A domestic short-haired cat is a cat of mixed ancestry – thus not belonging to any particular recognised cat breed. Domestic short-haired cats should not be confused with the British Shorthair, American Shorthair or other standardized breeds with “Shorthair” names.
The Domestic Shorthair is believed to be domesticated in Egypt in the year 2000 BC. Domestic short-haireds are the most common cat in the United States, accounting for around 90–95% of their number.
The term tabby cat technically refers to a coat pattern, but is also often used as a general term for cats of this sort.
Domestic short-haired cats are characterised by a wide range of colouring, and typically “revert to type” after a few generations, which means they express their coats as a tabby cat. This can be any colour or combination of colours. They also exhibit a wide range of physical characteristics and, as a result, domestic short-haired cats in different countries tend to look different in body shape and size, as they are working from differing gene pools. Domestic short-haired cats in Asia tend to have a build similar to a “classic” Siamese or Tonkinese, while European and American varieties have a thicker, heavier build.
Mixed-breed domestic cats have a form of hybrid vigor due to their diverse gene pool, so that they are much less vulnerable to the genetic problems for which purebred cats must be carefully screened.