American Shorthair Colours – Full Guide


A sturdy and sweet-natured breed, the American Shorthair or ASH is deservedly popular among cat fanciers. It’s one of the earliest breeds to be recognised by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, receiving CFA registration in 1906. They were initially recorded simply as Shorthairs, with the American Shorthair designation added later to distinguish them from their British and Oriental Shorthair cousins.

Today, the CFA recognises more than 80 different colour and pattern combinations. Here is a list of breed standard colours for the American Shorthair.

White American Shorthair

Pure white with no trace of any other colour. Paw pads and nose leather must be pink. Eyes can be gold or deep blue. Heterochromia is permissible in white cats if one eye is blue and the other gold, with equal depth of colour.

Cream American Shorthair

Buff cream, with the colour going to the roots, with no markings or variation. Nose and pads should be pink. Eyes should be gold.

Black American Shorthair

Pure coal black from the roots of the fur to the tips, with no rust or smoke. Nose and paw pads must be black. Eyes must be gold.

Blue American Shorthair

One level shade from nose to tail. Light is better than dark, although a sound dark is more acceptable than a paler shade with a variation. Nose and paw pads should be blue. Eyes should be gold.

Red American Shorthair

A deep strong red. The colour should be brilliant and clear, with no markings, ticking or shading. Eyes should be gold.

Chinchilla Silver American Shorthair

Black on head, tail, flanks and back must be tipped black, with a pure white undercoat to create a silvery appearance. Legs can have shading and tipping. Chest, stomach, chin and ear tufts should be white. Eyes and lips should be outlined in black. Nose leather should be red, pads black, and eyes green.

Blue Chinchilla Silver American Shorthair

As for the chinchilla silver but with blue tipping instead of black. The nose leather rims around the eyes and the lips should be blue. The nose leather should be an old rose. Paw pads can be old rose or blue. Green eyes.

Red Chinchilla (Shell Cameo) American Shorthair

As for the Chinchilla Silver but with red shading instead of black. Nose, rims around the eyes and paw pads should be rose pink. Eyes should be gold.

Shaded Silver American Shorthair

Significantly darker than the chinchilla. White undercoat. Black tipping mantle shading from light to dark down from the ridge along the face, sides and tail. White undercarriage. Legs and face should be the same tone. Black outlining round the lips, eyes and nose. Brick red nose, black pads, green eyes.

Red Shaded (Shaded Cameo) American Shorthair

As for the shaded silver but with red tipping. Significantly stronger red colouration than the shell cameo. Nose, pads and rims of the cat’s eyes should be rose. Eyes should be gold in colour.

Black Smoke American Shorthair

The cat should have a white undercoat with deep black tipping, appearing completely black when the cat sits still. Mask and points should be black with a band of white around the hair base, only visible when parting the fur. Pads and nose should be black. Green eyes are preferred; hazel and gold are acceptable.

Blue Smoke American Shorthair

As for black smoke except that the tipping is blue instead of black. Nose and pads must be blue. Gold eyes.

Cameo SmokeAmerican Shorthair

As for black smoke except with red tipping instead of black. Rims around eyes, nose and pads: rose. Gold eyes.

Tortoiseshell Smoke American Shorthair

As for black smoke but with clear, unbridled tortoiseshell tipping. White ear tufts. Ideally, the face should have a cream or red tipping blaze. White ear tufts. Gold eyes.

Cream Chinchilla (Cream Shell Cameo) American Shorthair

As for chinchilla silver but with cream tipping in place of black. The nose, paw pads and eye rims must be pink. Gold eyes.

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Cream Shaded (Cream Shaded Cameo) American Shorthair

As for the shaded silver but with cream in place of black tipping. The cat’s legs and face should be the same tone. The effect should be a stronger cream than the cream chinchilla. Nose, eye rims and pads must be pink. Gold eyes.

Blue Cream Smoke American Shorthair

As for the blue smoke but with cream tipped hairs in unbrindled, well-defined patches. A cream tipping blaze on the cat’s face is desirable. Ear tufts should be white. Gold eyes.

Smoke and White American Shorthair

This description includes van variants. The main colour should be white. There should be areas with a white undercoat and deep tipping in one of the accepted colours (black, red, blue, cream, tortoiseshell or cameo). In repose, the cat should appear to be white with coloured patches, with the white undercoat showing when it moves. The cat should have a white muzzle, feet, legs, chest, and underside. An upside-down V blaze on the face is preferrable but not essential.

