The Exotic Shorthair: Cat Breed FAQ

GRC Caliope April Showers 1993 CFA National Best Blue Cream

This FAQ has been compiled by the following exhibitors:

Patti Dailey, Daisen, Eugene Oregon, email: pdailey@oregon.uoregon.edu
Claire Farmer, Revvilee Persians and Exotics, Spokane Washington
Mary Lou Mills (Tacoma Wash)/Colleen Power [California] Caliope Exotics,
email: caliopecjp@aol.com

Copyright © 1995 Patti Dailey, Claire Farmer and Colleen Power, All Rights Reserved.

Topics

Description

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

Showing the Exotic Shorthair 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.

History

Recognized by most cat associations in the late 1960s, the Exotic Shorthair comes in all colors. Some lines were developed using the Burmese to introduce the short coat. Other lines were developed using the British and American Shorthair, even Russian Blues were used by some. But today, the only acceptable outcross is to the Persian.

In the early 1960s, American Shorthair breeders began using Persians as outcrosses in an attempt to strengthen their type. However, the resulting kittens were unique and had a decidedly different appearance than they were looking for. This caused quite a furor between American Shorthair and Persian breeders in CFA. Finally, because the look was appealing, the breeders working with the hybrid lines decided to work on a new breed to be called the Exotic Shorthair. American Shorthair breeders were given a choice of registering the kittens as Americans or Exotics, but once registered as Exotics they could not return to American. In the mid-1960s, the core breeders expanded the program to include other shorthair breeds such as Burmese and British Shorthairs. In 1967 CFA gave formal recognition to the Exotic Shorthair as a breed. Among the early pioneers was Lion House Cattery, where top silvers and silver tabbies were produced from American Shorthair outcrosses. Another early pioneer was New Dawn Cattery, owned by ACFA judge Carolyn Bussey, who used Burmese as her shorthair outcross.

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...."

TICA Standard

(100 point total)

Head      		30 points 
Body     		25 points
Head Type		10 points   
Boning     		 7.5 points
Chin           		 5 points
Shape/Size     		 7.5 points
Nose Type      		 5 points
Musculature    	 	 5 points
Cheeks/Jowls  	  	 5 points
Legs/Feet  		 5 points
Ears      	 	 5 points
Tail      		 5 points
Eyes      		10 points 
Coat/Color    	 	20 points
Shape/Size      	 5 points
Coat     	 	10 points
Color          		 5 points
Color          		10 points
Condition/Balance  	10 points

Point Counts in CFA:

Head (including size and shape of eyes; ear shape and set) .......30
Type(including shape, size, bone and length of tail)..............20
Coat..............................................................10
Balance............................................................5
Refinement.........................................................5
Color.............................................................20
Eye Color.........................................................10

Exotic Shorthair Colors

The only colors recognized were traditional Persian or American Shorthair colors until 1980 when TICA was formed and recognized the Exotic Shorthair in pointed colors. Today ACFA and CFA recognize pointed Exotics as well. TICA again expanded the acceptable Exotic colors in 1989 when it accepted cats in the intermediate color categories (sepia and mink).

Below are examples of the many colors you can find in exotic shorthairs:
(Click on the cat's name to see the photo.)

Black and White Bicolor:
GRC Caliope On the Town, black and white bicolor male
1994 Best Bicolor Exotic, CFA Northwest Region

Cameo Tabby:
GRC Caliope Amok Time of Mar-ell
CFA National Best Cameo Tabby exotic
CFA 1989 Best Exotic Shorthair in Region 2
Top 20 LH win in the CFA NW Region

Solid Black:
GRP Caliope Daystrom, black exotic shorthair alter
1989 Sixth Best LH Premier, CFA NW Region
SGC Daisen's Seven Year Itch, solid black male

Solid Blue:
Ch. Kelsha's Fragonard, blue female

Solid White:
GRC Kelsha's Dali, white male

Brown Patched Tabby:
GRC/GRP Caliope Mutara Nebula,, brown patched tabby female
CFA 1989 National Best Brown Patched Tabby

Blue Cream:
GRC Caliope April Showers, blue cream exotic female
1992-93 CFA National Best of Color

Tortoiseshell:
GRC Jovans Rubigo of Kelsha and GRC Glorygates Shoot for the Stars
Tortoiseshell female kittens

Red Tabby:
Ch Caliope Wayfarer of Sweetpeacats, red classic tabby and white male

Mink:
GRCH Daisen's Suisse Mocha, Natural Mink

Smoke Sepia:
SGC Daisen's Itsabargain, Sepia Smoke

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 your area ($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.

Special Medical Concerns

The Exotic Shorthair is subject to the same medical concerns as the Persian. At 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.

With much thanks to Marie Lamb for her help in establishing this FAQ.

Breeders of all breeds of cats may be found through the Fanciers breeder listing page

HTML by Laura Gilbreath
updated 29 August 1995