Cat Breeds: The British Shorthair

Cat Breeds: The British Shorthair

The British Shorthair cat is the quintessential British cat, this breed has been around for hundreds of years and it’s the most popular pedigree cat in the UK according to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

Where does the British Shorthair cat come from?

The British Shorthair cat is thought to have come to Britain with the Romans as they were great rodent catchers and to this day, still make great farm cats.

At the first ever organised cat show in the UK, held at Crystal Palace in London in 1871, it was a blue tabby British Shorthair that won best in show.

What should a British Shorthair cat look like?

The most unique characteristics of the British Shorthair are their short blue fur and startling bright orange eyes. Although the most popular British Shorthair has a solid dense coat of blue, they can come in lots of different colours and patterns, even tabby. Most will have either blue or orange eyes (or heterochromia where they have one of each colour).

When registering a pedigree British Shorthair, the GCCF will recognise the following colours:
• British Self: All one solid colour with orange eyes (but the British Self White can also have blue eyes)
• British Colourpointed and Colourpointed & White: Will be very similar to the Siamese in coat pattern colour and have the blue eyes.
• British Tipped: The very tips of the coat will have colour and will usually be black tipped or golden tipped and they’ll usually have green eyes.
• British Tortoiseshell: Following the traditional colour of the tortoiseshell but with the distinctive shorter dense coat of the British Shorthair, they’ll have a wide mix of colours.
• British Tabby: Just like the British Tortoiseshell, the British Tabby will have one of the four recognised tabby patterns (classic, spotted, mackerel or ticked).

What sort of personality does the British Shorthair cat have?

The British Shorthair is stalwart and true. They have a calm and friendly personality which makes them great family pets but they’re not an attention seeking breed. They don’t like being picked up or carried around, but they do like human company and would prefer to sit next to your lap rather than on it.

They’re highly intelligent and love to explore so if they’re an outdoor cat, make sure you’re not near a busy road and your neighbours know the new British Shorthair on the block belongs to you.

What health problems are common with British Shorthairs?

The British Shorthair cat is generally considered a healthy breed and isn’t predisposed to too many health problems beyond those that any cat might be susceptible to.

They do have a slightly slower metabolism than most cats which means responsible owners will need to keep an eye on their weight and be liberal with the treats. If you are concerned about your Shorthair’s weight, your vet will be able to advise an any action you need to take.

Their dense, short coat is easy to look after and your cat will take care of most their grooming themselves. They might appreciate a helping hand in their moulting seasons and most cats who are used to being handled will enjoy the fuss and attention from a soft bristle brush.