Black Smoke and White American Shorthair

White cats with areas of black smoke. Green eyes are preferred; hazel and gold are acceptable.

Blue Smoke and White American Shorthair

White with blue smoke portions. Gold eyes.

Tortoiseshell Smoke and White American Shorthair

White with tortoiseshell smoke portions. Eye colour: gold.

Shell Cameo and White American Shorthair

White with shell cameo portions. Gold eyes.

Shaded Cameo and White American Shorthair

The cat should be white with shaded cameo portions. Gold eyes.

Smoke Cameo and White American Shorthair

A white cat with smoke cameo portions. Gold eyes.

Classic Tabby Pattern American Shorthair

Broad, clearly defined and dense markings. Legs should be evenly barred with bracelets circling them, coming up to meet the markings on the body. Multiple necklaces (unbroken) on the upper chest and neck — the more of these there are, the better. Forehead markings should from a distinct capital M. Unbroken lines should run from the eyes’ outer corners. There should be swirled markings on each cheek. There should be vertical markings over the back of the cat’s head. These should extend to a distinct butterfly shape over the cat’s shoulders.

The butterfly should be clearly delineated, with dots inside of the main outline. Along the spine, there should be a clear unbroken line running from the butterfly to the tail. There should be parallel vertical lines running alongside this one, on either side. The three stripes should be clearly separated. On each side of the cat their should be a large blotch of solid colour, encircled by at least one distinct ring. Side markings should be symmetrical. On the chest and stomach, there should be parallel rows of buttons. The colour of the hocks should match the markings.

Mackerel Tabby Pattern American Shorthair

The mackerel tabby’s markings should be denser and finer than the classic tabby’s. Legs should be evenly striped with narrow bracelets all the way up. The necklaces on the chest and neck should be fine and distinct. The head should be barred with a definite letter-M marking. Lines from the eyes should be present and unbroken. Lines along the spine should run together, forming a narrow saddle-shaped area. Fine pencillings should cover the body. The hocks should be the same shade as the markings.

Ticked Tabby Pattern American Shorthair

The ticked tabby should have no obvious markings on the body. The head, neck, legs and tail should show clear tabby striping. On the body, the hair shafts should be ticked with shades of the marking colour. There should be one necklace, clearly defined. There may be tabby markings on the underside. The hocks should be the same colour as the main stripe marking.

Brown Patched Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns (classic, mackerel or ticked tabby) can be present. The ground colour should be a vibrant coppery brown. The markings should be black, with clearly defined patches coloured red or cream (or both) on the extremities and body. It’s desirable for the cat to have a red or cream blaze on the face. The lips and chin should be the same colour as the rings surrounding the eyes. Gold eyes are preferred but hazel is acceptable.

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Blue Patched Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns can be present. The ground colour should be pale bluish ivory, including the chin and lips. The markings should be deep blue, with a strong contrast to the ground colour. There should be clearly defined cream patches on the extremities and body. Ideally, there should be an ivory blaze on the face. There should be a patina or overtone of warm faun all over the cat. Gold eyes.

Silver Patched Tabby American Shorthair

(Any of the tabby patterns). The cat’s undercoat must be white. The ground colour should be pale silver. The markings must be a dense, strong black. There should be patches of red, cream or both on the extremities and the body. A blaze of red, cream or both on the cat’s face is desirable. Eyes can be gold, green or hazel.

Pewter Patched Tabby (Blue Silver Patched Tabby) American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns are acceptable. The undercoat of the fur should be white. The ground colour should be bluish silver, pale and clear. The markings should be deep blue. The patches should be cream-coloured and clearly defined on the extremities and the body. A facial blaze of cream is ideal. Eyes can be hazel or green.

Silver Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns can be present. The ground colour should be pure silver, including the chin and lips. The undercoat should be white. The markings should be deep, dense black. The nose leather should be brick red and the pads should be black. Green eyes are preferred but hazel is acceptable.

Pewter Tabby (Blue Silver Tabby) American Shorthair

Any tabby patterns can be present. The undercoat should be white. The ground colour should be pale bluish silver. The markings should be blue. Nose leather can be old rose with blue trim, or blue. Pads should be blue. Eyes can be hazel or green.

Red Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns can be present. The ground colour is red (including lips and chin), with deeper rich red markings. Brick red paw pads and nose leather. Eyes should be gold.

Brown Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns can be present. The ground colour is coppery-brown, with markings of dense black. Lips, chin and rings around the eyes should be the same colour. The backs of the legs, from heel to paw, should be black. The nose leather should be brick red. Black or brown paw pads are acceptable. Gold eyes are preferred but hazel is acceptable.

