plush coat does well with occasional brushing.
Some cat pictures on this page, courtesy of Russlana Cattery
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