Breed of the Week: Havana Brown

Look at that beautiful chocolate-colored coat!  I’m not ashamed to say I picked the Havana Brown to feature this week because of their unique coat color.

Once known as the Swiss Mountain Cat, the Havana Brown is thought to have descended from the Siamese, but Russian Blues and Burmese may have also played a role in their eventual development.  Interestingly enough, the Havana Brown has gone by a few different names through the decades, such as Chestnut Foreign Shorthair, Chestnut Brown Oriental, and brown Oriental Shorthair.  In the UK it remains the brown Oriental Shorthair, while in the USA it is the Havana Brown.  Due to differences in breeding programs between the UK and USA, the brown Oriental Shorthair and Havana Brown have distinct characteristics that make the two look quite different.

Observe the Havana Brown (USA):


The Havana Brown, having recently had unregistered black or blue domestic shorthairs, certain colors of Oriental Shorthairs, or chocolate-point or seal-point Siamese introduced into their breed to reduce genetic defects, retains the distinct head shape of the original Swiss Mountain Cat, which is longer than it is wide, but otherwise was not bred for extremes and is moderate in every way.

And the brown Oriental Shorthair (UK):


As you can see, the brown Oriental Shorthair has more of the Siamese face and large ears as well as the firm, muscular, angular body.  This cat tends to have more medical and genetic problems than the Havana Brown.

The Havana Brown is known for being playful, outgoing, friendly, and almost dog-like in nature; many of them enjoy playing fetch, learning tricks, and following their humans around the house like puppies.  Much like their Siamese ancestors, the Havana Brown is demanding and talkative (which reminds me of a certain black and white cat *cough* Morgana *cough*).  They are intelligent and use their paws to examine objects and even communicate with their humans.  Visitors shouldn’t be surprised to find a Havana Brown introducing him/herself by laying a paw on their thigh and saying hello by way of a cute “meow.”  Nor should they be surprised to find them at the door to greet them as Havana Browns are, in general, very curious and not at all shy.  With that intelligence and natural curiosity, the Havana Brown will sometimes, or often, insist on riding on their human’s shoulders and helping with their daily tasks.

They become very attached to their family and can often be found playing in and grooming their owner’s hair, an odd trait most Havana Browns share.  They do not thrive when left alone and can become destructive without companionship.  That companionship doesn’t even have to be another cat.  Many Havana Browns become best friends with the family dog!

So, if you’re looking for a sociable, energetic, playful, intelligent, chatterer of a cat that wants to be with you all day every day (except maybe during catnaps) and loves to do tricks and play fetch, the Havana Brown might just be for you!

Lastly, here’s a fun fact:  Havana Browns are the only breed of cat with a breed standard that states that the whiskers must be brown as in the picture below.


Do you have a Havana Brown?  Share their story, behaviors, and funny quirks in the comments below!

As always, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family and joining us on our journey 🙂


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