The Exotic Shorthair has been a well-kept secret among cat fanciers for many years. This unusual cat meets the breed standard for the Persian in almost every way, with a single but very important exception: the Exotic has a short coat. The long-haired Persian is one of the most popular of all domestic feline breeds, both in America and elsewhere. However, its dense coat – which is one of its trademarks - requires extensive daily grooming to keep it from becoming hopelessly matted. Busy cat-lovers, who adore the Persian's appearance and temperament but do not have the time to keep its coat tidy, have become increasingly enamored with the Exotic Shorthair. This breed has been described as "a Persian in a petticoat" and "the lazy man's Persian." The fur of the Exotic is short but still exceptionally thick and plush. It is denser and a bit longer than that of most other short-haired breeds and stands out from its body due to a thick undercoat and outer guard hairs that are medium in length. It does not easily tangle and requires little care. Exotics tend to shed more than many other short-haired cats.
Exotic Shorthairs are compact, powerfully-built cats that resemble plush stuffed animals, being especially teddy-bear-like in appearance. They have a massive head atop a thick, "linebacker's" neck. They have huge round eyes (which should never be slanted), chubby cheeks, a short snubbed nose and tiny low-set ears – all of which give them an adorable facial expression. Exotic Shorthairs have large, tight round paws and short, thick, blunt tails. Their deep chests and enormous shoulders are set low on stocky forelegs. This breed comes in a wide range of colors, including solid self-colors, bi-colors, tabbies and tortoiseshells, as well as shaded, tipped and color-pointed varieties.
The Exotic Shorthair is a fairly recent domesticated breed. They were developed by breeders of the American Shorthair, who sought to obtain the coat texture and quality of the Persian, without having the constant grooming commitment associated with that breed. Persians were crossed with American Shorthairs, and the resulting hybrids became quite popular. The early pioneers of this breed made a concerted effort to standardize the fluffy, flat-faced, short-haired cats into a distinct, readily-reproducible breed. The Exotic Shorthair has been recognized by the purebred cat fancy since the mid-1960s. Burmese may have been used in early in the breed's existence, but today only outcrosses to Persians or American Shorthairs are permitted by the American breed registry. However, British or European Shorthairs and Burmese may be crossed with the Exotic Shorthair outside of North America.
The Exotic Shorthair shares the same health predispositions as those of the American Shorthairs and the Persians from which they descend.
The Exotic Shorthair has an exceptionally gentle, kind disposition that is virtually identical to that of the Persian. It is placid and dignified, but also can be curious, fun-loving and playful. This breed is friendly to other cats and to dogs, as well as to people. Exotic Shorthairs do not enjoy being unattended for long periods of time. When they must be left alone, many Exotic owners leave a radio or television on, so that their cats feel less isolated. The Exotic Shorthair tends to show more affection than many other short-haired domestic breeds, without being annoyingly demanding. This is an easy-going, quiet cat, whose voice is rarely heard. The Exotic Shorthair is sweet, calm and unfailingly loyal. The adaptable nature of this breed makes them ideal pets for city dwellers and apartment living. They are especially patient with children.
While the Exotic Shorthair is similar to the Persian in temperament and type, it tends to be a bit more lively, retaining some of the energetic spark of their American Shorthair ancestors. Exotic Shorthairs can be quite capable mouse-hunters. They enjoy playing with toys and jumping after the ends of sticks. However, they are equally content to sit quietly in a comfy chair, curl up in a lap or drape themselves across their owners' shoulders. Generally speaking, this is not an especially active or athletic breed.
The Exotic Shorthair may or may not sleep with its owner on a regular basis, as it tends to become overheated and sometimes prefers sleeping on cool tile or a brick hearth. These cats are unobtrusive and easy to live with. The Exotic will follow its owner around the house and then settle down to rest quietly in some nook or cranny. They can nap for hours on end. They want to be close to their people, but not necessarily "nested" together at all times. Some fanciers report that males are slightly calmer and cuddlier than females, although this is not always the case. Exotic Shorthairs enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as watching water drip from a faucet or chasing dust-balls across the floor. This is a perfect breed for someone who wants a calm, companionable cat with true Persian type and temperament but without the ultra-demanding long-haired coat of the Persian breed.
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