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American Shorthair Breed History

This American Shorthair Breed History Article is Listed in American Shorthair Cat Breed Information

American Shorthair Breed History

American Shorthair Cat | Breed Profile | Breed History At first glance, you might mistake an American Shorthair for a common mixed breed “alley cat”. Take a closer look! Notice the large head with its broad face and square muzzle. See the luminous eyes with their unique asymmetric shape (almond upper lid, fully rounded lower lid). Note the massive body with its distinctive proportions. Feel the extraordinary “mink and satin” texture of the hard, protective coat. Examine the many beautiful and unusual color varieties. No doubt you have seen examples of the popular silver classic tabby in commercials or on TV interview shows. The American’s characteristic features were standardized through more than 200 years of natural, undisciplined, aesthetic selection followed by an additional 100 years of registered, scientific, selective breeding.  This is NOT a common breed – less than 2,000 kittens (including all colors) are born a year – worldwide! But wait, the American is more than just a luxurious pet and glamorous showman. This medium-to-large size natural breed has retained both the skill and the health to perform as a superior rodent hunter. Although tough on vermin, no breed makes a more tolerant children’s pet.    If introduced at an early age, (under 1 year) the American will become fast friends with a variety of animals including dogs and horses. Adaptable, intelligent, intensely loyal and affectionate to their chosen families, the American fits in anywhere – arctic to tropics – apartment to farm, providing ideal companionship for anyone. EARLY BREED HISTORY: The exact origin of the American Shorthair is unknown. The first cat to resemble him, the European, is believed to be derived from the European wildcat and the early Egyptian cat. The original color was therefore presumed to be the brown tabby in both the mackerel and classic patterns. Many of the color varieties, attributed to mutation and natural selection, were developed before the breed set foot in England. In the early tenth century, the Romans brought the European into the British Isles, where he was received with admiration as the protector of the scarce British grain supply. Hywel Dda, Prince of South Wales, put several laws into effect in 948 A.D. for the protection of these rodent hunters. One of these laws fixed the value of newborn kittens, young adults, and proven hunters. The penalty for stealing or wounding a cat was one ewe and her lamb. The penalty for killing a cat was enough grain to cover the tip of the cat’s tail when the cat was suspended by his tail with his nose touching the ground. As more shorthaired cats were bred in England, giving more choice of color and type, people began to favor larger cats with rounder faces and sweeter expressions. Through...

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American Shorthair Breed Profile

This American Shorthair Breed Profile Article is Listed in American Shorthair Cat Breed Information

American Shorthair Breed Profile

American Shorthair Cat | Breed Profile | Breed History The American Shorthair was developed from native American working cats. American Shorthairs are true working cats: stocky, muscular, and powerful in build. Looking for a cat that will be a gentle companion, a playmate for your children, and a full-fledged member of the family? Look no further than the American Shorthair. This breed is known for its longevity, robust health, good looks, quiet disposition and amiability with children and dogs. The American Shorthair is America’s own breed, whose ancestors came to North America with early settlers from Europe. Records indicate that the “Mayflower” carried several cats to hunt ship’s rats. For centuries, “working cats” flourished along with their pioneer owners and eventually established themselves as the native North American shorthaired cat. Their beauty and loving nature came to be valued as much as their rat-catching skills.    One brown tabby American Shorthair was even offered for sale for $2,500 at the Second Annual Cat Show at Madison Square Garden in 1896. Imagine what that would be in today’s dollars! Early in the 20th century, foreign breeds imported to the United States (Longhairs and Siamese) interbred with native shorthaired cats, producing kittens with varied coat lengths, body styles, color and temperament. Those who wished to preserve the North American shorthaired cat acquired the finest examples of the breed and began mating them selectively to preserve the breed’s conformation, beautiful face and sweet disposition, while perfecting the patterns and colors characteristic of the American Shorthair as we know it today. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) chose to officially recognize this lovely cat as one of its first five registered breeds in 1906. Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the breed was renamed “American Shorthair” in 1966 to better represent its “All American” character and to differentiate it from any other shorthaired breed. The name “American Shorthair” also reinforces the idea that our native North American shorthaired cat is distinctly different from what may be found in streets, neighborhoods and barnyards. By chance, a non-pedigreed shorthaired cat (or “Domestic Shorthair”) might resemble an American Shorthair, just as another random-bred cat might look like a Siamese, Persian or Maine Coon. The difference, however, is that a pedigreed cat can consistently produce kittens of the same physical conformation, coat quality, and temperament, while a random-bred cat cannot. Years of selective breeding and the careful recording of many generations of cats guarantee that each litter of kittens will have specific qualities. The American Shorthair has made steady progress in the show ring. There have been dozens of American Shorthairs achieving recognition at the national level, including two CFA “Cats of the Year” and one CFA “Kitten of the Year.” American Shorthairs are often selected as “Best...

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American Shorthair Cat

This American Shorthair Cat Article is Listed in American Shorthair Cat Breed Information

American Shorthair Cat

American Shorthair Cat | Breed Profile | Breed History The American Shorthair is the most popular and most prevalent breed of American cat, American Shorthairs are medium to large sized cats, with powerful legs and strong paws. Their muzzle is squarish. Their coat is short, with the fur being thick, dense, and stiff to protect them from cold, moisture, and superficial skin injuries. Their coat thickens up in the winter and sheds in the spring but still remains lighter and slimmer than its close cousin, the British Shorthair. American Shorthairs are very affectionate, long-living, and disinclined to behavioral problems; they get along well with other family members, including dogs. The American Shorthair is also an excellent hunter, but its sunny and gentle disposition make it ideal for families with small children. Shorthairs tend to get overweight very easily. An American Shorthair is not considered fully grown until 3-4 years old, when it attains the true strong athletic proportion of its breed. Males are usually larger than females and have definite jowls. It is perfectly happy as an indoor or outdoor cat.    American Shorthairs come in over a 100 different varieties of colors (blacks, whites, silvers, creams, reds, browns, greys, and tabby mixes), but their eyes, pad color, and nose will always match their coloring. Their tail tapers to a blunt tip and has no kinks. Grooming for an American Shorthair is extremely easy, all they require is regular brushing and a wipe over with a damp chamois will make the coat shine. The American Shorthair is the 8th most popular breed of cat in the United States according the Cat Fancier’s Association for 2006-2007. The breed is believed to be descended from English cats (the forebears of today’s British Shorthairs) brought to North America by early European settlers to protect valuable cargo from mice and rats. When settlers sailed from Europe to North America they carried cats on board ship to protect the stores from mice. Most of these cats “settled” in the New World, interbred, and developed special characteristics to help them cope with their new life and climate. Early this century a selective breeding program was established to develop the best qualities of these cats. A very athletic cat, the American Shorthair has a larger, leaner, and more powerfully built body than its relation, the British Shorthair. American Shorthairs are a pedigreed cat with strict standards and a distinctive appearance as set by the various Cat Fanciers Associations worldwide. Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the breed was renamed in 1966 to the “American Shorthair” to better represent its “All American” character and to differentiate it other shorthaired breeds. The name “American Shorthair” also reinforces the notion that the American shorthair is unique and distinct from...

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