Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Characteristics and Personality

Exotic Shorthair Cat Breed Characteristics and Personality

The Exotic Shorthair is a gentle, curious and friendly kitty who was created as a shorthaired version of the Persian cat through out-crossing with the American Shorthair. This purrfect little companion has the best of both worlds! Its as loving and affectionate as the Persian and as playful and witty as the American Shorthair.

Main Features

The Exotic Shorthair is medium-sized, muscled and strongly-built. They meet all the criteria designed for their Persian parent breed, except for the coat. Their head is oval and broad and the cheeks full, with a very short muzzle, giving the face a 'pushed in' appearance. Their round ears are relatively small, but the eyes are large, round and deep in color which corresponds to the coat. They have short legs and large, round paws with tufts of fur between the toes. The tail is short and thick, carried low. The coat is short, but a tad longer than those of other shorthaired cats. They come in all the colors and patterns.

orange tabby exotic shorthair kitten


The Exotic Shorthair is a relatively young breed which originates from about 50 years ago. The breed was created accidentally in a secret effort of American Shorthair breeders to improve the body type of the ASH by introducing the Persian, as well as other breeds such as Russian Blue and Burmese, into the bloodline. The Persian was introduced in hopes of gaining the silver color and green eyes, while the other breeds were brought in for the short, plush coat.

The new ASH/Persian crossbreed gained unexpected recognition, however, thus resulting in the production of a brand new breed standard. This, sadly for ASH breeders, resulted in the disqualification of ASH crossbreds from the show ring, and the creation of a new breed officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1966. They named the breed Exotic Shorthair and applied all the same standards designed for the Persian breed, except for the coat.

In 1987, the outcrossing of the new breed to ASH was closed, thus leaving the Persian as the only allowable outcross breed. Because the long coat in the Persian breed is inherited recessively, some Exotic Shorthair cats may carry the recessive gene for the long fur without expressing it. When two such cats meet, there is a 25% chance for each of their kittens to be longhaired like the parent breed.

The longer-haired variants are not accepted as Persian nor Exotic Shorthairs by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, but instead they're assigned as a separate Exotic Longhair breed. The International Cat Association simply accepts these variants as Persians.


The Exotic Shorthair is a very gentle and calm kitty. Their personality reflects both parent breeds, from which they retained the best traits. They are often playful and energetic like the ASH. Their temperament, however, reflects the affection and loyalty of the Persian, thus making them purrfectly loving "lap cats".

They are generally friendly to all people and other pets, but they can be shy and fearful, thus preferring to have their main guardian in close proximity. The Exotic Shorthair is also often a great hunter, but despite their energy, they are very well suited for an apartment lifestyle.


Health and care

Like the Persian, the Exotic Shorthair is a brachycephalic breed, thus being prone to health problems associated with brachycephaly (i.e. brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome, tooth misalignment, tooth crowding, issues with tear ducts & heart problems). The breed has also been associated with an increased risk for calcium oxalate urolithiasis, dystocia, and polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

When it comes to the coat care, the Exotic Shorthair is not as difficult to care for as the Persian. Their coat is easily maintainable, where weekly grooming is typically sufficient.

orange tabby exotic shorthair kitten with green eyes

Exotic facts about the special cat

1. They are surprisingly low-maintenance. While maintaining the handsome looks of the Persian ancestors, the Exotic Shorthair is as low-maintenance as the laid-back American Shorthair. Outside the occasional grooming, regular feeding and lots of playing and cuddling, these cats won't take too much of your time. With an Exotic Shorthair you get to enjoy their luscious coats without spending too much time grooming them. For this reason, they carry a nickname "the lazy man's Persian".

2. They are sometimes born with long hair. As mentioned above, because some Exotic Shorthair carry the recessive long-hair gene of the Persian, the genes can align in some kittens thus resulting in the longhaired feature. Depending on the registry, these kittens can be accepted either as Exotic Longhairs or Persians.

3. They are round all-round. It is often said that the word 'round' is key when describing the Exotic Shorthair. Their head is round, their ears are round, their eyes are round and so is their muzzle. They have beautifully round paws and an all-around rounded body. See?

4. They often shy away from strangers. Exotic Shorthairs are generally very friendly and social, but they are often also fearful and shy. So, if they have to engage with strangers, they will feel a lot more comfortable having their favorite hooman close by.

5. They are one of the most popular cat breeds out there. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, the Exotic Shorthair is the second most popular breed - and deservingly so! They are affectionate, loyal, playful and cuddly. Everything a hooman could ever wish for in a furry companion.

black and white picture of a sleeping tabby white spotten exotic shorthair cat

The Exotic Shorthair is a peaceful and curious little bundle. They win over hearts left and right with their incredibly sweet nature and plush, luscious coat. Do you have an Exotic Shorthair of your own? Share with us on Social Media!

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