Colorpoint Shorthair

By PetMD Editorial on Nov. 9, 2009

Colorpoint Shorthairs are the first-cousins of the Siamese, and are distinguished by their 16 different "point" colors beyond the four Siamese colors. Seldom quiet, they love entertaining and being entertained.

Physical Characteristics

The Colorpoint looks so much like the Siamese that they could be considered twins. It has an elegant, medium-sized body with long, narrowing lines, and firm muscles. It also possesses almond-shaped eyes, slim legs, and a tapering tail. Unlike the Siamese, however, it can be found in a variety of colors, including red, cream, tortoiseshell, and a mixture of these.

Personality and Temperament

Life is never boring when there is a Colorpoint Shorthair around. Like its cousin, the Siamese, it is a born extrovert: making friends easily, chattering persistently, and showering their owners with love. The Colorpoint is also remarkably sensitive to moods. If someone is moved to tears while watching a tragic movie, this cat will try to bring them comfort.


Though generally healthy, the breed is susceptible to some health conditions such as protrusion of the cranial sternum and endocardial fibroelastosis.

History and Background

The Colorpoint is often confused with the better-known Siamese. In fact, some believe the Colorpoint Shorthair is nothing more than a Siamese hybrid.

Its origins began in the 1940s, when cat breeders made a concerted effort to create a cat which could boast the characteristics of the Siamese but would come in a variety of colors other than the traditional four.

To achieve their ends, breeders used foundation crossings between the Siamese, Abyssinian, and the red domestic Shorthair (the American Shorthair was also used). After years of struggle and innumerable failures, the breeding program succeeded. This breed was again crossed with the Siamese to retain its body style and personality.

To quell protests from Siamese breeders, cat fanciers finally agreed to give this cat a new name, the Colorpoint Shorthair. This breed now has very few non-Siamese genes, as many generations have passed, though technically it is still a hybrid.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association granted the breed Championship status in 1964. Today, all the major associations have followed suit, though most use the Siamese standard to identify the Colorpoint Shorthair.

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