The Persian cat is one of the best-recorded breeds of cat out there, dating back to old Persia (Iran today), and was brought over to Italy in 1620!
As a result of the longevity of this breed, there has actually been a lot of branching out of the breed, depending on the needs of the breeders as well as various associations.
For the purposes of this piece, we are going to look at the large sub-categories of Persian cats, though some people would claim that there are a lot more types.
In answering the question of how many types of Persian cats there are, the main differences lie in their appearance, notably the color of their coat (breeder associations peg down three main branches here) and their overall appearance (four main types).
Do keep in mind that there will be significant cross-over as one type of Persian could have a different type’s coloring, so we will blend them as best we can and look at the major varieties of Persian cat.
The Doll-Faced Persian cat is the OG of the Persian breed, looking basically the same as the oldest images of Persian cats. They are also known as Traditional or Old-Fashioned Persians.
Doll-Faced Persians are not as extreme as other varieties: they have a normal nose length which lets them breathe easier, have less eye staining, and have fewer eye issues.
They also have fewer health problems. But they are still very high maintenance because of their long, flowing coats.
They usually have silver, tabby, part-color, calico, or Himalayan shades of coats and are affectionate and playful.
Doll-Faced Persian cats can run upwards of $3,000, depending on color and how suitable they would be for show and breeding.
Peke-Face Persian cats are the show Persian cats and their name actually comes from how similar they look to Pekingese dogs.
The original kittens had a genetic mutation that caused them to have a flatter face and then that as bred further into this line.
As a result, though, they are usually less healthy as they are prone to serious breathing problems, asthma, and eye drainage issues.
The most distinctive thing about these cats is their square-shaped head, tiny nose, and long jaw, with the nose sometimes seemingly set between their eyes!
Peke-faced Persians only have red and red-tabby coat colors and while they have long and silky fur, they have a thick and dense undercoat, meaning they need a lot of grooming.
Like other Persian cats, they are affectionate and quiet.
Personally, I had never heard of this variety before I went digging and now, I rather want one! Chinchilla Persians don’t have the silky long coat of their other Persian cousins – they have thick, bushy coats!
They are also usually silvery-white in color and have green or blue eyes, rather than the yellow that other Persian cats have. All in all, they look rather like the Chinchilla they are named for.
Unfortunately, they can have health problems such as kidney disease and heart problems, and flat-faced ones have breathing issues.
Exotic Shorthair Persian
The Exotic shorthair is a shorthair variant of the Persian cat that is more capable of grooming itself. They otherwise look like a Persian cats with flat faces and large eyes.
Like other Persian cats, they can have breathing problems and tear duct issues; unlike other Persian cats, they are more playful and don’t like being left alone.
Exotic shorthair Persians have a much shorter, but still thick, dense coat that comes in a variety of colors. They also mature more slowly than other Persian cats, taking up to two years!
Exotic shorthair Persians are also known as the ‘lazy man’s Persian’ because they don’t require as much grooming.
Teacup Persians are bred to be tiny Persian cats! But they come with a huge price tag, both in terms of cost and in terms of health.
Teacup Persians are more likely to have the same health problems that regular Persian cats have, plus their tiny faces make it even harder for them to breathe.
They also have trouble regulating their own body temperature and are highly stress reactive.
Teacup Persian cats aren’t actually accepted by official breed registries, (since they are just tiny Persian cats), but some breeders strive for them anyway.
Persian Divisions by Color
The Cat Fancier’s Association divides Persian cats up differently, going for color rather than variations in other things.
These are for show cat purposes and the seven divisions are:
- Solid (White, black, silver, blue, or chocolate)
- Silver and Golden (Chinchilla)
- Smoke and Shaded (White undercoat, subtle colored overcoat. Smoke Persians have a darker Overcoat: black, brown, or blue).
- Tabby (Classic, Mackerel, and Patched)
- Bicolor (two color patterns: white, brown, red, blue, or black)
- Himalayan: Siamese coloring, blue eyes.
In all reality, there really is just one breed of Persian cat, but this particular breed has several distinctive variations that become almost mini-breeds unto themselves.
The main differences lie in their facial structure, which runs from looking much like any other cat to being extremely flat-faced with a tiny nose.
The other variations lie in their coat color and what type of longhair coat it is (or shorthair!)
If you are trying to figure out which type of Persian cat to get for yourself, it’s important to consider a good breeder first and foremost to limit the health problems that your kitten may suffer.
It’s also important to consider the type of household you have and what kind of resources you can commit.
Have a favorite Persian variant? Let us know!
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.