For many years, up until the 1960s, American Shorthairs were rather overlooked by cat fanciers in the USA and Canada, who preferred breeds with a more exotic appearance. Since then however, once leading examples of the American Shorthair started to win the top awards at major events, so breeders started to look again at these cats. This has resulted in a renewed appreciation of this easy-going, attractive breed.
- BREED DEVELOPED: Early 1900s
- COUNTRY: USA
- TYPE: Shorthair
- WEIGHS UP TO: 6.5kg /14lb
- PLUS POINTS: Placid by nature and long-lived
- WATCH POINTS: Unneutered males especially can show a tendency to wander
The American Shorthair is descended from domestic cats brought to the USA from Europe. It first became recognised as a breed in the early 1900s, although it was a British-bred cat that was registered as the first example of its type. With equivalent shorthaired breeds established in the UK and Europe however, it is perhaps not surprising that the American Shorthair has made no impression among overseas cat fanciers.
Even so, there are differences between the American Shorthair and its European counterparts. It has a more oblong head shape while its body is taller. This creates a more rectangular rather than square profile, when viewed from the side. The American’s ears are also slightly larger in size.
As its name suggests, it has black tips to the individual guard hairs, with the remainder of the coat being white. The delicate tipping is most apparent on the upper parts of the body, extending down to the top of the legs, with the underparts (and the chin) being pure white. In contrast, the nose is a shade of red. It is highlighted with black edging, like the rims of the eyes and the lips, while the pads of the paws are also black.
- The Black Tipped is also known as the Chinchilla Silver, reflecting the original Chinchilla Persian input into its ancestry.
- In cases where the tipping is more clearly defined, these American Shorthairs are classed as Shaded Silvers, although as kittens it may not be so easy to distinguish between them.
- It’s possible to create tipped cats from all the self colours, but darker shades are preferred as the contrast in the coat is better.