Let's talk American Wirehairs

With its signature wiry coat, undetected thus far in any other country, the American Wirehair is truly a bona fide American original. Calm and easy-going, the breed is known to be at ease with children and playful into old age. When they aren’t spending time in your company, whether on your lap or at a comfortable (but close) distance, the American Wirehair can often be found observing birds from high perches and demonstrating their hunting instincts by tracking down insects that may wander indoors. All in all: a feline favorite for families.

Official name: American Wirehair 

Origins: USA

Labrador Retriever adult black and white

 Shedding level    Warm weather? Medium
 Energy Level*   Medium  Family pet?* Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of an American Wirehair
Mâle
22 - 28 cm Taille
5 - 7 kg Poids
Femelle
22 - 28 cm Taille
3.5 - 5 kg Poids

 Baby age  Birth to 4 months
 Puppy age  4 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

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Origine de la race

Pour de nombreux passionnés, le labrador retriever reste l’un des chiens les plus populaires au monde. On pense que les labradors retrievers sont originaires des côtes de Terre-Neuve, au Canada, où les pêcheurs utilisaient des chiens de cette apparence pour récupérer le poisson. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

Le Labrador Retriever Club a été fondé en 1916 et a adopté peu après le premier standard, principalement conçu pour les labradors retrievers de travail qui avaient rapidement acquis une certaine renommée, après leur introduction en Grande-Bretagne à la fin des années 1800 par le colonel Peter Hawker et Earl of Malmesbury.

American Wirehair in front of set

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2 facts about American Wirehairs

1. Looks can be deceiving

While there are similarities between the breeds, the American Wirehair is not an American Shorthair with a wiry coat. Distinct differences, from the position of the cheekbones to the shape of the muzzle, make the breed one-of-a-kind.

2. Hypoallergenic, true or false?

Don’t believe the rumours: the texture of the American Wirehair’s coat does not make it hypoallergenic. It is important to remember that allergies are not caused by a type of coat but rather dander, which is shed by all cats and dogs. Individuals with allergies will react differently to specific cats. 

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History of the breed

The American Wirehair is unlike any other American cat breed. It emerged from a spontaneous mutation, first appearing in 1967 in a farm cat litter of six kittens born in the state of New York. This first cat was a male and when mated to another domestic cat, produced more kittens with the same wiry coat.

Hair samples were sent for analysis to cat geneticists, who found that they were unique and not the same as other rexed (soft and fine) coats. Their dense and coarse fur, often compared to steel wool, runs from head-to-paw, including the whiskers.

The breed was developed further with the use of American Shorthairs, the breed most similar in type. After several years of working to develop this unique breed, it was fully recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1978.

Today, the American Wirehair is a distinctive wonder, so much so that it is considered the rarest cat among the CFA’s 43 recognised breeds. 

Black and white portrait of an American Wirehair

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of American Wirehairs

1. Ears

Wide-set ears

2. Eyes

Large, rounded eyes with corners that tilt upward

3. Coat

Springy, wiry and dense coat down to the whiskers

4. Feet

Rounded feet with heavy paw pads

5. Tail

Rounded, fluffy tail

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your American Wirehair
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May be at risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Generally speaking, the American Wirehair is very healthy. However, because the breed can be crossed with the American Shorthair, it may develop similar issues, namely hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. HCM is a common form of heart disease in felines and causes an enlargement of the heart muscle. A reputable breeder will not only provide a written health guarantee but be able to confirm that their American Wirehairs have been screened with an echocardiogram for the disease by a veterinary cardiologist.

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Not as high maintenance as you might think

With all that talk about short, wiry coats, you might be inclined to think the American Wirehair is high maintenance. On the contrary: the breed’s resilient coat, which springs back when you press on it, is straightforward to groom. What’s more, it requires less of a time commitment than the American Shorthair, its closest relation. 

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Caring for your American Wirehair

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The coarse texture of the American Wirehair’s coat requires very little grooming. In fact, too much brushing can damage its delicate wiry, low-shedding fur. Aside from the occasional combing, you can keep the breed’s skin and coat clean with baths to remove loose dead hooked hairs that can lead to irritation. Intelligent and moderately playful, American Wirehair cats prefer the kind of activity that stimulates their brain. While they are capable of entertaining themselves, you can engage them with puzzle toys, teasers that tap into their hunter’s instincts. They are also quick learners so feel free to train them to use scratching posts, window perches to observe their surroundings, and even play with other pets.

All about American Wirehairs

Easy - through its coat. The American Wirehair cat’s thick coat is springy and coarse, hard to the touch but still soft enough to be pleasant to pet. It is the breed’s most defining characteristic, setting it apart from the American Shorthair. 

The American Wirehair sticks around for the long-haul with a life expectancy of 14-18 years. Given that the breed is generally very healthy, a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, and vet check-ups will ensure it leads a long life in your company. 

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/