Exotic Shorthair Cats
The Exotic Shorthair is a breed of cat developed to be a shorthaired version of the Persian. They appeal to people who like the personality of a Persian but do not want the hassle of grooming a long-haired cat. The easier to manage coat has made some label the Exotic Shorthair the lazy person’s Persian. The Exotic Shorthair is similar to the Persian in many ways, including temperament and conformation, with the exception of the short dense coat. It has even inherited much of the Persian’s health problems.
The Persian was used as an outcross secretly by some American Shorthair (ASH) breeders in the late 1950s to “improve” their breed. The hybrid look gained recognition in the show ring but other breeders unhappy with the changes successfully pushed for new breed standards that would disqualify ASH that showed signs of hybridization. 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 register them as a separate Exotic Longhair breed.
The Exotic has a compact, rounded, powerfully-built body with a short, thick “linebacker” neck. Its large round eyes, short snub nose, sweet facial expression, and small ears give it a highly neotenic appearance that some people may consider cute.
Head: Round, massive. Very broad skull. Rounded forehead. Round, full cheeks. Short, broad, round muzzle. Short, broad nose with pronounced stop. Strong chin. Broad, powerful jaws.
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.
Exotic Shorthairs have a gentle and calm personality reminiscent of the Persian, but are livelier than their longhaired ancestors. Curious and playful, they are friendly to other cats and dogs. They rarely meow. 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.
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.