The Oriental Shorthair is a
cat. It is also
called a "Foreign Type" cat. This cat combines the
Siamese body with a diversity of colorings and patterns.
A pile of Orientals - Two white, one blue and white bicolor, and one ebony and
Oriental Shorthairs can be found in solid colors (white, red, cream, ebony,
blue, chestnut, lavender, cinnamon, or fawn), smoke (silver undercoat to any of
the above except white), shaded (only the hair tips colored), parti-color (red
or cream splashes on any of the above), tabby (striped) and bi-colored. In
total, there are over 300 color and pattern combinations possible. In addition
to the colors accepted for competition, in
CFA, a pointed cat from at least one Oriental Shorthair parent is considered
an AOV (Any Other Variety). In
TICA, these cats are considered Siamese and can compete as Siamese.
An Oriental Shorthair ebony-ticked tabby
Oriental Shorthairs have expressive, almond-shaped eyes, a wedge-shaped head
with large ears that fit in the wedge of the head. Their bodies are very elegant
yet muscular. When seeing an Oriental Shorthair, one would never guess them to
be as solid as they are.
The longhaired version of the Oriental Shorthair,
Oriental Longhair, simply carries a pair of the recessive long hair gene.
A Tabby and White Bicolor OSH
The Oriental Shorthair breed was created by crossing a
Siamese to an
American Shorthair. This cross was then bred back to the Siamese to retain
the fine boning and elegant form.
The breed officially began around 1950 in England, when Baroness von Ullman (Roofspringer
Cattery), decided to create a breed of cats with shorthair, solid colors, and
the "foreign" body type--the long, lean body characteristic of the
Initially accepted by Cat Fancy in England as "chestnut foreign shorthairs",
additional breeders soon created an all white, blue-eyed variant who gained
popularity and recognition by Cat Fancy as "white foreign shorthairs". Breeders
then began cross-breeding with Siamese to move the body type closer to the
In 1972 Peter and Vicky Markstein (Petmark Cattery) visited England looking
for new Siamese breeds. Struck by the combination of colors and patterns with
Siamese body-type, the Marksteins brought the breed to the United States.
Shortly thereafter the Marksteins proposed that CFA recognize the breed as a
separate one from the Siamese, designating it the Oriental Shorthair. CFA
recognized the breed for championship status in 1977. A rapid proliferation of
breedings led to new color and pattern combinations. CFA recognized the
Oriental Longhair in 1995 (known as the Javanese or
Browns in Europe; also known as the Angora in Great Britain, but
distinguished from the
Oriental Shorthairs as pets
An Oriental Shorthair curious about a bag of cat food
Oriental Shorthairs are intelligent, social animals who bond closely to their
people. They are inquisitive, highly friendly, emotional, and sometimes quite
vocal. People have commented that the Oriental Shorthair looks like a
Greyhound or a Chihuahua. Many comment that they are much more 'dog-like' in personality.