June 24, 2015 PetGuide
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European Shorthair

  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 8-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Physique: Muscular, stocky
  • Best Suited For: First-time cat owners, families with older children, multi-pet homes
  • Temperament: Varies between individuals, but generally loving, playful, intelligent, loyal
  • Comparable Breeds: American Shorthair, British Shorthair

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Today, the European Shorthair may be the most common feline in Europe, and it may also be the oldest feline breed in continental Europe. In fact, the breed dates back to the time of the emperors in Rome roughly 2,000 years ago. And, thanks to the Romans, these cats spread throughout the European continent, where they were appreciated on farms because they had great hunting abilities and could help control rodent populations.  

Throughout the years, this breed has also been referred to by different names, such as the Celtic Shorthair. But it took until the 20th century for people to recognize the breed and begin working towards preserving it. Breeding focused on creating cats that would look like they did in ancient Rome.

The European Shorthair is much like the Domestic Shorthair, with a varied ancestry that allows it to have a wide range of colors, patterns, and temperaments.

Today, the European Shorthair may be the most common feline in Europe, and it may also be the oldest feline breed in continental Europe.

european shorthair catEuropean Shorthairs are great family pets because they will readily bond with their human companions. However, they can also have territorial tendencies and will gladly rule the house if given the chance. This means that some European Shorthairs may not get along with other cats, so if you are planning on getting a European Shorthair, you may need to take extra steps to ensure you are getting other cats that will be compatible with him. Bear in mind, however, that because temperaments vary within this breed, there are also some European Shorthairs that will get along fine with other pets, including other cats.

These cats are also known for being very good hunters, as well as intelligent, playful, and affectionate. They are also adaptable, adjusting to changes in their environment and new people quite well. Most of all, these cats enjoy spending time with their owners, so be sure to give them plenty of attention and interaction every day.

Because of the European Shorthair’s history, every cat is an individual, so personalities can vary from cat to cat. While some may be very outgoing and inquisitive, for example, others may be shy, quiet, and reserved. Overall, though, they are loving cats that make great lifelong companions and that really enjoy the company of humans.

The European Shorthair features a dense, short coat and a muscular, stocky body with a short tail. Their eye colors can range from amber to blue and green, though they can also have “odd eyes,” or a different color in each eye.

The breed generally does not have any extreme features, so these cats will have round faces and round, tapered ear tips.

European Shorthair catsThe European Shorthair comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. These include black, red, blue, smoke, silver, and cream.

The short, dense coat on the European Shorthair is really easy to manage. Because the hair is sleek and there is no undercoat, a simple weekly brushing is enough to keep the skin healthy and the coat looking great.

Photo credit: eriklam/Bigstock; SusaZoom/Bigstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to American Shorthair

American Shorthair

  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 10-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Physique: Medium boned, muscular
  • Best Suited For: Families with children or pets, singles, first-time cat owners
  • Temperament: Easy-going, curious, active, playful
  • Comparable Breeds: Ocicat, Egyptian Mau
Go to British Shorthair

British Shorthair

  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 7-17 lb
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Physique: Sturdy, big bodied cats
  • Best Suited For: Families and singles with or without children and pets
  • Temperament: Calm, easy going, adaptable, affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: British Longhair, Ragamuffin