Exotic Shorthair Cats

Exotic Shorthair Cats, a cross between an American or British short hair and a Persian cat. They have the body conformation of a Persian but with short plush fur, giving them the appearance of living teddy bears.

The Exotic Shorthair is a breed of cat developed to be a shorthaired version of the Persian cat. They appeal to people who like the personality of a Persian but do not want the hassle of grooming long-haired cats.

Exotics sometimes are referred to as the "lazy man's Persian," Shorthair Persian or Exotic Persian, as they have the same body and head type as a Persian. The shorter fur it does not require the frequent brushing that a Persian cat does.

Exotic Shorthair Cats are similar to the Persian in many ways, including temperament and conformation, with the exception of the short dense coat. This cat has 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 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 Federation International Feline recognized Exotic Shorthair Cats 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.


Exotic Shorthair Cats have a compact, rounded, powerfully-built body with a short, thick neck. Large round eyes, short snub nose, sweet facial expression and small ears give it a highly neotenic appearance people may consider cute.

Show Standards

"The ideal Exotic should present an impression of a heavily boned, well balanced cat with a sweet expression and soft, round lines...

The large, round eyes set wide apart in a large round head contribute to the overall look and expression...

The thick plush coat softens the lines of the cat and accentuates the roundness...."


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 Shorthair Cats are wonderful shorthaired versions of the Persian. They have the flat faces of the Persian but a short plush teddy-bear look and the usual small squeaky Persian voices. Very responsive to humans and human emotions, this breed has inherited their very tame personality and gentle ways from their Persian ancestry.

Twenty years ago several shorthaired breeds were used as outcrosses to bring in the short coated gene, as a result, Exotics are generally livelier and more inquisitive than Persians.

Showing Exotic Shorthair Cats has been called a "Persian wet tee-shirt contest." It is like showing a Persian in its underwear or sopping wet. The Exotic must meet the Persian standard with regard to nose, eye, ear, chin and build. There is no long coat to be trimmed to hide ears that are too large, or set too high on the head.

No massive ruff to hide a neck that is too long. No flowing coat to disguise those cats standing too tall or cowhocked. There are no great chops to be shaped to embellish a head that is too small or not round enough.


Exotic Shorthair Cats have a gentle and calm personality reminiscent of the Persian, but livelier than his longhaired ancestor. Curious and playful, it is friendly to other cats and dogs. It rarely meows. It doesn’t like being left alone and needs the presence of its owner (or of voices or smells reminiscent of its master-such as a radio kept on).

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

Unlike the high-maintenance Persian, the Exotic is able to keep its own fur tidy with little human assistance. 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 face of the cat 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 Shorthair Cats 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.

Special Medical Concerns

Exotic Shorthairs are subject to the same medical concerns as the Persian. The top of the list are problems associated with an asymetrical jaw. These problems can affect the cat's ability to bite and eat properly and can also lead to dental problems.

Other problems that can manifest themselves in Exotic Shorthairs are:

Sinus problems, tear duct problems, eye problems such as Keratosis Sequestrium (which is prevalent in both Persian-types and Siamese and is not genetic-based, but rather a consequence of having an extreme amount of exposed eye surface). Most of the other problems are caused by careless breeding, excessive inbreeding or overbreeding for the extreme.

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 and 50% in developed nations.

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.

Price Range of Exotics

One of the unfortunate aspects of outcrossing to Persians means that fifty percent of the kittens may be longhaired and indistinguishable in appearance from Persian kittens! Most associations recognize these longhaired versions as Persians and many have granded as Persians in these associations.

These kittens generally are priced the same as Persian kittens in the area of ($250-$600).

Exotic Shorthaired Kittens range in price from ($350-$1000) for an altered kitten. Breeding or Show kittens range in price from $800-$3500, depending upon the bloodlines and show expectations.

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