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Domestic Short-Haired Cat

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Domestic Short Hair Cat: What You Need to Know

Domestic short-haired cats mean different things to each person. A domestic short-haired cat refers generically to a feline pet or feral animal with short fur. It can be a purebred or mixed-breed cat (i.e., Moggie). However, most domestic short-haired cats presumably have no traceable heritage and make up most of the felid population in the United States.

Overview of Domestic Short-Haired Cat for Sale

A Domestic Shorthair (DSH) is not quite synonymous with a domestic short-haired cat. Placing a qualifier such as British, American, or Oriental in front of “Shorthair” makes the cat a pedigreed animal that can be part of a major registry. Of course, there are many other types of purebred short-haired cats.


Historians believe the Egyptian Mau is the oldest breed of cat, kept as a pet 4,000 years ago or earlier. It likely had an influence on the British Shorthair along with domesticated cats from Greece. The British Shorthair, in turn, is the forebearer of the DSH which was later crossed with the American Shorthair. As of 2021, the DSH is a conglomerate of various breeds. Depending on the mix, Domestic Shorthairs have a plethora of physical and personality traits. They are often confused with or classified as American Shorthairs, but this is erroneous as the latter group is a recognized breed.


Even if you have a “mongrel of the cat world,” or a domestic short hair cat, nothing can stop you from registering it. Shows that feature mixed-breed cats are common. They show in a separate division (Household Pets, Altered or Neutered Cats) from purebred cats, but many eventually have family trees that you can track. Registries also recognize the necessity for shelters and rescue organizations to be able to classify the huge volume of cats they acquire. Their category monikers are capitalized just as with purebred cats. A few examples are the Shorthair Household Pet (SHP), the Domestic Shorthair (DSH), and the House Cat, Shorthair (HCS). Otherwise, they are called housecats, mutts, alley cats, or Moggies (British). Cat registries differ on how restrictive they are concerning eye and coat colors. The Fédération Internationale Féline is an all-inclusive registry that accepts any cat. Exclusions by other registries may involve one or more of the following:

  • Blue eyes on a cat that is not white
  • Color points such as seen on the Siamese
  • Brown dilutes – brown (chocolate), fawn, lilac, or cinnamon


The Domestic Shorthair often looks a lot like an American Shorthair. As a domestic short-haired cat, it has a dense double coat. It is softer than that of an ASH. The DSH is a solidly built cat with heavy bones. Its face and body are not as round as an American Shorthair, but the Domestic Shorthair usually has round eyes and medium-sized, wide-spaced ears. Domestic Shorthairs have shortened legs and long bodies. Various hybridizations will influence the cat’s form.

  • Siamese – taller, slenderer cat with a more triangular head
  • Manx or various Bobtails – no tail
  • Munchkin – shortened legs
  • Exotic Shorthair – flattened face

A domestic short-haired cat refers specifically to the coat rather than to a specific body type or feline category.

Coat and Colors

Most Domestic Shorthairs have a dense dual coat. A Domestic Shorthair can be virtually any color or pattern. Only a few broad color groups or families are listed:

  • Monochrome (solid or self-colored) – black, orange, tan, cream, white, or blue
  • Bicolored – white and a second color or tortoiseshell (black or blue with orange, tan, or cream)
  • Tricolored (calico) – black, blue, or brown with orange, tan, or cream and white
  • Silver or silver tabby – shaded, tipped, or shell (chinchilla); any color, but silver refers to how much of the fur is pigmented; for example, tipping is an eight
  • Tabby – classic, mackerel, patched, spotted; red, silver, cream, blue, black, orange
  • Pointed – color on face, ears, feet, and tail
  • Van – color only on head and tail

So many Domestic Short Hair cats are tabbies because the color pattern invariably crops up after breeding a few generations. In this manner, Domestic Shorthairs are said to “revert to selves.”

Considerations for Domestic Short Haired Cat for Sale

What to consider before you acquire a DSH does not differ much from your list for dogs or purebred cats.

