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Oriental Longhair Breed Summary

Intelligent, Curious, Vocal, Playful

Oriental Longhairs have silky, flowing coats with an elegant plume of a tail. As their name suggests, these cats are the semi-long-haired version of the Oriental cat breed. These graceful looking cats closely resemble their relative breed – the Siamese – however, they have a much more recent history.

The Oriental Longhair is a curious, friendly cat that loves to chat! Whether they’re meowing for attention or just letting you know their whereabouts, you’ll be sure to hear about it. As these sociable cats love the company of their humans, they are best suited to a home where there will be people around (who can keep them entertained), otherwise a feline friend is recommended to keep them company.

Fun Fact: If you breed an Oriental Longhair to an Oriental Shorthair or a Siamese, all their kittens will be short-haired. However, if these kittens are introduced to a breeding program once they’re adults, about half of their kittens will have long coats!

Lifespan 10 – 15 years
Height (at the withers) Males and Females: 20cm – 25.4cm
Weight Males and Females: 3.6kg – 6.4kg
Coat Medium to long coat, fine and silky
Colour Wide array or coat colours and patterns
Eye colour Green, blue, odd-eyed
Common health issues Bladder stones, heart problems, liver amyloidosis, periodontal disease
Other Names British Angora, Mandarin, Javanese (for a solid coloured Oriental Longhair)
Much like other Oriental breeds, these cats are energetic and social creatures who never out-grow their love of play. They’re chatty cats who love to tell you anything and everything, and if they need more attention – you’ll definitely hear about it! Oriental Longhairs can become bored easily so they need plenty of attention from their humans, they especially enjoy fun and games and will jump (quite literally) at the chance to play fetch.

With their silky long coats, these cats have an elegant look – but don’t let that fool you, under their fine fur they’re strong, athletic cats that will hold their own against larger cats and even some dogs. If you have an Oriental in your home, they will probably rule the roost! You’ll be most likely to find an Oriental Longhair jumping, climbing or following their favourite humans around the home, happily telling them all about their day.

Oriental cats can be separated into two categories: long or short-haired, with the short-haired variety being much more common.

These cats were originally imported from Ankara in Turkey in the 19th century and were the first longhaired cats to be brought to western Europe. Unfortunately, the breed disappeared in the early 1900s with the arrival of the more fully coated Persian.

In the mid-twentieth century, breeders wanted to develop cats that were similar to the Siamese in shape, but with a greater variety in colour and pattern, and so they began crossing Siamese with other breeds like Russian Blues, British Shorthairs and Abyssinian. This is how the Oriental cat came to be! By the 1970s, they were being imported to the USA where they became very popular. In 1977, the short-haired variety was recognised in their own right by the Cat Fanciers Federation, and by 1975 the Oriental Longhair was added to their listing.

In 1979, the International Cat Association recognised the Oriental Longhair in its own right. While both the short and long-haired variety have similar temperaments, the Longhair has a longer coat (as its name suggests!) which is silky and lustrous, as well as an elegant plumed tail.