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American shorthair

An American longhair on a couch.

The American Longhair is a breed of cat.

The American Longhair is the result of an experiment that went wrong. Breeders were trying to produce an American Shorthair with the shimmering coat and green eyes of a silver shaded Persian: instead they got the Persian in a shorter coat and leaner body. At first, it was proposed that these longhaired silver cats could be developed under the name "Silver Longhair", but more colors emerged and the American Longhair was born instead. Similar crosses of Persian and British Shorthairs were also made, and other cats used in the development of the breed are known to have included the Burmese and even Russian Shorthairs, but once the longhaired coat had been achieved, these crosses were always bred back to Persian for coat length. In the early stages there was some resistance from Persian breeders, but the American Longhair is now accepted in some registries and is quickly becoming more popular in Europe and North America.

Form and character[]

Because the longhaired trait is recessive, the American Longhair does no produce shorthaired variants. The shortened face means the American Longhair can suffer the same breathing problems as their longhaired cousins, and polycystic kidney disease also present in the breed. Tear-duct conditions are common too, caused by the lubricating tears failing to drain down the nasolacrimal duct into the nose and then overflowing down the face. When exposed to air, clear colorless tears stain a deep mahogany color. This is more aesthetic than a medical problem. The breed's soft, plush coat is thinner and somewhat shorter than many longhair coats, and it benefits from a little additional grooming to keep it looking its best. The coat, the flattened face, and the generally square, lean build have led to American Longhairs being likened to Domestic Longhairs, an image that has not done much for their popularity. They have soft, quiet voices, and while they are generally more active than Persians, they remain self-contained and easygoing pets.