  • Where – numerous; casual breeders, reputable breeders, shelters, humane societies
  • Health – choose active kittens with no coughing or signs of discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Appearance – a domestic short haired kitten or cat should be clean and well-groomed, and should look well-fed
  • Age – the most well-adjusted kittens will be 12 weeks old before they leave their littermates; often, humane societies and rescues have orphaned kittens that are much younger and may even need to be bottle fed
  • Ear mites are common – look for copious black debris in the ears and itchiness
  • Behavior – gravitate towards alert and active animals; friendly kittens and cats are a plus; you may stumble across shy cats or hissy kittens, realizing these will need extra attention and effort
  • If you want a particular breed of domestic short hair cat, find a reputable breeder through a registry or other sources

Short Haired Domestic Cat Breeds

You will find some of the most common breeds of domestic short-haired cats below. The list is by no means exhaustive.

Russian Blue

  • Origin: Russia, further developed in England and Scandinavia in the 1860s
  • Colors: blue with green eyes
  • Size: 9 to 11 inches tall, 8 to 15 pounds
  • Personality: loving, shy, loyal
  • Coat: soft, plush, short

British Shorthair

  • Origin: UK 100 AD
  • Colors: multiple; solid white, black, blue, red, cream; tabbies, tortoiseshell, bicolor, chinchilla, shaded, smoke, cameo
  • Size: 10 to 14 inches tall, 7 to 17 pounds
  • Personality: loving, outgoing, placid
  • Coat: soft, plush, short

American Shorthair

  • Origin: from European cats that came to America as early as the 1620s
  • Colors: commonly gray tabby or silver but multiple colors possible like BSH; disqualified colors are point-restricted and lilac, lavender, or brown
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches tall, 8 to 16 pounds
  • Personality: amiable, playful, laid-back
  • Coat: hard, dual, extremely short

Oriental Shorthair

  • Origin: developed from Siamese in 1970s in US
  • Colors: all – tabby, bicolor, tricolor, point-restricted, particular; red, blue, black, golden
  • Size: 9 to 11 inches tall, 8 to 12 pounds
  • Personality: extroverted, demanding, very active
  • Coat: short, flat, glossy; downy undercoat; there is a long-haired version

Exotic Shorthair (Short-Haired Persian)

  • Origin: developed from Persian and ASH beginning in the 1950s in the US
  • Colors: Persian colors – white, silver, blue, red, black, chocolate; tabby, bicolor, smoke
  • Size: 10 to 12 inches tall, 10 to 12 pounds
  • Personality: easy-going, friendly, quiet
  • Coat: Dense, soft, vibrant


  • Origin: developed from landrace breed (Wichianmat) in the mid-1300s in Thailand (formerly Siam)
  • Colors: pointed due to temperature-sensitive albinism; seal point, lilac point, blue point
  • Size: 6 to 12.5 inches tall, 5.5 to 13 pounds
  • Personality: talkative, exceptionally intelligent, sociable
  • Coat: fine, short, glossy


  • Origin: developed in France in the 1550s, possibly coming from Syria via Iran and Turkey
  • Colors: silver-grey
  • Size: 9 to 11 inches tall, 6 to 14 pounds
  • Personality: talkative, exceptionally intelligent, sociable
  • Coat: short, dual, water-resistant


  • Origin: developed from native cats in Burma in the US and Britain in the 1930s
  • Colors: champagne (warm tone of beige), blue, platinum (paler than blue), or sable (dark brown)
  • Size: 9 to 13 inches tall, 8 to 15 pounds
  • Personality: affectionate, intelligent, loyal
  • Coat: short, fine, satin-like

Cornish Rex

  • Origin: result of a spontaneous mutation discovered in 1950s in England
  • Colors: solid and other color patterns; brown, black, blue, red, lilac
  • Size: 8 to 12 inches tall, 6 to 10 pounds
  • Personality: extroverted, performers, exceedingly friendly
  • Coat: only undercoat present, fine and curled

Other Pedigreed Domestic Short Haired Kittens and Cats

  • Tonkinese – began as Burmese x Siamese hybrid
  • Bombay – black cat with green or gold eyes
  • Devon Rex – curly sparse fur, no guard hairs
  • Manx – tailless
  • Egyptian Mau – possibly first short-haired cat
  • Abyssinian – uniform agouti color pattern
  • Bengal – spotted cat; hybrid between spotted DSH and Leopard cat
  • Savannah cat – another exotic hybrid