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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Black American Shorthair: Pictures, History & Facts

Black American Shorthair: Pictures, History & Facts

Black American Shorthiar cat sitting

The American Shorthair is a purebred cat that is medium in size and comes in almost every color and pattern available. This easygoing feline has a short coat—which is clear from their name—and while it isn’t quite as common as the tabby pattern, the American Shorthair can be solid black.

If you want to learn more about these gorgeous cats, we get into the details for you here, and perhaps you’ll fall in love with the American Shorthair!

Breed Overview


12 – 15 inches


6 – 15 pounds


15 – 20 years


All solid colors and patterns

Suitable for:

Single people and families in houses, apartments, or condos


Loyal, curious, smart, loving, adaptable, cuddly, and friendly

American Shorthair cats are typically medium sized but can edge into large, with some males creeping past 16 pounds. They have stocky builds with wide chests and broad heads. They tend to have medium-short muzzles that can be squarish, and their overall appearance usually looks compact.

Black American Shorthairs have the same physical characteristics and temperament as any other colored and patterned American Shorthair.


Black American Shorthair Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.

The Earliest Records of the American Shorthair in History

Black American Shorthair
Image by: Tony Campbell, Shutterstock

When Europeans traveled across the ocean for the New World, they brought cats with them to help keep rats and mice from devastating the food stores. These felines were likely British Shorthairs and other European shorthaired cats. They were brought over on the Mayflower and accompanied the colonists as working cats to North American shores. The cats adapted to the harsh New England weather due to their thick coats and admirable hunting skills; many became barn cats.

Initially, these cats were bred to be rugged and for their hunting skills, with less focus on their looks. But farmers started to appreciate the various colors and patterns and would base their choice of kittens on appearance and hunting prowess.

How the American Shorthair Gained Popularity

These “American” cats were quite hardy. They were first respected for their hunting skills, but eventually, their easygoing temperament and striking looks started to gain attention, and their popularity started to grow.

In the late 1800s, early cat show exhibitions showcased Domestic Shorthairs, and more shorthaired breeds were brought to the U.S. By this point, breeders were starting to selectively breed cats to create a shorthaired cat representative of a North American working cat.

In 1896, a brown tabby American Shorthair was offered for sale for $2,500! However, they weren’t known as American Shorthair cats at this time.

Formal Recognition of the American Shorthair

Black American Shorthair sitting outside
Image by: bluebeard013, Shutterstock

The American Shorthair was called the Domestic Shorthair until the ’60s, but they were officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1906 and was actually one of the first of five registered breeds at the time.

Breeders were using a variety of North American shorthaired breeds to refine their appearance and temperament, and were named the American Shorthair in 1966. The name and the purposeful breeding were designed to differentiate this breed from domestic cats that were not purebred.

The International Cat Association took a bit longer and accepted the American Shorthair for championship in 1979.


Top 7 Unique Facts About Black American Shorthair Cats

1. President George Bush owned a Black American Shorthair called India, which lived with the Bush family in the White House.

2. The Black American Shorthair and Bombay cats can be difficult to tell apart. The Bombay is also known for their thick black fur and has a similar solid body structure and round face with a short nose.

3. What the American Shorthair is most famous for is their classic silver tabby pattern. They aren’t quite as well known for being a solid color, like black.

4. The Black American Shorthair is pure black, with no markings or variations, and has black paw pads and noses.

5. American Shorthairs mature slowly and don’t finish growing until they are 3 to 4 years of age.

6. These cats are quite healthy and hardy and have a lifespan of at least 15 years and often live into their 20s.

7. American Shorthairs are purebred. They shouldn’t be confused with Domestic Shorthair cats, which are mixed breeds.


Does an American Shorthair Make a Good Pet?

Woman with Black American Shorthair cat on the couch
Image by: 89stocker, Shutterstock

The American Shorthair, regardless of color, makes a truly wonderful pet! They are great with children and can make excellent companions for seniors. They are playful but aren’t overly energetic. They are incredibly people oriented and enjoy nice cuddling sessions if that’s your thing.

American Shorthair cats are also easy to take care of. Their coats are dense but short, so they only need combing once a week or so to help with the shedding. As with any cat, you’ll need to stay on top of trimming their nails and brushing their teeth.

They also are healthy cats with no known genetic conditions, but they can be prone to obesity, so ensure that you don’t overfeed or give them too many treats. It will definitely help to spend time playing with them for at least 10 to 20 minutes daily.



The American Shorthair is an incredible cat, whether they’re solid black or a tabby. But there’s no question that the Black American Shorthair is quite striking! This cat is affectionate and good-natured and will love spending time with you.

The Black American Shorthair is easy to look after and will likely be with you for a long time.

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Featured Image Credit: marumaru, Shutterstock

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