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Domestic Longhair Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

domestic longhiar cat lying on the grass

Domestic Longhair Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

The Domestic Longhair Cat isn’t any one specific breed. It’s just the common name for a house cat with long hair. They come from mixed-breed ancestry; however, that doesn’t make them any less lovable. Domestic Longhairs are the United States’ second most popular cats, only behind their close cousins, the Domestic Shorthair Cats.

Breed Overview

Breed Overview


Up to 18 inches (body), up to 12 inches (tail)


8–15 pounds


Up to 20 years


All color variants and patterns

Suitable for:

Loving cat families, those seeking companionship, those needing a good mouser


Loyal, loving, intelligent, friendly, gets along with other cats

Domestic Longhairs also make great mousers and have earned that accolade through centuries of proven worth. But they’re not all work and no play. You’ll shortly come to find that Domestic Longhairs can be loving and loyal companions.

Domestic Longhair Cats Characteristics

A high-energy cat needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep healthy and happy, while a low-energy cat needs minimal physical activity, but still needs mental stimulation. When choosing a cat, It’s important to ensure their energy levels match your lifestyle.
Cats that are easy-to-train are more willing and skilled at quickly learning prompts and actions with minimal training. Harder-to-train cats are usually more stubborn or aloof and require a bit more patience and practice.
Certain cat breeds are more prone to various genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat in those breeds will have these issues, but they do have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Due to their size or potential genetic health issues of a specific breed, some cats have shorter lifespans than others. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and hygiene also play an important role in your cat’s lifespan and quality of life.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other cats and animals. Cats that are more social have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches or jump on laps for cuddles, while cats that are less social shy away, hide, are more cautious, and even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed or gender, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to many different situations.

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Domestic Longhair Kittens

german longhaired pointer
Photo Credit: aloiswohlfahrt, Pixabay

Before you pick up a Domestic Longhair, there are just a couple of things you should be aware of.

First, do not confuse the Domestic Longhair with the American Longhair. They are two entirely separate breeds. The Domestic is a hybrid breed developed through many years of crossbreeding cat varieties. The American Longhair is considered to be a purebred cat stemming from the same line American Shorthairs are derived from.

Second, long-haired cats require much more work than short-haired varieties. Their coats will need some help staying well-groomed and clean. They are also much more likely to be heavy shedders. If you have any form of cat allergy, you should avoid long-haired cats.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Domestic Longhair Cat

Each Domestic Longhair has their very own unique personality. However, they’re generally mild-mannered felines. They don’t always need to be the center of attention, but they won’t remain hidden either. Some can be very affectionate and love nothing more than a good snuggle, while others may prefer to show their appreciation from the far end of the sofa.

One thing that they do share in common, though, is their ability and desire to hunt. They have a very high prey drive and the ability to put it to work.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Domestic Longhairs make for excellent family pets, especially with children who understand how to treat a cat. They can be very playful and will treat kids as playmates. However, you’ll still need to keep a close eye on them. Domestic Longhairs aren’t the biggest pets around and may be injured during roughhousing.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

This all depends on the cat. They can have varying personalities that will determine their compatibility. Often, they do just fine around other cats and even dogs. The biggest issue is pairing them with smaller pets such as hamsters, lizards, or birds. Domestic Longhairs have an exceptionally high prey drive. Putting them with “huntable” pets is just an accident waiting to happen.

domestic longhair
Photo Credit: brisch27, Pixabay

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Things to Know When Owning a Domestic Longhair Cat:

When it comes to caring for a Domestic Longhair, they’re relatively easy compared to other cats. But there are a few basics that you should know to ensure the best possible well-being for your feline friend.

Food & Diet Requirements

Like all cats, the Domestic Longhair is an obligate carnivore. This means that they require meat and protein to survive. Carbohydrates, fruit, and veggies aren’t necessarily needed in their diets. So, you should opt for high-quality nutritious cat food to meet their nutrition requirements.

We recommend Tuscan Natural Carne Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. This is some top-tier sustenance. It’s got a whopping 40% minimum protein content with base ingredients of chicken, herring, and turkey. Since it is grain-free, Tuscan Natural has replaced the filler with healthy alternatives such as potatoes and pumpkin.

Just be sure not to overfeed your cat. They don’t need to eat as much as we do. Generally, 1–1.5 cups per day will be all they need to stay strong and healthy.

Exercise 🐈

Cats don’t require as much exercise as other animals. They prefer to spend most of their days lounging about and catching some zzz’s. But that doesn’t mean they need to remain inactive. Your Domestic Longhair should receive 20 minutes minimum of exercise a day.

