Oriental Shorthair cat breed photo

The origin of the breed

Oriental shorthair is a blood sister of Siamese. Actually, they are parts of the same breed, only differing with coat and eye colouration. This may be the reason why a number of felinological systems, including WCF, treats them as parts of siamese-oriental group. There is nothing special in it, however, as if both siamese and oriental have derived from the felines once brought by English from the Thailand in the late XIX century. A notion about the fully coloured (not colourpoint) felines is dated 1903 in a contemporary edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica. However, these monotone orientals’ right for existence and, moreover, staging at shows was disputed for a couple of decades later, for a grim result. In 1923 the SCCB has stated that no orientals except for “himalayan blue eyed” are going to be supported and developed. Since that, the breed’s development had to take “shortcuts” by forming variations nowadays accepted as a self-sufficient breed. So were brought to life the Havana Brown, a choco oriental, and Foreign White - the white Siamese. When the Foreign and Havana were accepted and given a proper standard in 1974 and 1978 respectively, american fanciers have agreed that there is no reason for monotone orientals to not to. The WIP-standard has been in development since 1958, and in 1970 they had to form a full-scale campaign for their rights, due to it’s success the breed became officially accepted in 1977, bicolor orientals had to wait two more decades for that.


A refined, elegant feline with long legs and tail, beautiful sharpened muzzle, large ears and striking “eastern” eyes. It’s standard almost copies the one of the Siamese, with the difference being the word “medium” replaced with “elongated” in head and body description.

Head: Medium size, in the form of tapering prolonged wedge, with straight lines from the nose to the upper edge of the ear. Scull is without visible protruberances in eye area. Muzzle continues the form of the edge, is quite long, narrow, but not too fine. Cheeks are flat, except in adult males, where jowls are allowed. No visible edges of the cheekbones. No muzzle break. Nose is long, straight, continuing the line of the forehead without any break. Chin is strong, forms one line from the tip of the nose to the tip of the chin.

Eyes: Almond shaped, medium in size, set slanted and rather wide - distance between the eyes is no less than one eye width. Not too deep and not too protruding. Strabismus is not permitted. Color - only green, without any other tones.

Ears: Extremely large, set wide and low, continuing the outer line of the sculls (without pinch), forming almost an equalateral triangle.

Neck: Long and slim.

Body: Long, tubular, slim, with a rather fine boning, but firm musculature. Shoulders are a bit wider than hips, belly is tight.

Legs: Long, slim, muscular, hind legs are higher than front, but this does not disturb the proportions of the cat.

Paws: Small, elegant, of an oval form.

Tail: Very long, thin, Narrow at the base, tapering to a fine and thin point. Whippy.

Coat: Short, thin, tight, shiny and silky to touch; very close-lying. Almost no undercoat; this feature underlines the grace of the cat.

Colors: Any color (chocolate, lilac, blue, black, red, cream, cinnamon, etc), any kind (solid, smoke, tortie, tabby, etc), any marking type (blotched, spotted, etc.). The color of the eyes should be only green!

Penalize: Weak chin. Too long, not close lying, rough texture of hair. Wrong eye color.

Disqualification on the shows: Any evidence of illness or poor health. Weak hind legs. Mouth breathing due to nasal obstruction or poor occlusion. Emaciation. Visible tail kink. Eyes other than green. Malocclusion resulting in either undershot or overshot chin. White lockets or buttons.

Disqualification for all breeds: Amputated claws, cryptorchism, deafness. Any bone deformation in the head, body, limbs.

Character traits and features

Oriental feline is amazingly charming, it is affectionate to humans and forms a strong bond with it’s master. Being extremely harassed by lack of attention, it is rather intrusive and is not recommended for those rarely being at home. It is extremely emotional and is not a pushover, showing it’s emotions with louder meows and purrs. Note that the stereotypical orientals’ bad voice is actually a rare occasion. Orientals are intellectual, sociable with everyone and is never aggressive or fearful towards anyone including strangers. It is also very playful and active even when old.

Maintenance and care

Oriental Shorthair’s coat needs little attention, apart from periodic brushing with massaging brush or special glove, followed by a wet cloth wipe. Orientals need no frequent bathing except for some extreme cases. They are very vulnerable towards cold, as such you would want to ensure steady warm temperature in the house.

Nutrition choices

Orientals are not too discriminate in their rations, and thus are prone to overeating, thus you would want to ensure their balanced nutrition. However, buttle supplements (1-4 drops per serving) are recommended to maintain their coat condition.

Alternative and obsolete breed names

Eastern Shorthair;

Foreign Shorthair;

Cat Hound;

Kurzhaar Feline.

Breed’s abbreviations: OSH; ORS; ORIN; OS; OKH.


Allowed crossings: Siamese, in special breeding progrrames with: Peterbald, Balenese, Oriental Longhair.

Breeds relative or derived from Oriental Shorthair: Peterbold.

Unofficial and slang names: Oriental.

Breed's catteries