Oriental Longhair

Appearance and features:

Orientals are fine boned and feature a long, tubular style body but with a longer silky coat.  They have a long head shaped like a wedge, forming a triangle.  The ears are pointed, set wide on the head and very large and the eyes are almond shaped.  The neck is slender, the tail is long and the legs are thin and long.  


This is a medium-size cat weighing 8 to 12 pounds.


The Oriental Shorthair is a breed of domestic cat that is closely related to the Siamese, Russian Blues, British Shorthairs, Abyssinians (for the long hair) and domestic shorthairs.   The Oriental Longhair is a newer breed, kept from litters with kittens with the longer hair and bred back to other longhair Orientals.  If an Oriental Longhair is bred to an Oriental shorthair or a Siamese, the kittens will all be short-haired. This is because the gene for long hair is recessive. The kittens will, however, be a variant, a carrier of the long-hair gene. If such a “variant” is bred to a cat with long hair, or to another variant, they may produce both short-haired and long-haired kittens. Variants may have a slightly longer coat that Oriental Shorthairs, but this is not always the case.


The range of possible coat colors includes everything from self-colored (black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel, fawn, red, cream and apricot), tortoiseshell, smoke (silver undercoat), shaded or tipped, tabby or white. The preferred eye color for Oriental Longhairs is green; except for the whites, which may have green or blue eyes, or be odd-eyed (two different colored eyes).


While the breed’s genetic roots are ultimately in Thailand, it was formally developed principally in the US. The breed was developed using Siamese as the foundation breed and then crossing them with Russian Blues, British Shorthairs, Abyssinians and domestic shorthairs produced kittens without the pointed Siamese pattern, which were then bred back to Siamese. The original intent was to broaden the Siamese gene pool in Britain because so many breeding programs had been devastated during World War II.


The Oriental Longhair is an active cat that likes to play. If the owner does not have the time to do so, it will find a toy to play on its own. This breed enjoys jumping and does it really well, without breaking any objects due to its agility and elegance. The oriental longhair is extremely intelligent and are ideal companions for people who like their pets always around. Some have been know to follow their owners everywhere. They are very loyal and most get along well with other cats, especially if they are of the same breed group. These cats are not adapted to a life of living alone and prefer an interactive home. Some Oriental tend to gravitate to one person in the home. Oriental Longhairs, like their cousin breed the Siamese, have loud and expressive voices that are used often. They are smart cats, with some being quite willful in getting their own way. Many Orientals take to leash training quickly if started young. They have been known to open cabinets, doors and even refrigerators. This breed group is often recommended for more experienced cat keepers.

Health concerns:

Orientals health issues are the same as those for Siamese and include an inherited neurological defect that causes crossed eyes; hereditary liver amyloidosis, which can lead to liver failure; and dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that reduces the heart’s ability to contract. Bladder stones and mast cell cancer have also been reported in the breed.

Breed Characteristics

Here is a helpful guide for the different characteristics of the breed.  On a Scale of 1-5.  1 being very low level to 5 being high level.

Energy Level
Extra Grooming
Affection Level
Social Needs
Kid Friendly
Friendly to Strangers
Health Concerns
Dog Friendly

Hypoallergenic: Yes

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