Much speculation surrounds the development of this distinct breed, with some believing it developed accidentally, and others accepting it was an intentional breeding. During the 1950s, many American Shorthair breeders set about enhancing the cat by the introduction of a Persian, which they hoped would bring its silver colouring and green eyes to the mix. Although the results of this breeding were attractive, they were not exactly as desired. Eventually, outcrosses such as the Russian Blue and Burmese were included in the breeding, although interest soon returned to the Persian. The ultimate aim was to develop a short-haired Persian that, according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, was to become one of the most popular feline breeds (besides the Persian itself).
The breed is easy to recognise for its unique appearance and facial characteristics. Boasting a compact, ‘cobby’ body structure, with short legs and tail, a rounded face and small, round-tipped ears, the Exotic Persian lives up to its ‘exotic’ name. Almost identical to its forebear, the Persian, in everything but coat length, the Exotic Shorthair is heavily boned with a sweet expression given by its small, rounded features. As with all flat-faced breeds, breathing difficulties can occur, and the Exotic Shorthair is particularly prone to these. Its broad and short nose has a very pronounced stop, which accounts for the Exotic’s distinctive appearance; although many cat lovers question the ethics of deliberately developing a breed with a flat face.
Like the Persian, the Exotic Shorthair has a very balanced and amiable temperament. Generally speaking, an Exotic will be gentle, affectionate and playful, making a delightful addition to any home setting. Besides its agreeable personality, the Exotic Shorthair has a mischievous and jaunty streak that makes it a joy to live with! Never unduly shy or aggressive, the breed is highly compatible with children and other house pets and enjoys plenty of attention and companionship from its family. Typically, a healthy adult Exotic will weigh 12 pounds, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
The Exotic Shorthair is prone to a number of health conditions, ranging from mild to more serious. Some of these complaints are hereditary, including polycystic kidney disease, while others are a direct result of the Exotic’s structural appearance – due to the breed’s short, pronounced nose and flat face, respiratory problems are very common. In many cases, this requires surgical intervention at an early age. Problems associated with the eyes, particularly the tear ducts, are also prevalent in the breed. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder that can provide health records with their cats.