This can best be accomplished through a fun play session with them. Since they are smart and effective hunters, we recommend interactive toys that get them moving. Wand and feather toys do well along with laser pointers. These cats love to chase, hunt down, and kill the elusive red dot.

Training 🧶

Many people believe that you can’t train a cat. That’s simply not true. You can train a cat to do tons of wonderful tricks, such as playing fetch, coming when called, walking on a leash, and even using a flush toilet!

Speaking of housebreaking, Domestic Longhairs come pre-programmed with a sense of litter training. They are naturally very clean animals and instinctively bury their waste. All you need to reinforce is the location of their boxes and the proper places to relieve themselves.

Longhair Oriental Domestic Cat
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

This is the most complicated part of owning a long-haired cat. Although their coats can be luxurious and beautiful, they are going to require maintenance to keep them that way. Depending on your cat’s fur, we recommend daily to twice-weekly brushing to ensure their hair remains soft and unmatted. Also, it will help reduce unwanted shedding.

Trimming your cat’s claws is another big part of keeping them well-groomed. If grown too long, their claws can curl back and start to irritate or even penetrate their footpads. To stop your kitty from damaging their adorable little toe beans, be sure to check on their claws at least twice a month, and provide them with a quality scratch post or mat.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Domestic Longhairs are hardy and resilient cats when it comes to their health. This is due to their mixed-breed heritage. They aren’t narrowed down to particular health conditions. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t experience any health issues—they’re just far less likely to than others.

The most common ailments your Domestic Longhair will face will be worms, fleas, allergies, and urinary tract infections. These are all relatively minor conditions and easily treatable. The parasites can even be prevented through over-the-counter medications and treatments.

There aren’t any real serious threats to your Domestic Longhair other than illnesses that reach across all breeds, such as cancer, diabetes, or feline leukemia virus. These aren’t nearly as common, though.

Minor Conditions
  • Worms
  • Fleas
  • Allergies
  • UTI
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus

Male vs. Female

The physical differences between males and females are very slight, except for reproductive anatomy. There is no real notable difference between size or weight. However, the same can’t be said about their behavior.

Males are often the most aggressive of the two especially when sexually mature and non-neutered. They’ll begin to mark their territory and spray urine around the house once they come of breeding age. Male cats are strongly recommended to be neutered as soon as possible to eliminate many of these behaviors. After neutering, males will become much more mild-mannered and loving.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Domestic Longhair Cats

1. How They Developed Their Long-Haired Coat Is Still a Mystery

Normally, it’s relatively simple to determine how a cat has inherited a particular phenotype. However, things aren’t as simple with the Domestic Longhair. That’s because their lineage is impossible to trace. Some believe that the long coat was the direct result of a recessive mutant gene. One theory was that the domesticated longhaired cats were descendants of the Pallas’ cat or the manul. But that theory was debunked in 1907.

2. The Domestic Longhair Can Be Pedigreed

While it may seem strange to have mixed breeds as a pedigree, this is a relatively common occurrence in the cat show world. Several major shows have “Household Pet” divisions where Domestic Longhairs and Shorthairs alike can compete. According to the Federation Internationale Feline, a Domestic Longhair may exhibit any eye color, all coat colors and patterns, any coat length or texture, and any length of tail. However, other cat fancier organizations, such as the World Cat Federation, can be much more restrictive.

3. Domestic Longhairs Are Prolific Mousers and Plague Fighters

Generally speaking, the Domestic Longhair is an excellent mouser. That proved exceptionally useful in the mid-1600s. At this time, the Black Death was sweeping across Europe spreading through disease-carrying fleas that lived on rats. Through their skills, the cats were able to cull the rodent population and help fight back against the plague. These mousing skills also earned them a place aboard seafaring vessels where they would hunt down stowaway rats and help fight off other rodent-borne diseases.

Perhaps the most famous Domestic Longhair was a London street cat named Humphrey. Found just outside of the British Prime Minister’s private estate at 10 Downing Street in 1988, this Domestic Longhair had an uncanny knack for mousing. By 1997, Humphrey had gained the official title of “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.” He was paid by the British government to the tune of $200 per year.

domestic longhair cat
Photo Credit: birgl, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

If you’re considering choosing a new cat for your home, a Domestic Longhair makes an excellent choice. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. So there’s bound to be one that’s perfect for your home. If you require a great mouser, look no further than the Domestic Longhair. They’re top-notch hunters too.

Remember to check out your local shelter first when adopting. There are plenty of sweet cats that need a good, loving home. Just be sure to have them neutered or spayed before bringing them home.

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Featured Image Credit: Stephen B. Goodwin, Shutterstock

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