BRITISH SHORTHAIR

Blue Shorthair, from Frances Simpson's Book of the Cat, 1903

Blue Shorthair, from Frances Simpson’s Book of the Cat, 1903

HISTORY

The British Shorthair cat originates perhaps as far back as the first century AD and is the most popular pedigreed breed in the United Kingdom today.  The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland is a British Shorthair. These stocky cats with dense coats and broad faces were brought to the British Isles by the Romans to keep rodent populations in check. These cats then interbred with European wildcats, producing the cats we see today.

The British Shorthair’s most common color is “British Blue” which is a solid grey coat and orange eyes. Even so, over the years many other color variants and patterns have been developed by breeding.

Harrison Weir has been credited with standardizing the breed. The British Shorthair was present at the first ever cat show at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871.

During World War I British Shorthairs became a rarity partially due to the popularity of other breeds such as Persians. In an attempt to revive the breed, cats were crossed with Persians and Russian Blues as well as the French Chartreux. By the 70’s the British Shorthair was recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA).

British Shorthair cat

Photo by: fotohoekcarla nvt, CC0, 26031494

 

CHARACTERISTICS

WEIGHT RANGE               Males average 9–17 lb (4.1–7.7 kg) and Females 7–12 lb (3.2–5.4 kg)
EYE COLOR Orange if a British Blue, other colors depending upon the coat color. 
COAT The coat does not have an undercoat but is plush and thick.
COAT COLORS

Even though British Blue is still the most common color other variants are popular such as: Black, blue, white, red, cream, silver, golden and—most recently—cinnamon and fawn, as well as tabby and tortoiseshell.

The Tabby patterns include: Classic Tabby, Mackerel Tabby, Spotted & Ticked Tabby. The non-tabby patterns include: Tortoiseshell, Bi-Colour, Van patterns Bi-Colour & White, Smoke, Tipped & Colourpointed.

 

OVERALL APPEARANCEThe British Shorthair is a stocky strong looking cat with thick legs and rounded paws and large wide set pointed ears. The tail is of medium length and blunt tipped. Also known for its charming “Cheshire Cat” smile. 
PRICE $1,500-2,000 Recognized by Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association. 

 

British Shorthair cat at The Great Cat

Photo by: Janinski – CC BY-SA 3.0, 6345640

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The British Shorthair is a sweet natured cat with an even temperament. The breed may not be as active as others, and may be prone to obesity. These cats can also suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and are at high risk of polycystic kidney disease. 

Life expectancy: 14-20 years. 

 

British Short Hair

Photo by Plopatries – CC BY-SA 4.0, 91017833

 

BRITISH SHORTHAIR CAT CLUBS AND ADOPTION

British Shorthair Rescue

British Shorthair Rehoming 

Purebred Cat Rescue

 

 

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