American Shorthair Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

American Shorthair
Compare Breed
United States
Adult weight
8-15 pounds
Life Span
12 -17 years
Active, inquisitive, playful, personable
Other Names
Medium-to-large sized shorthair
$100 - $1,000
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

Friendly, personable, and easy to care for, the American Shorthair cat shares many things in common with the domestic shorthair. The main difference is that American Shorthair cats always share common characteristics with one another, while domestic shorthair cats display various trades from the breeds in their backgrounds.

This can cause some confusion as the American Shorthair was originally named the Domestic Shorthair. The truth is, American Shorthair cats are a breed of their own!

About the American Shorthair Cat
American Shorthair Cat Care










American Shorthair cats have no special nutritional needs in comparison to most other domestic cats. We recommend feeding your American Shorthair cat a healthy, balanced diet of high-quality cat food.

American Shorthair cats offer low maintenance in the grooming department. While you can get away with never brushing this cat, we recommend using a fine, or a soft brush to remove loose hair from your pet's coat at least once per week. This helps keep your furniture cleaner, plus it reduces the likelihood of hairballs.

American Shorthair cats are moderately active by nature. Without enough exercise, this breed is prone to obesity. You can help prevent this by ensuring that your American Shorthair cat has access to toys, and by encouraging active play.

These cats come from a long line of hunters and they appreciate interactive toys and laser beams. Like other cats, the American Shorthair loves to climb. A cat tree will save your drapes from damage while giving your pet the perfect vantage point – not to mention a cozy spot to nap when the time comes!

While American Shorthair cats generally enjoy good health, they are prone to a few issues, with obesity being the most common.

There are two other known health problems that occur in American Shorthairs: Hereditary hip dysplasia affects some members of the breed, and a form of cardiac disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes some American Shorthairs to have enlarged hearts. These problems affect only a small percentage of cats, yet they are worth mentioning.


When European colonizers first came to America, they arrived in ships – and they brought cats with them! These hardy mousers were the predecessors to the breed we know and love today as the American Shorthair cat.

As time passed, other cat breeds made their way to America, and of the American Shorthair gained recognition as a distinct breed with different characteristics that set it apart from the rest.

The original bloodline was strengthened by an infusion of British Shorthair DNA. Still, American Shorthair cats have rounder, softer body shapes then their cousins from across the pond. You probably won't be surprised to learn that American Shorthairs starred in the first cat show ever held in the United States, in 1895.

Cat fanciers recorded the first-ever breeding between two American Shorthair cats in 1904. Since then, this breed has remained one of the most popular in the United States.

Read More
American Shorthair Cat History
About the American Shorthair Cat


The American Shorthair has large, rounded eyes with half-almond shaped upper lids and distinctly rounded lower lids. There should be at least one eye width between the eyes, and the upper corners should be set slightly higher than the lower corners. American Shorthair eye colors vary between gold and green. Blue eyes are also acceptable, as are two different colored eyes.

Legs & Paws

The American Shorthair cat has strong, stocky legs that may appear somewhat short and less elegant than the legs of many other cats breeds. This breed's paws are strong, round, and somewhat wide. Paw pad color typically corresponds to nose leather color, with many different variations depending on the cat's color and pattern.


American Shorthair cats have long, proportional tails that are a little wider at the base with a slight taper toward the end. The tail is often carried level or at a slightly upward angle to the body.

The Breed Standard


The American Shorthair exudes power, confidence, and grace. Their bodies are muscular and compact, with a rounded shape that's as cuddly as it is attractive.


It's easy to distinguish an American Shorthair from a domestic shorthair by looking at the head shape. These cats have distinctly rounded heads with prominent cheeks and fleshy whisker pads. Many American Shorthairs have prominent jowls; this feature is particularly noticeable in intact males.


An American Shorthair cat has medium-sized ears with rounded tips, set wide apart on the head and not overly large at the base.


This breed has a short but lustrous coat with ample body and an even texture. The coat should appear soft and healthy.


American Shorthair cats come in every color and pattern except for pointed as in Asian breeds such as the Siamese. Tabby, tortoiseshell, smoke, blue, white, and black colors and patterns are all acceptable. In all, the breed standard allows more than 80 acceptable American Shorthair colors and patterns.


How much does a American Shorthair cat cost?

American Shorthair cats cost between $100 - $1,000.

How big do American Shorthair cats get?

American Shorthair cats tend to be medium in size. A fully grown American Shorthair cat might weigh between 8-15 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 10"-14" inches tall.

How long do American Shorthair cats live?

The Average lifespan for American Shorthair is 12 -17 years.

Do American Shorthair cats shed?

American Shorthair are short-haired cats. Therefore, they do not shed as much as long-haired cat breeds.

5 thoughts on “American Shorthair”

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  1. Pam B,

    We have an American Shorthair and we love him completely. He’ll turn 15 on Jan 25th. In all the years we’ve had him, we’ve never once heard him growl. We also have a DSH who we got as a kitten from a local rescue. When my husband brought him home, our ASH – who was 4 months at the time and was suffering diarrhea at the time – hissed at him. That is the only time he has ever hissed, even if you accidentally step on a little foot. I wonder if that is common in ASH kitties?

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hey Pam, good observation. American Shorthair cats do tend to be very placid, friendly cats, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s seldom hissed. Domestic shorthairs, on the other hand, haven’t been selectively bred, and there’s very little consistency in their temperaments, so I’d expect more diverse personalities from cats of this type.

  2. Marie Mowry

    T r o y is her name she’s about 3 and 1/2 months I picked her up at a humane society and they gave her shots and whatever else they had to do and thank God I had enough money because there went a $100 on her I thought it was going to pay maybe 20 or 30 I have no idea about this little kitty she’s very playful and she likes to play with my outdoor cat whiskers he’s white and black he’s about six or seven eight years old and I wanted her to have a mommy who is 15 years old and I want to but bubba the 15-year-old now she’s just look at her but leave her alone I have two doggies pebbles and ramble and they like her sometimes they sleep together and play together so I’m back to having little kitties and doggies I’m enjoying them

  3. Sandra Dewalt

    I have a domestic long hair and a domestic shorthair. At first, they didn’t like each other. That is now history. They love each other dearly. When they play and run through the house, they sound like a herd of horses. I adopted them from an animal shelter. Both of them have FIV and no one wanted to adopt them, but I did. They make me laugh every day and I love them dearly. Adults and dogs cannot get FIV. People need to learn about this cat disease. and realize that these cats need a forever home just like other cats.