Let's talk Exotic Shorthairs

Looking for a quiet companion with a sweet, gentle nature? That’s the Exotic Shorthair, nicknamed “the lazy man’s Persian” for having a similar look but a shorter coat that is much easier to groom. Both have sweet expressions, short noses, large eyes, and a short, square body that you can’t help but snuggle. These cats thrive on routine in a calm atmosphere and appreciate tender handling, whether that’s being combed or cuddled. All in all, the Exotic Shorthair is a low-maintenance breed guaranteed to make you smile.

Official name: Exotic Shorthair

Other names: Persian Shorthair, Exotic

Origins: United States

Close-up of Exotic Shorthair in black in white
 Shedding level:  Medium  Warm weather? Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  Medium  Family pet? * Medium
 Compatibility with other pets:  Medium    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of brown, white and beige Exotic Shorthair
25 - 30 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
5 - 7 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
25 - 30 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
3 - 5 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby cat:  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten:  4 to 12 months
 Adult:  1 to 7 years
 Mature:  7 to 12 years
 Senior:  From 12 years

Exotic Shorthair lying on carpet in front of fireplace


Get to know the Exotic Shorthair

All you need to know about the breed

First things first: They may look like Persian cats, and have Persian genes, but the Exotic Shorthair (often shortened to Exotics) is a unique breed in their own right. There are, however, clear similarities. The Exotic Shorthair is bred to meet the same temperament standards as the Persian – loving, loyal, and low-key – but the Exotic Shorthair benefits from a furry exception: Their coat is thick, dense, and short which makes it far easier to maintain. In other words, none of the daily grooming that’s required for the Persian.

Little seems to bother the plush and cuddly Shorthair Exotic who is known for their easy-going energy and undemanding personality. Need privacy? That’s okay, the Exotic Shorthair will leave you be (as long as you play with them later). Need some lap time? They’re open to that too. They are content with the simple pleasures in life, such as watching water drip from the sink and chasing after crumpled balls of paper, and will gladly follow you from room to room. This is a breed that blends seamlessly into almost any home.

Common in a variety of colours, the Exotic Shorthair is easily identifiable by their strong, cobby body set on short, thick legs. Their large head and full round eyes lend an open and curious expression

Side view of black and beige Exotic Shorthair lying down


2 facts about Exotic Shorthairs

1. Claim to fame: Garfield

While the Exotic Shorthair can’t be said to be lazy, particularly good at cracking jokes or fond of lasagna (at least, we hope not!), the breed was indeed the inspiration for television’s most famous feline: Garfield. See the resemblance?

2. Calm with a little bit of spunk 

Calm is the operative word for the Exotic Shorthair but that doesn’t mean the breed doesn’t have spunky, lively moments. They are, in fact, playful! They are simply moderately playful. After all, at the end of the day, the Exotic Shorthair is a loving lap cat that doesn’t demand too much in play or attention.


History of the breed

You might say the emergence of the Exotic Shorthair as a breed was accidental. Initially, American Shorthair breeders sought to breed their cats with Persians in order to incorporate the Persians’ silver colour and green eyes. When the kittens were born, they didn’t end up looking very much like American Shorthairs but rather much closer to the Persian, except with a short, plush coat.

From there, other breeders wove in Burmese and Russian Blues to ensure the short coat gene for the short coat, and then bred them back with Persians. The offspring became the Exotic Shorthair, often shortened to just Exotic, and were given Championship status by the CFA .

As a result of being bred over time by different Persians, other coat colours began to emerge for the Exotic Shorthair, including tabby and orange. Their cute faces and loving personalities continue to make them one of the most popular short-haired breeds in the world, second only to the Persian.

Exotic Shorthair walking in front of camera in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Exotic Shorthairs

1. Head

Round and massive head.

2. Ears

Small, round-tipped ears.

3. Eyes

Large, full and very round eyes.

4. Look

Strong and stocky body with short coat.

5. Legs

Short, thick and strong legs.

Close-up view of Exotic Shorthair face


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Exotic Shorthair
Orange Exotic Shorthair walking across grass


Caring for your Exotic Shorthair

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Unlike the Persian cat, ancestor to the Exotic Shorthair, the Exotic’s dense coat rarely tangles and is easy to groom. Combing once or twice a week will help remove dirt and shedding fur (and while you’re at it, wipe their eyes with a gentle cloth; the breed tears frequently).
Casual play, from chasing a ball or going after a fish-pole toy, is a great way to engage your Exotic Shorthair in the moderate exercise they need. It’s advisable to incorporate puzzle toys that require the cat to work a little harder for their kibble to keep them occupied and challenged.
Training will be fairly straightforward with this breed, too. You can use a clicker to train the Exotic Shorthair to sit or lie down and socialising them at a young age with other cats or even dogs will make them more easily adapt to sharing the household.


All about Exotic Shorthairs

Cuddly is practically the Exotic Shorthair’s second name. The breed is reliably warm, affectionate, and playful well into adulthood. Whilst they value their independence, just like most cats, the Exotic Shorthair mostly wants to spend time with you and, of course, on you. 

With minimal shedding, grooming the Exotic Shorthair won’t consume a lot of your time. You should plan to brush or comb the breed weekly and perhaps slightly more frequently during seasonal shedding periods. 



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book