Blue Tabby American Shorthair

Any patterns can be present. Lips, chin and ground colour must be pale bluish ivory. The markings should deep blue. Overall, there should be a patina of warm fawn. Nose leather should be old rose. The paw pads should be rose. Eyes: gold.

Cream Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns are acceptable. The ground colour should be pale cream (chin and lips included). Markings should be cream or buff, contrasting strongly with the ground colour. Nose and paw pads should be pink. Eyes should be gold.

Cameo Tabby American Shorthair

Any of the tabby patterns can be present. Ground colour: off-white. Markings: red. Undercoat: white. Paw pads and nose leather should be rose. Eyes should be gold.

Dilute Cameo Tabby (Cream Cameo Tabby) American Shorthair

Any tabby pattern is acceptable. The ground colour should be off-white with a white undercoat. Markings: cream. Nose and pads: rose. Gold eyes.

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Tabby and White (this includes vans) American Shorthair

The main colour should be white, with coloured areas showing any of the tabby patterns. The feet, legs, chest, muzzle and underside should be white. An inverted V-shaped blaze is preferable.

Silver Tabby and White American Shorthair

White fur with coloured areas. The coloured portions should have any of the listed tabby patterns, with silver colouration. Eyes: green, hazel or gold.

Silver Patched Tabby and White

White cats, with areas of the silver patched tabby colouration in any tabby pattern. Eyes: green, hazel or gold.

Cameo Tabby and White

White coat with areas of the cameo tabby colouration. Eyes: gold.

Brown Tabby and White

White with brown tabby sections. Gold or hazel eyes, with gold shades being the preferred colour.

Tabby and White, Brown Patched

White with areas of brown patched tabby colouration. Gold eye colours are preferred, but hazel is accepted.

Tabby and White, Blue Patched

White with blue patched tabby portions. Gold eyes.

Tabby and White, Blue Patched

As for other patched tabby and white cats. Gold eyes.

Tabby and White, Red Patched

As for other patched tabby and white cats. Gold eyes.

Cream Tabby and White

As for other tabby and white cats. Gold eyes.

Shaded Silver and White

White with shaded silver areas. Green eyes.

Chinchilla Silver and White

White with chinchilla silver areas. Green eyes.

Dilute Shaded Calico and White

White with areas of dilute shaded calico. Green or gold eyes.

Tortoiseshell: Black with red patches or mingled red areas. Multiple red shades are acceptable. Nose and pads can be black or brick red. Eyes: gold.

Shell Tortoiseshell (Chinchilla Shaded Tortoiseshell)

Pure white undercoat. Hairs on the back, head, tail and flanks tipped with black and patches of red, cream or both. A facial blaze with red or cream tipping is desirable. Eyes should be green or gold.

Shaded Tortoiseshell

White undercoat. Mantle of black tipped hairs. Clearly defined red and/or cream tipped patches. A blaze on the face of red or cream is preferred. Eyes should be green or gold.

Dilute Chinchilla Tortoiseshell

Pure white undercoat. Coat on head, back, tail and flanks tipped with colour as in the blue cream pattern. A blaze on the face with cream tipping is desirable. Eyes: gold or green.

Dilute Shaded Tortoiseshell

White undercoat. Coat on head, back, tail and flanks tipped with blue and cream as in the tortoiseshell pattern. The cat should have a mantle of fur with blue tipping. On the face, a blaze of cream tipping is desirable. The eyes should be gold or green.

Calico American Shorthair

White ground with patterns of red and black. The underside should be predominantly white. In the red patches, tabby markings are permissible. Gold eyes.

Dilute Calico

As for calico but with cream and blue in place of red and black. Cream patches may show tabby markings. Gold eyes.

Blue-cream

Blue with cream patches or intermingled cream areas. Multiple shades of cream are permissible. Blue or rose nose and pads. Gold eyes.

Bi-colour American Shorthair

White with areas of black, blue, red or cream (unbrindled). Gold eyes.

Van Bi-colour

A single colour (black, red, blue or cream) with white. White cat, colours confined to head, legs and tail. One or two patches of colour on the body are permissible.

Van Calico

White with patches of red and black (unbrindled). Colours are confined to head, legs and tail. One or two patches of colour on the body are permissible.

Van Dilute Calico

This refers to a white cat with patches of cream and blue (unbrindled). Colours are confined to head, legs and tail. One or two patches of colour on the body are permissible.

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