The Breed History
Orientals, or Oriental Shorthairs/Longhairs are strikingly similar to the Siamese apart from the lack of points. Thailand is the original source of the progenitors of this breed. These self-colored Orientals were previously termed Foreign Shorthairs in the UK and Europe. In the UK, the Oriental White still retains the designation Foreign White. The Oriental breed is relatively recently developed; in the 1950s in Britain and in the early 1960s in America, Siamese were crossed with domestic shorthairs to produce the original Oriental Shorthair specimens. Foreign Shorthairs were also imported to the USA. The CFA accepted this breed for championship status in 1977. The Longhair division was established in CFA in 1995 after 10 years of breed development in America. In other associations they are sometimes not placed in separate divisions. If offspring of Orientals are born with points, they cannot be shown as Siamese in CFA. Outcrossing to Siamese and Colorpoint is allowed in the Shorthair division. Oriental Longhair cats may be outcrossed to Siamese, Colorpoint, Balinese or Javanese.
Weight: males 9-12 lb (4-5.5 kg), females are a bit smaller
Coat: All colors and patterns (300) are recognized except pointed cats, sepia, and mink. Pointed cats can be registered as Orientals, but not shown. Smoke, tabbies, solid, and shaded are the four major show divisions of patterns in UK, while in CFA, bi-color and parti-color classes also exist. The color black in this breed is termed
Ebony. The Oriental Shorthair coat is very short, flat lying and soft textured, and in Oriental Longhairs, it is a short-medium length single coat, close lying and hairs are fine in texture. Hairs are longer on the tail.
Eyes: Eyes are medium sized, and almond in shape. Cross-eyed cats are penalized.Eyes may be green, though in white and bi-color cats in America, they may also be odd-eyed, green or blue, and in the UK, white cats are accepted with blue eyes only.
Points of Conformation: Medium sized cats, the limbs are long. The conformation is a classic foreign Oriental tubular cat. The head is a tapering-wedge shape with a long nose; on profile head and nose are completely flat with no break. No whisker pad pinch. The flared ears are large with pointed tips, and the neck is long and slender. Tail is long and thin; almost whip like, and tapers to a point; in longhairs, is well plumed. The paws are small, compact and oval.
Grooming: Minimal grooming needed. Some do not recommend bathing. Rubber curry and chamois are adequate.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Siamese-like in temperament; need human companionship and do not thrive if left alone for long periods. Playful, almost dog-like, agile, like to climb and jump, very vocal, curious, active, and with very high intelligence. Can sometimes demand attention, some youngsters extroverted. Not a lap cat-more like a "Velcro" kitty. Remain kitten-like late into life.
Normal Breed Variations
Large litters Blood Type: 100% blood type A was reported
None reported in the literature
See the Siamese cat chapter -- Because this breed is a color variant, Orientals and Siamese share many conditions.
See the Siamese cat chapter -- Because this breed is a color variant, it shares most of the same conditions.
MAP Urolithiasis: The risk of developing magnesium ammonium phosphate uroliths was reported to be increased in this breed.
Lymphosarcoma (LSA): A mediastinal form of LSA in young, FeLV negative cats-significantly overrepresented in Orientals and Siamese. Three months to 2 years of age is peak incidence. Dysphagia and dyspnea are hallmark signs. Very aggressive tumors, and regress rapidly with early chemotherapy. Most cases descend from a single male who died of LSA in the 1980s. By pedigree analysis it was determined that this form of LSA has many of the characteristics of an autosomal recessive inheritance trait. In a retrospective case study of 7,159 sick and healthy cats at a Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Australia over a decade, 60 cats had LSA. As a percent of all types of LSA, Siamese and Orientals when pooled accounted for 33.3% of the cases, though they made up only 2% of the hospital population. Mediastinal form was most common (86% were Siamese) and all were FeLV negative. This condition has been reported from Australia, Europe and the USA. A recent study report describes pedigree analysis of two families that also seems to confirm that this is indeed an AR trait. A study is underway with candidate genes BCL2 and MYC being subjected to mapping of genetic markers surrounding them. Hereditary Deafness: Is associated with the dominant gene for white cat (W); may be found in white cats of this breed.
Rare and Isolated Reports
Transient Hyperlipidemia and Anemia: One litter of Oriental kittens reported.
None commercially available
- Breed name synonyms: OSH, POSH, Oriental Shorthair, Oriental Longhair, Solid Siamese, Foreign. Historical: Chestnut Foreign Shorthair; Lavender Foreign Shorthair; White Foreign Shorthair.
- Registries: FIFГ© (Oriental LH, Oriental SH), TICA (Oriental SH, Oriental LH), CFA, ACFA (Oriental LH, Oriental SH), CFF, CCA, NZCF, WCF (in with Siamese), ACF (Oriental SH, Oriental LH), GCCF (just oriental LH)
- Breed resources: CFA Oriental Breed Council: www.orientalbc.org
Oriental Shorthairs of America: http://home.comcast.net/~OSA_club/index.htm
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