Exotic Shorthair Breed Profile

At a glance

  • Origins: United States of America
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Eyes: Hazel, green, yellow, brown and blue
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Easygoing, sweet, loyal, quiet
  • Weight: Males 11-6 kg (8.8 – 13.2 lbs), females 4.5 -5.5 kg (9.9 – 12.1 lbs)
  • Colours: All coat colours and patterns
  • Grooming: Requires weekly grooming


The exotic is essentially a shorthaired Persian. The breed shares many traits with its Persian cousins including a laid-back and gentle nature and a characteristic round face with a flat nose.

Due to its calm disposition, the exotic shorthair makes a great pet for families or retirees who want the look and personality of the Persian with an easy to care for coat.


The exotic shorthair is a relative newcomer to the cat fancy originating in the United States in the 1960s. The breed is the result of crossing American Shorthairs with Persian cats. Later other breeds were used as outcrosses including Burmese and Abyssinians. The only allowable outcross for the exotic shorthair now is the Persian. Since they are outcrossed to Persians, most litters will contain both short-haired and long-haired kittens.

In the UK a similar breeding programme was underway crossing Persians with British shorthairs.

The Cat Fanciers Association officially recognised the Exotic in 1966.


Tuxedo exotic cat

The exotic shorthair is a medium to large cat, with a short thick, broad, deep chest, short, sturdy legs and a tail with a rounded tip. They are surprisingly heavy when picked up.

The face is round, with a snub-nose, large, expressive eyes and short round ears. The cheeks are full, forehead rounded with wide jaws and a firm chin. Nicknamed the “teddy bear cat”, that is exactly what they look like. Cute, soft and cuddly.

The coat is short, thick and plush and all colours and patterns are accepted. 


The exotic shorthair is placid and laid back, although it is said they are livelier than their Persian cousins.

They are sweet, affectionate, loyal, fun-loving and get along with people, including children and other pets. Exotic shorthairs are not as demanding or obtrusive as other breeds of cats but it is said they do like to follow their human companions around the house.

They are not prone to talking, but when they do, they have a soft and pleasant voice.


Some exotic shorthairs can be prone to tear duct and eye problems due to the shape of their face.

Due to having Persian in their bloodlines, polycystic kidney disease may be a problem. It is important when selecting an Exotic that you view the parents and ask the breeder about any health problems and screening they have done (including testing the parents for PKD).


The exotic shorthair has an easy coat to care for. A weekly groom is sufficient to remove loose hairs. Brush teeth daily with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste on your cat). Raw chicken necks or cut up beef are also good for maintaining dental health.

An annual veterinary health checkup is important, and once your exotic is seven, twice a year is recommended, that way any health problems can be picked up early. Always consult a veterinarian for recommendations on a vaccine schedule for your exotic shorthair.

Parasite control is important even for indoor cats. Treat regularly for fleas and intestinal worms.

Frequently asked questions

Are exotic shorthair cats friendly? Yes, the exotic is a loyal and loving breed that forms close bonds with his or her human family.

What is the average lifespan for an exotic shorthair? The average lifespan for an exotic shorthair is 12-14 years.

Do exotic shorthairs shed a lot? The exotic shorthair sheds as much as most other shorthaired breeds of cat.

Are exotic shorthairs rare? The exotic shorthair is not a rare breed of cat.

Where can I buy an exotic shorthair? A registered cat breeder is the best place to buy an exotic shorthair. Check with cat registries for a list of registered breeders. Do not buy from backyard (unregistered) breeders or pet shops, many of whom obtain cats from kitten mills.

How big do exotic shorthair cats get? The Exotic Shorthair is a medium to large breed. Females range from 5 to 5.5 kg and males from 5.5 to 6 kg.

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  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio