What is an Exotic Long Hair (ELH)? A long time ago, American Short Hair Breeders bred Persians with their American Short Hairs (ASH) to improve type and boning. Eventually, other breeders experimented with breeding these and other shorthaired breeds such as Burmese with Persians. In time, Breeders recognized how beautiful these outcrosses appeared and over time these Shorthaired Persians were recognized as a new breed called Exotics. These Exotics possess a short, very dense and plushy coat with the body and head confirmation of a Persian. However, when breeding an SH Exotic to a SH Exotic, not all kittens are shorthaired; some of the kitten will be longhaired and look identical to a Persian. If an ELH is bred to a Persian (PER), all of the kittens will be long-haired, and likewise if a ELH is bred to an ELH all kittens will be longhaired.
With that being said, at this date and time it is not considered socially acceptable to use ELHs in CFA Persian breeding programs because all offspring will carry the prefix '7'; and in today's climate the kittens may not be registerable at all in CFA if a current proposal in front of the Persian Breed Council is successful. The current proposal in part will forbid all PER x ELH breedings which means cats from those breedings cannot be registered in CFA at all. Those in favor of the proposal feel strongly these breedings should not be encouraged and if allowed will diminish the integrity/quality of the Persian breed, although it has not been explained nor any evidence presented to support the allegation ELH x PER breedings diminish the integrity/quality of a Persian. In addition, those who favor the proposal feel strongly that ELH are inferior to Persians in every way because of the outcrosses/hybridizing to Short hair cats done 40 to 60 years ago, yet forgive and absolve the BIC/Calico's similar ancient hybrid ancestry which occurred in about the same time period. Yet others feel intensely ELH are indeed genetically identical to Persians and reflect the quality of "1" prefix Persians as they compete successfully against one another in the show ring. Further many feel the outcrosses to other Shorthaired breeds are in effect genetically negligible at this date and time now some 12 to 25 generations ago.
Additionally many fear if passed this proposal will in effect forbid nearly all Persian registrations in CFA outside of the USA. In the USA the ELH may be used in Exotic breeding programs without stigma and are registered with the '7' prefix. Also, in the USA Persian Breeders do not use ELH cats in their programs. However outside of the USA ELH are routinely bred to Persians and to each other and are identified as Persian in other Cat registries. It has been mentioned, that it is highly unlikely Persian Breeders around the world will give up their established breeding programs and spay and neuter their ELHs and then buy new '1' prefix Persians from breeders in the USA, just so they can have the privilege of being able to more readily register and show their cats in CFA. Others feel strongly ELH diminish the integrity of Persians and ought to be spayed and neutered and placed as pets or used in Exotic programs exclusively; and if shown, entered in Household Pet Rings (HHP). Conversely, others emphatically disagree and in addition, feel ELHs added to 'Persian' breeding programs will serve to add additional bloodlines essential for genetic diversity and robustness especially for colorbred lines with small gene pools, such as our own Silver and Golden Persians. Currently it is difficult to find desirable outcrosses that are not related to our current Silver/Golden bloodlines.
While mathematical probabilities predict ELH's physically and genetically are 99.99% identical to Persians, and DNA tests thus far have proven that Exotics cluster with Persians and have zero genetic differentiation from Persians, because of the constant and substantial gene flow between Persians and Exotics for many generations now (40 to almost 60 years), still there is a 'stigma' and biased attitudes held by many in CFA attached to any ELH offspring. This stigma and/or bias/prejudice against ELH is in place even though most acknowledge all Persians were at one time descended from SH ancestry 60 to 100 years ago and many agree all Persians are technically 'ELH' as we in CFA define the term today. Still others strongly disagree with the fact that Exotics are technically shorthaired Persians and find fault with the genetic research and test results published in scientific peer-reviewed journals by highly regarded scientists (links to the abstracts are below). Today controversy rages over this issue and opinions are passionately expressed on both sides of the fence.
Another aspect of the proposal set forth by some members of the Persian Breed Council identifies ELH as merely "Mimics" of the Persian parent breed and seeks to ask the Exotic Breed Council and the CFA Board to approve a Longhair and Shorthair division within the Exotic Breed Division, so ELH can only compete against other ELH and not Persians as they do today. Those who put forth this proposal have alleged a possible 'merge' of the Exotic and Persian Divisions may come in the future and it is hoped the purpose of this proposal will prevent such a 'merge' from taking place as it was done when Himalyans were merged into the Persian Division and caused great upset amongst Himalayan and Persian breeders alike. Clearly the acceptance of the BIC/Calicos and Himalayans to the Persian Division has only served to enhance and grow the Persian and likewise the Exotic Divisions. No harm came to the Persian Division, despite all the cries, histrionics and warnings passionately expressed prior to their acceptance. Others have mentioned how it makes logical sense to merge the Exotics and the Persians, creating a more simplified, efficient and cost-effective single division broken into two parts Shorthaired Persians and Longhaired Persians. However, this 'Merge' proposal is not on the table at this point and time.
Both the Exotic and Persian Breed Council would have to approve the current proposal (and any future proposals touched on above) and then seek approval from the Board for any proposals to succeed.
Everyone agrees pedigree accuracy is paramount and every cat correctly identified with the correct prefix, which is why many feel it is important to continue registering ELH x PER offspring with a '7' prefix rather than forbidding their registration in CFA, which is not financially advantageous for CFA. Another issue is that if a certified pedigree from another Cat Registry notes all cats as "Persian" for five generations the offspring will be given a "1" prefix. However, with that being said there could be an ESH or ELH in the sixth generation; but the cat is in effect 'purified' with the "1" prefix. This is a concern of both Proponents and Opponents alike. The CFA Persian Breed Council has asked the Board to approve the requirement for eight generations, but that request has been denied, as it is presumably cost prohibitive to request an eight-generation certified pedigree from a foreign registry. If an eight-generation certified pedigree is required, it may in effect cost the applicant hundreds of dollars to register only one cat--people will simply avoid registering their cat with CFA.
CFA's growth market is outside the USA, so from a business prospective the Board's position on the matter is understandable. Nevertheless proponents and opponents of the current proposals are concerned about this issue, so it is important other possible solutions to the issue of accurately identifying ancestors with a '1' '3' and/or '7' prefix need to be found. One possible idea is it would be great if all registries can work together and collaborate to a greater degree in addition, perhaps file share with each other--in effect trade pedigree information and add additional detail to their respective databases. However, this too is unlikely as this issue is a CFA issue exclusively, because CFA is the non-conforming registry. It is not in the best interest of other cat registries around the world to assist us with our non-conforming 'bias,' which is not supported by genetics. Another solution that could be helpful is to add an 'L' to exotic numbers to denote ELH so we can more readily identify which cats are ESH from ELHs. Persian proponents and opponents alike do not feel comfortable about the fact an ESH may be an ancestor in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th generation (or more), even though Exotic breeders may scoff at this bias, because the SH gene cannot be carried recessively by ELH and pop up in future generations.
Other European cat registries (FiFe, FFFE, LOOF, CFG, SVERAK, etc.) recognize the ELH as Persian, with the exception of GCCF and their policy is currently in the process of revision. GCCF RECOMMENDED BREEDING and REGISTRATION POLICY FOR CHINCHILLA, SHADED SILVER and GOLDEN PERSIANS, Revised February 2012. It appears the policy may have been changed as the article states: "Chinchilla, Shaded Silver, and Golden Persians should only be bred with other Persian type cats". The language expressed is clearly broad enough to be interpreted to encompass and include ELH as allowed rather than prohibited. However, this matter may still be in discussion as of February 2013, per the GCCF Proposed Registration Policy for Silver and Golden Persians (Green-eyed). 2013 GCCF (UK) Recognised Breeds and Registration Policies.
There is no such thing as a Purebred Persian, the Persian is a manmade breed selecting for various characteristics so defined in our Persian Breed Standard. "The Persian is perhaps the oldest recognized cat breed and has undergone selection for an extreme phenotype, which likely involved complex gene interaction. Even though the early Persian cat may have in fact originated from ancient Persia, the modern Persian cat has lost its phylogeographical signature. The Persian breed unexpectedly clustered with cats from Western Europe. Similarly, when the researchers examined the genes of what are thought to be distinct breeds, they were unable to find significant differences among many of them. An example would be Persian and Exotic Shorthairs. The Exotic Shorthair is essentially a shorthaired variant of a Persian, which is demonstrated by the complete clustering of these two breeds as one group." (See the 'Ascent of Cat Breeds' below. ♥)
It is important to note, after WWII, the cat fancy was decimated in Europe and any longhair cat of unknown parentage was used to rebuild bloodlines. The war also affected the USA as many bloodlines/breeding programs could not be sustained. Therefore, after the war through the 1950s, CFA had an "Open Registration" policy, which allowed the registration of any longhaired cat submitted with an affidavit or if a Judge warranted a given longhaired cat had 'sufficient quality'. This was done to kick start the Cat Fancy and replenish bloodlines that did not survive the challenges of wartime. During this time British Short-hairs (BSH) in England and Domestic Short Hairs (DSH), which are now called American Short Hairs (ASH) were used to reintroduce the piebald gene, which is behind our Calicos and Bi-color Persians, which were eventually accepted in CFA for Championship status in 1975. For this reason there was a bias against all BIC/Calicos up into the 1990s, however now BIC cats are well interspersed in other color Persian pedigrees without the stigma of yesteryear.
Also during this time adventurous Breeders (1930s through 1960) sought to develop the Himalayan Persian by crossing Siamese with Persians to develop the pointed color pattern. Descendants of Himmys will carry the '3' prefix which identifies 'Color Point Carriers' (CPC), which is a recessive gene and can pop up in future generations. However today a DNA test can reveal if a cat is a CPC or not, so perhaps in the future DNA tests may be done to identify which cats are not CPCs and perhaps a proposal will be written to drop the "3" prefix on the Persian Breed Council ballot. Today many Silver and Golden Persians carry the "3" prefix even though the CPC is more than 12 generations behind the prime cat today and the Silver/Golden descendant is not likely to carry the CPC gene. Please read Former CFA President Richard H. Gebhardt's article Why Himalayans Are Persian's as it contains much valuable information about our Persians' history and development in the mid to late twentieth century.
Carefully Research Pedigrees Before Importing
As noted above, the Short Hair gene is not recessive, thus will not pop up in any future ELH x ELH or ELH x PER breedings when bred exclusively to Persians or other Long Hair Exotics; however, it is not recommended to do so. All of said offspring will carry the '7' prefix or not registerable (ELH x PER) with CFA at all should this proposal pass. Other registries outside of CFA consider ELH as Persian so there is no differentiation at registration. Therefore you must carefully trace the ancestors of any cat you are consider buying outside of the US at least ten to twenty generations via online Persian databases such as the USGF, Perlore and Calivan databases to determine if a ELH may be lurking far back in the pedigree. Before purchase, it is recommended that one ought to obtain certified pedigrees directly from the registry of the parents of the cats to trace the pedigree to avoid any possible pedigree 'misrepresentations' or 'errors' regarding of some of the ancient ancestors.
Times are changing and along with the passage of time, the attitudes toward ELH are changing as well. Remember not long ago it was considered shameful for Silver Persian breeders to outcross to another color Persian and color-breeding was the rule of the day from the 1950s through the mid 1990s.
CFA Rules for Exhibiting of Exotic Long Hairs
The ELH was accepted for CFA's Championship status as of February 9, 2009. Thus, Exotic Longhairs now compete against other Persians in the recognized Persian Color Class. Not all Exotic color classes are recognized and accepted in the Persian color classes. Those cats recognized in the Exotic color classes but not in the Persian color Classes, may compete as AOV. Please see below for additional information and rules.
Kittens born after April 15, 2009 may only be from ESH to ESH, ESH to ELH or ESH to Persian. In addition, ELH to ELH or ELH to Persian breedings are now registerable as well.
Per the above, all individual cats born after 4/15/09 from an Exotic LH X Exotic LH breeding or Exotic LH X Persian breeding may be enrolled as Persian through the Cats Ancestral Tracking Service (CATS). That cat and its enrolled offspring will remain part of CATS until a sufficient number of generations of CATS Persians have been enrolled to allow the non- conforming Exotic longhairs to drop off the pedigree. At that time, the enrolled cat with a pedigree that meets the registration requirements for that breed may be switched to CFA's standard database. In the case of the Persian breed, this would currently be after the fifth generation of enrolled background. Information regarding this tracking service can be found at: Cat's Ancestral Tracking Service(CATS)
Cats already registered in CFA as Exotic LH's are grandfathered in regardless of the coat length of the parents.
An Exotic LH with parentage per above AND that was born PRIOR to 4/15/09 may continue to be registerable after 4/15/09 using the usual method/form/type of application along with the appropriate registration fee.
Regardless of birthdate, an Exotic LH produced from a breeding that includes at least one shorthaired parent is registerable as Exotic LH and showable as Persian. Such a litter that has produced both longhaired and shorthaired offspring is registerable as Exotic. The kittens would be individually registered and assigned registration prefix codes based upon each kitten's coat length, as either Exotic (SH) or Exotic LH (see below).
There will be no changes made to existing registration prefix codes for Exotic LH's, nor will new codes be established for each longhaired color and/or pattern. CFA will continue to assign the following prefix codes for longhaired Exotics. The cat's owner need not apply for a new registration. The cat's certificate of registration will include "LH" as part of its description.
Effective at the beginning of the 2009-2010 show season, Exotic LH's that either fall into the "grandfathered" category or have been produced from a Persian X SH Exotic breeding may be shown at any CFA show as Persian. The cat must, however, be registered under a color/pattern accepted within the Persian breed for Championship status. AOV colors/patterns are not showable as Persian.
For example although spotted tabbies exist in the Exotics, they do not exist in the Persian color classes. Therefore, a cat of this pattern would not be showable, except as a longhaired Exotic AOV. There are also some other differences in the color classes and it is up to the Exhibitor to determine whether or not their cat's color conforms to an existing, accepted Championship color/pattern within the Persian breed. CFA Photo Gallery of ELH
Entry and Scoring
The Exhibitor should complete the Entry Blank with the cat's REGISTRATION number as it appears on the cat's CFA Certificate of Registration. The correct SHOW color class code can be found in the Show Rules under the Persian breed and is based upon the cat's registered color/pattern/sex. For example a conforming Black Exotic LH male would compete in Color Class 0108.
The cat will appear in the catalog, the master clerk catalog, and the judge's book pages under the appropriate Persian color class and will be handled and evaluated as part of that class, along with any other competing Persians and conforming Exotic LHs.
CH, PR, GC, and GP points and awards will be earned based upon the placements/awards taken in the Persian color classes. For example if a black Exotic LH is a Champion and receives the Purple Champion ribbon, it will receive one CH point for each of the other Solid Persians and/or Exotic LHs competing in that color class in that ring. If a Persian receives the Purple ribbon, it will earn points based upon the total of the number of Persians plus any Exotic LHs that compete in that class in that ring. If there are two opens in the same color class of the same sex, one an Exotic LH and the other a Persian, they will compete against each other for a single winner's ribbon.
National/Regional Points will be assigned in the same manner. Any National/Regional breed and color points will be earned based upon points received as a Persian and the number of cats present and competing at that show. In the E-Points reports, however, National/Regional placement listings will appear separately from the Persian listings. They will instead, be listed under the newly created Exotic LH Division, which will in turn, be separate from the point listings for Exotic (SH). There will actually be two Exotic sections Exotic and Exotic LH, each with its own point listing.
At the end of each show season, there will be a Best, Second, and Third Best Exotic LH, in the same manner as there is currently a Best, Second, and Third Best Exotic (SH). No single Exotic, LH or SH, will be best overall. Also, there will be no Divisional separation within the Exotic breed other than Longhair and Shorthair. That is, there will be no Solid Division, Parti Color Division, etc. Those Divisions will still exist only within the Persian breed.
Point thresholds for National/Regional Breed and Color wins will be in effect, as they are for all other breeds/divisions. However, end-of-year color class awards in the Exotic LH class may not include awards for some colors/patterns that are awarded for the Exotic (SH). With the Exotic LH, awards will be based only on those color classes currently accepted by the Persians, not on the color classes accepted for Exotic (SH).
Patterns of Molecular Genetic Variation Among Cat Breeds By Marilyn Menotti- Raymond, Victor A. David, Solveig M. Pflueger, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Claire M. Wade, Stephen J. O'Brien, Warren E. Johnson
The Ascent of Cat Breeds: Genetic Evaluations of Breeds and Worldwide Random Bred Populations By Monika J. Lipinski, Lutz Froenicke, Kathleen C. Baysac, Nicholas C. Billings, Christian M. Leutenegger, Alon M. Levy, Maria Longeri, Tirri Niini, Haydar Ozpinar, Margaret R. Slater, Niels C. Pedersen, and Leslie A. Lyons ♥
Cat Ancestry - Tracing the Lineage of Your Feline Service Offered by U.C. Davis
Solid Color Persians (About and History) by Lorraine Saunders
For more in-depth information about Exotics and Exotic Longhairs please check out these links:
Website Launched April 15, 2010