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Exotic Shorthair


Section 1 – PERSIAN – Group 2

The Exotic is a shorthair cat with Persian ‘type’. They are a relatively new breed in the UK with many admirers and are a happy, healthy and mischievous breed. With an easily maintained coat, they have quickly established themselves as both a striking show cat and a loving pet.

Exotics are heavily boned, massive cats with lines softened by the thick dense coat. The plush coat adds an impression of soft roundness to these muscular cats making them look like plush toys you want to pick up and cuddle!


The breed first gained recognition in the USA, where it initially evolved as a result of crossing American Shorthair cats to Silver Persians. In September 1966, CFA established a hybrid class for Domestics of mixed Persian and American Shorthair parentage; a new standard, based on the Persian standard was written for Exotic Shorthairs and they were given Championship status. They first appeared in competition in CFA in the 1967-68 show season. Original crosses included American Shorthair to Persian, Burmese to Persian and Russian Blue to Persian. In 1975 CFA narrowed allowable outcrosses to American SH and Persian, in 1987 American SH was dropped as an allowable outcross – only Persian and Exotic SH are now allowed. In the UK some British SH breeders kept the “overtyped” offspring from British Shorthair x Persian matings to try and develop the Exotic SH. The first import to the UK was CFA Gr Ch Purrfun My Main Man, a Black Smoke, he was descended from an original Burmese x Persian cross. The British SH was dropped as an allowable outcross for Exotics in 2000, now only Exotic and Persian are acceptable. Exotics were formally recognised by the GCCF in 1986, and gained Championship status in 1995.

Appearance and Colours

The gentle Exotic Shorthair is a Persian in its pyjamas and is the ideal cat for those who love the look of the Persian but do not have the time or inclination to take care of all that hair. Sometimes called “the lazy man’s Persian”, the Exotic Shorthair is bred to be just like the Persian except with a short, dense coat instead of a long flowing one. Exotics have the same pansy-like sweet face and short nose with big eyes and the same short square body giving them a cuddly teddy bear-like look. These affectionate cats have the quiet manners of the Persian but are livelier and more inquisitive thanks to their shorthaired ancestry. Exotics come in all the colours of the rainbow and a multitude of patterns (in fact, very similar to Persians and British Shorthairs).


Exotic cats make ideal pets for owners who want a gentle affectionate lap cat. Good quality Exotic kittens are big and sturdy. Their temperament is gentle but playful and full of life; they love to be with people. Quietly endearing, Exotics request your attention with an irresistible gaze and then hug you when you pick them up. They will follow you from room to room in order to be near you and then jump in your lap for a nap when you settle down to read a book or watch the tv. Their shorthaired ancestors have given them a love of play and they will jump to catch a toy or sit studying how to get the toy you put out of reach before they were finished playing. Simple things amuse them whether it is chasing paper balls around the house or watching water drip out of a tap. Exotics are a joy to be around and, thanks to their easygoing nature, they get on well with children and other pets.


Although Exotic Shorthairs are not as high maintenance as Persian Longhairs, they do still require regular grooming to maintain the soft, dense coat in optimum condition. Especially during the spring and summer, when moulting, they can shed a large amount of old undercoat that needs to be carefully combed out, or the coat will mat and knot. Eyes should be regularly cleaned, and Exotics do benefit from an occasional bath. A female Exotic cat weighs 7 to 12 lbs and a male Exotic cat often weighs 12 to 14 lbs. An Exotic cat usually lives 12 to 15 years or more.


Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited kidney disease found in cats. There is evidence that Persian and Exotic cats are more affected than other breeds.  However, a simple and reliable DNA test for this condition exists, and responsible breeders screen their breeding cats for this disease to eradicate it from their breeding programme.  Kitten purchasers should always check with the breeder of their new kitten for details of their PKD testing regime.