The British Shorthair is native to England. with the rise of cat shows during the Victorian er. At the earliest cat shows, British Shorthairs were the only pedigreed cats exhibited. All others were simply described by coat type or color.
Two world wars devastated the breed, and few British Shorthairs remained after World War II. With the help of other breeds, the Shorthairs, as they are called in Britain, were revitalized.
The American Cat Association recognized the British Shorthair in 1967, but the Cat Fanciers Association did not accept it until 1980. Now, all cat associations recognize the breed.
About The Breed
These cats have dense, plush coats that are often described as crisp or cracking, referring to the way the coat breaks over the contours of the cat’s body. Their eyes are large, round and widely set and can be a variety of colours, though the copperor gold eyes of the British Blue are the best known. Their heads are round with full, chubby cheeks and their bodies are large and muscular. The breed has a broad chest and shoulders, short legs, round paws and a plush tail with a blunt tip.
The males of this breed are larger than the females, and the size difference between them is more easily noticed compared to other breeds. The males of British shorthair cats/kittens have average weight is 5-10 kilograms, whereas a female weighs up to 5–7 kilograms. As with many breeds,the adult males may also develop prominent cheek jowls that distinguish them from their female counterparts. The typical life span of this breed is 14 to 20 years.
They do not require a lot of grooming as their fur does not tangle or mat easily. However, it is recommended that the coat be brushed occasionally, especially during seasonal shedding, since they may develop hairball’s at this time. British Shorthairscan be prone to obesity when de-sexed or kept indoors, so care should be taken with their diet.
The British come in many colours and patterns. For many years, the more popular blue variety was common enough to have a breed name of its own: the ‘British Blue’. It remains one of the most popular colours, though there is now a large variety of other colour and pattern variants accepted by most feline governing bodies and associations. These include the colours black, blue, white, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn. The British Shorthair is a large cat and will require approximately 70 Kcals per kg bodyweight per day of food. However, many British Shorthairs are prone to obesity, particularly neuters, and some restriction on their diet may be necessary.
British Shorthairs are wonderful cats for people who work, as they are very happy to simply laze around the house while their owner is out. They do not get destructive or need other animals for company, though they do enjoy having another British Shorthair cat with similar temperament around. They are not a very vocal breed but will meow to communicate with their owners, for example when they are hungry and their food is being prepared. Some do not mind being cuddled, but most prefer to keep four paws on the ground and be patted rather than picked up.
The breed has become a favourite of animal trainers because of its nature and intelligence, and in recent years these cats have appeared in Hollywood films and television commercials. They can learn small tricks.
GCCF Standard of Points for the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair cat is compact, well balanced and powerful, showing good depth of body, a full broad chest, short legs, rounded paws, tail thick at base with rounded tip. The head is round with a good width between small ears, round cheeks, firm chin, large round and well opened eyes and a short broad nose. The coat is short and dense. A muscular cat with an alert appearance and in perfect physical condition.
Head – Round face with full cheeks and good breath of skull with round underlying bone structure. The head should be set on a short thick neck.
Nose – The nose itself should be short, broad and straight. In profile, a rounded forehead should lead to a short straight nose with a nose break that is neither too pronounced nor too shallow.
Chin – A strong, firm and deep chin is essential. Any deviation from this to be considered a fault. The bite MUST be level, the tip of the chin to line up with the tip of the nose in the same vertical plane.
Ears – Small, rounded at the tips. Set far apart, fitting into (without distorting) the rounded contour of the head. External ear to be well covered with fur, internal furnishings not to be excessive.
Eyes – Large, round and well-opened. Set wide apart with no tendency to Oriental shape. No squint.
Body – Cobby type with short level back. Low on legs with broad deep chest. Equally massive across the shoulders and the rump. Medium to large, but not rangy.
Legs & Paws – Short strong legs. Paws round and firm. Toes carried close, five on each forefoot (including dew-claw) and four on each back foot.
Tail – Should be thick and of medium length, thicker at the base with rounded tip.
Coat – Must be short, dense and crisp. A soft and / or overlong and fluffy coat is incorrect.