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Oriental Breed Description

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Breed Organization

TICA Executive Office

The Cat Fanciers' Association

Native Country
Exported From Thailand, Bred In Great Britain

Other Names
Oriental Shorthair, Foreign Shorthair

Coat Length
Longhair and Shorthair

Life Expectancy
No Information Available

General Description

The Oriental Shorthair is a breed of domestic cat that is developed from and closely related to the Siamese cat. It maintains the modern Siamese head and body type but appears in a wide range of coat colors and patterns. Like the Siamese, Orientals have almond-shaped eyes, a triangular head shape, large ears, and an elongated, slender, and muscular body. Their personalities are also very similar. Orientals are social, intelligent, and many are rather vocal. They often remain playful into adulthood, with many enjoying playing fetch. Despite their slender appearance, they are athletic and can leap into high places. They prefer to live in pairs or groups and also seek human interaction. Unlike the breed's blue-eyed forebear, Orientals are usually green-eyed. The Oriental Longhair differs only with respect to coat length.

Breed Standard

Head: Long, can be inscribed in an isosceles triangle. Straight profile without stop. The skull, seen in profile, is slightly convex. Slender, well-formed muzzle. Long, straight nose. Medium-sized chin.
Eyes: Medium-sized, almond-shaped, set at a pronounced slant. Separated by one eye-width. Emerald green or jade except in the white Oriental Shorthair, which has blue eyes. Yellow or copper eyes are accepted for red and cream coats. Note that the color may not be acquired until the cat is one year old.
Neck: Long, slender.
Body: Long, svelte, slender, tubular. Narrow abdomen. Fine-boned. Firm, long muscles.
Paw: Long.
Tail: Long and slender, even at the base, tapering to a point.
Coat: Hair is short, dense, fine, silky, lying flat. Four main groups of varieties: - solid coats: solid color without stripes or tabby markings. Pure white, ebony, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn. - tortoiseshell coats and variants: orange, black, and chocolate. - coats in which the base of the hair is dilute: smoke: dilute color in a short band at the base. silver: pigmentation at the hair tip (tipping). - tabby coats: blotched: broad stripes. mackerel: narrow stripes perpendicular to the spine. spotted: circular, evenly distributed spots. The spotted tabby Oriental Shorthair, also called Maus, is often mistaken for the Egyptian Mau. Between stripes and spots, agouti-type hairs with alternating dark and light bands.
Fault: Round, broad, excessively short head. Muzzle too short, too broad. Presence of a stop or whisker pinch. Receding or massive chin. Ears too small, too close together. Round, small eyes. Short, massive body. Short legs. Heavy-boned. Rough coat.


The Greyhound of cats Both originally from Thailand, the Oriental Shorthair and the Siamese differ only in coat and eye color. Some believe the Oriental Shorthair is the original type, while the Siamese, a colorpoint Oriental Shorthair, is a variety. Both breeds arrived in Great Britain in the late 19th century. From 1920 to 1930, the Siamese was more popular than the Oriental Shorthair, which did not interest breeders until after 1950. By crossing Siamese and European Shorthairs of different colors, breeders successively obtained chocolate, white (Foreign White), and blue Oriental Shorthairs. By 1968, American breeders began breeding programs focused on an extreme morphological type closely resembling today's Siamese, while the British preferred a moderate type. The C.F.A. recognized the breed in 1972 as the Oriental Shorthair. In 1994 it approved the Oriental Longhair, or Mandarin. The Oriental Shorthair is not very common.


Like the Siamese, Oriental Shorthairs are very lively, extraverted, proud, and captivating. They are sociable and do not like being alone. These playful cats can tolerate children. They are affectionate and often very possessive, even tyrannical, toward their owner. Indifference is not acceptable to them. They are "talkative" and have a loud voice. They have the temperament of a hunter. Female cats are sexually precocious (entering puberty by 9 months) and have frequent heats. They are more prolific than average for domestic cats. They are easy to groom, as weekly brushing is enough.


Respiratory Infections, Extreme Sensitivities to Anesthetics, Vaccines, and Pesticides, Heart Disease.

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