The term exotic shorthair can refer either to the Persian-like exotic shorthair breed, which has a formal purebred standard, or to the various kinds of wild short-haired felines, which are kept as pets. Although the wild exotics are actually separate species, not breeds, there are some hybrid breeds of domestic cat that are frequently classed alongside their wild exotic progenitors.
The Savannah, for example, is a short-haired hybrid breed that combines the domestic cat with the serval. Servals are kept as exotic pets in eastern Africa, and they are one of the more manageable exotic species, as they only grow to be between 18 and 40 pounds at maturity, comparable to a medium-sized dog.
Other exotic cats kept as pets can grow much larger. For example, cougars and the Iberian lynx can exceed 100 pounds. Bobcats, Asian leopard cats and jungle cats are at the lower end of the size range for exotic cat species kept as pets. Geoffroy's cat, a wildcat from South America, is less than 8 pounds at maturity.
The exotic shorthair breed, on the other hand, is not a hybrid or wild cat at all. It is derived from domestic long-haired cats and combines the distinct temperament and facial structure of purebred Persians with a dense, plush, medium-length coat. The exotic has the same breed standard as the Persian, minus the requirement of long hair.