European Shorthair Cats

The European shorthair (or Celtic shorthair) is a breed of short-haired cat originating in Sweden. It is a recently recognised breed, established to preserve the naturally occurring cats that have lived in European villages and cities for ages. Many people incorrectly refer to any stray cat as a European Shorthair.

European Shorthair has its counterparts in Great Britain (British Shorthair) and USA (American Shorthair), that have been bred much longer. The British Shorthair however was crossed with Persian Cat and selectively bred to become a cobbier cat with slightly shortened muzzle and thicker coat. It was confusing for Scandinavian breeders that the British Shorthair was also called European Shorthair at that time, even though it looked different. Felinological associations recognized both types of cat as a single breed, meaning they were judged by the same standards during cat shows, until 1982 when FIFE registered the Scandinavian type of European Shorthair as a separate breed with its own standard.

Because the breed has been developed from ordinary domestic cats, which have very different temperaments, the character of the European Shorthair is impossible to summarise. Members of this breed may be very affectionate but there are others that prefer to be out mousing. Most European Shorthairs are strong and active, and as a rule they are friendly. They get on well with other cats and tolerate dogs well. European Shorthairs are intelligent and playful, and most of them are expert at keeping houses and gardens free of mice.

In terms of personality and appearance the European Shorthair is comparable to ordinary domestic European short-haired cats. The European Shorthair is a muscular, medium-sized to large cat, with a broad, well-muscled chest. The strong legs are average length and the paws are round. The tail is fairly thick at the base, tapering to a rounded point.

The relatively large head is rounded, with well-developed jowls, but it is not as round as the British Shorthair's head. The ears are medium-sized, they are as long as they are broad at the base, with slightly rounded tip. They are quite wide-set and upright. The eyes are round and may be of any colour.

The European Shorthair's dense coat is short, soft and glossy, and should lie flat. All natural colours are permitted, such as black, red, blue and cream, with or without tabby or white markings. Pure white is also permitted. The eye colour corresponds to the coat colour and may be yellow, green or orange. Blue or odd-eyed individuals are permitted if the coat colour is white.

The breed is not very popular outside Scandinavia as there are still huge populations of similar-looking homeless cats in Europe.

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