October 28, 2015 PetGuide
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Domestic Shorthair

  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 6-16 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Physique: Muscular, medium-sized body
  • Best Suited For: Any cat loving family, families with children and other pets, singles, first-time cat owners
  • Temperament: Playful, outgoing, friendly, loving
  • Comparable Breeds: Domestic Medium Hair, Domestic Longhair

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One of the most popular cat breeds in the world is the Domestic Shorthair, which is also commonly referred to as DSH. Other common names include house shorthair cat, shorthair household pet, or moggies- as they’re called across the pond. But this is not a single recognized breed. Rather, a Domestic Shorthair cat is one that has mixed ancestry. In fact, some might say that these kitties are the mutts of the feline world. Cute, loving, smart- but without a pedigree to prove it.

However, the lack of pedigree doesn’t mean that these cats don’t boast a rich history. It is believed that the Domestic Shorthair was domesticated in ancient Egypt, around 2000 BC. But the breed did not make its way to America until the Pilgrims took some of these cats on the Mayflower for purposes of rodent control. For a meager price of some love and a place to sleep, these furry hunters took care of vermin issues settlers faced in the New World. The rest is history! Cats have not always enjoyed the status of a beloved companion, but their many qualities as pets prevailed and now they’re not just independent hunters.

Nowadays, Domestic Shorthair cat is one of the most common pets. They come in all shapes and size but they have one thing in common: they are all very loved by their families. Even though the status of a ‘pseudo breed’ might mean that Domestic Shorthair cats are not eligible for official showing, they are still accepted by Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

One of the most popular cat breeds in the world is the Domestic Shorthair, which is also commonly referred to as DSH.

The DSH is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.

The Domestic Shorthair has a strong hunting instinct and will gladly spend a few hours every day tracking down prey, even if it has been well fed and does not need to hunt in order to eat and survive.

However, most cat owners keep their pets indoors, where the only thing they can hunt is a feather teaser or the occasional leg in passing. Unless you’re living in an area where traffic is low, there are no natural predators that could hurt your pet or fauna that would be at risk from your petite hunter, you can let them outside. Otherwise, it’s best to keep them on a leash or under supervision when they go outdoors.

Even though most cats have certain traits they all share, each breed has something unique to bring to the table. This breed’s personality varies widely from one cat to the other. Again, this is the result of the fact that it is actually a mixed breed with various genes that can affect not only the cat’s appearance, but also its temperament.

So while some cats may be quiet and shy, others are more outgoing, inquisitive, and talkative. Some have more energy, while others can be more laidback. Ultimately, though, a well-socialized kitten will grow up to be a great lifelong companion in any cat loving family.

These cats also enjoy eating, and are actually prone to obesity because they tend to overeat. Therefore, keeping an eye on your Domestic Shorthair cat’s weight and meal portions is important. Failing to control the amount of food your cat eats can have serious consequences. Overweight cats are more prone to a variety of health issues, including diabetes, heart issues, urinary tract infections and kidney failure.

domestic-shorthair-1Because of their mixed ancestry, Domestic Shorthairs come in a wide range of colors and patterns. In terms of size, males are generally larger than females, but they all typically feature round heads, medium length tails, and round paws.

These cats have well-proportioned bodies and, even though they can come in a wide range of sizes, they are generally medium, or average, in terms of height and weight.

The Domestic Shorthair comes in every color and pattern, including a variety of beautiful eye colors that include blue, green, hazel, and gold. Some may even have odd eyes, or one eye that is blue and another that is green, as an example. The stunning eye colors often complement the coat color of the cat, giving these feline mutts a truly gorgeous appearance.

Needless to say, Domestic Shorthair cats come in many coat colors and patterns. The tree basic coat colors (or self-colors) are red or ginger, black, and white. From there, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the ways these basic colors combine and develop through generations of mixing. All black, orange or white cats are common mono-color options. There are interesting traits that come with those coat colors, as well: orange Domestic Shorthairs are almost always male, all white cats can often be deaf, especially if they have blue eyes as well.

Then there’s the vast world of coat patterns. Domestic Shorthairs come in a variety of patterned coats, ranging from more “simple” designs such as bi-color coats or the well-loved tabby coat to more complex such as the calico, which combines all tree self-colors into one coat, or the rare speckled tortoiseshell. Tuxedo pattern is also a popular pattern, followed by the rare coat with pointed markings. And each of these coat patterns has varieties, some subtle, some more contrasting- ensuring even more variety than you would originally assume.

Because the Domestic Shorthair is a cat that has a short length coat, a simple weekly brushing is a great way to maintain the health and softness of the skin and fur. These cats will thoroughly groom themselves, so you don’t need to worry about bathing them. Also, unlike longhaired breeds, you don’t need to worry about the fur getting matted or tangled. These features make it an ideal cat for busy families who don’t have too much time to spend grooming their cats but do enjoy brushing their pets regularly to help remove loose hair and reduce shedding.

Photo credit: karamysh/Bigstock; AZALIA/Bigstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Domestic Medium Hair

Domestic Medium Hair

  • Height: 9-14 inches
  • Weight: 11-22 lb
  • Lifespan: 15-17 years
  • Physique: Muscular, medium-sized
  • Best Suited For: First-time cat owners, any cat loving family, families with children and other pets, cat owners who are willing to regularly groom their pets
  • Temperament: Active, playful, energetic, docile
  • Comparable Breeds: Domestic Shorthair, Domestic Longhair
Go to Domestic Longhair

Domestic Longhair

  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-22 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-18 years
  • Physique: Strong, elegant body
  • Best Suited For: First-time cat owners, families with children and other pets, pet owners willing to groom their cats regularly
  • Temperament: Playful, docile, friendly, loving
  • Comparable Breeds: Domestic Shorthair, Domestic Medium Hair