Photo by © Heather

Oriental Longhair - Breed Profile:

Origin: USA
Colors: Any
Size: Small to medium
Coat Type(s): Longhair
Grooming: Every few weeks
Talkativeness: Very vocal
Activity Level: Very high
Attention Requirement: Very high
Overall: Can be a handful

Physical characteristics

The Oriental Longhair is a small to medium cat with a slender but muscular body and graceful lines. There are actually two varieties of the breed: the Extreme (that you can usually see at cat shows) and the Traditional one.
The Extreme Oriental Longhair has an elongated lithe body and a long wedge-shaped head. The large ears are pointed at the tip, broad at the base and set widely; their outer lines continue the wedge shape of the head. The neck and the legs and long and thin, the tail is long too and tapers to the tip. The medium size ears are almond-shaped and slightly slanted to the nose; they can be blue, green or odd-eyed depending on the coat colour and pattern.
As well as in the Siamese, Javanese, and Balinese cats, Traditional Oriental Longhairs have a rounder, more moderate body and head type. They are well-balanced and well-proportioned, neither svelte nor cobby. The Traditional Oriental is usually larger than the Extreme.


Oriental Longhairs have an active, playful, inquisitive, and talkative personality. They want to participate in everything you do, from cooking and cleaning to reading and taking a nap with you. You will need a tall cat tree so that your oriental doesn't become disastrous jumping and climbing on every curtain, high shelf and bookcase. Don't even try to "hide" from your companion behind a closed door: Orientals hate closed doors and will never stop begging you to open it (if they can't open it themselves, of course, which is a rare case). They are extremely intelligent, people-oriented, and trusting. Usually, Orientals form strong bonds with just one person, their chosen human. Once this emotional bond is made, an Oriental Longhair becomes a truly devoted companion. If you work a lot and spend nights out of home, this breed is not for you: Orientals will mourn and feel abandoned. Given enough attention and love, they thrive like no other cat. They are quite vocal but have a milder voice than their Siamese ancestors.
Photo by © Heather

Coat and grooming

The coat of Oriental Longhairs is silky and close-lying, with a luxuriously plumed tail. Unlike in Persians or Siberians, it has no undercoat, so little grooming is necessary: only once in several weeks. Any colours are allowed; the patterns can be solid, shaded, smoke, parti-colour, tabby and bicolour.


Oriental Longhairs are generally very robust. The main proof of their good health is their longevity: Orientals can live 15 years and more if kept indoors. However, some lines are prone to hereditary diseases such as the liver amyloidosis and cardiomyopathy. Also, Oriental Longhairs can suffer from plaque buildup, tartar formation and gingivitis.

Other interesting facts

The breed has Oriental Shorthair, Balinese and Siamese heritage.