The term ‘domestic longhair’ refers to any number of cat breeds whose ancestry is unknown or mixed. Unlike the British and American Longhairs which are independent breeds recognised by major cat registries; the Domestic Longhair (and Domestic Shorthair) are not a breeds in their own right. Therefore, documenting a history for this ‘breed’ or strain is difficult and potentially inaccurate. Some believe that this type of cat was brought to America onboard the Mayflower, and that a portion of these cats became foundation breeding stock for independent, pure breeds. Where these cats supposedly came from is uncertain although it is likely they were transported from Europe. In terms of popularity, the Domestic Longhair is second only to its short haired cousin and is very prevalent across the United States.
Due to the unknown ancestry of individual Domestic Longhairs, characteristics vary greatly. Generally speaking, male Longhairs are much bigger than females. Typically, a Domestic Longhair of either gender will possess a profuse double coat that will require regular grooming to maintain its appearance and manageability. All coat variations are permissible in this ‘breed,’ from tabby patterning, to bi-colour, solid colour and tortoiseshell. Different body structures, features, expressions and physical traits are indicative of the Domestic Longhair due to its mixed ancestry.
Again, there is no ‘average’ set of standards that this variety must conform to. Behavioural and temperament traits can vary greatly depending on which breeds were most prominent in an individual Longhair’s genetic make-up. Typically, owners have described the Domestic Longhair as a sweet-natured cat with minimal care requirements. Apart from regular grooming, a Domestic Longhair has the same needs as any cat breed, including plenty of human companionship, mental as well as physical enrichment, and a healthy, balanced diet. The weight range for the Longhair is between 10-22 pounds, and life expectation is anything from 12 to 20 years.
The health of a Domestic Longhair is difficult to fully ascertain due to its uncertainty as a breed. It is widely thought that this cat is very healthy and resilient and is not predisposed to any genetic conditions due to the extended gene pool.
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