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British Shorthair
Mystica from British Empire Cattery

United Kingdom

Breed Standard














Cat (Felis catus)
List of Cat Breeds

The British Shorthair is a domesticated cat breed. Its features make it a popular breed in cat shows. It has been the most popular breed of cat registered by the UK's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) since 2001 when it overtook the Persian breed.

The British Shorthair is the descendant of cats brought to Britain by the Romans, which were interbred with wild native cats. Later they were crossbred with Persian cats to improve the thickness of their coat. The breed was defined in the 19th century and British Shorthairs were shown at the 1871 Crystal Palace cat show. The popularity of the breed had declined by the 11940s but since the end of the Second World War, breeding programs have intensified and the breed's popularity is high once again.

Body characteristics[]

British shorthairs have dense, plush coats that are often described as crisp or cracking, which refers to the way the coat breaks over the cat's body contours. Eyes are large, round and widely set. They can be a variety of colours, though the copper or gold eyes of the British cream are the best known. They have round heads with full, chubby cheeks and a body that is rounded and sturdy. British shorthairs are large and muscular and are described as having a cobby build. The breed has a broad chest, shoulders and hips with short legs, round paws and a plush but not fluffy tail that ends in a round or blunt tip. These are the characteristics listed in most governing bodies that breed standards to which show cats must conform. 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 male's average weight is 4.5-8 kilograms, whereas a female would weigh 3.6-7.2. As with many breeds, adult males may also develop prominent cheek jowls that distinguish them from their female counterparts. The typical lifespan of this breed is 14 to 20 years.

The British shorthair Cat is a very strong cat, with a body shape which people refer to as square, as their nearly as long as they are broad. The legs of the British shorthair are quite thick, but also very small, this is to hold up their very heavily muscled body. Due to the broad shape of the cat and also its amount of muscle this type of cat is often referred to as the bulldog of the cat world. The male version of the cat is much larger than the female, as they are a lot broader and rounder. Both of these cats however are quite imposing and this sometimes causes people to be put off. British shorthair cats have heads which are very broad and also quite large. Their cheeks are chubby, which gives them a notably chipmunk-like appearance. Their eyes also stand out a lot as they tend to be large and of a copper colour. Relatively small-sized ears with rounded tips which are set very far apart on the opposite sides of the head make the head look quite domed. Finally, they have a snub nose which is quite a form and a slightly rounded chin which helps to emphasises the powerful jaw and the round head this breed of cat has.

British shorthairs come in many colours. For many years, the more popular cream variant was enough to have a breed name of its own; the British Cream. It remains one of the most popular colours in the breed, but there are now an unlimited variety of other colour and pattern variations accepted by most feline governing bodies and associations. These include the colours black, blue, white, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn. They can be bred in self or solid, which is all the one colour as well as the colourpoint, tabby, shaded and bicolour patterns. All colours and patterns also come in the tortoiseshell pattern, which is a combination of red and cream with other colours.


British shorthairs are an easygoing breed of cat. They have a stable character and take well to being kept as indoor-only cats, making them ideal for apartment living. They are not demanding of attention, though they will let their owner know if they feel like playing. They enjoy mouse-type or wand toys. They are not hyperactive cats, preferring to sit close to their owners rather than on them. They might supervise household activities from a comfortable perch or perhaps the floor. They are sometimes termed the bulldog of cats.

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 or a cat with a similar temperament around.

They like attention and enjoy being petted. 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. They may also meow at their favourite toy as they play with it. British shorthairs tend to follow people from room to room, as they may want to be with their owner and see what is going on. 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.[1] They can learn small tricks spontaneously.


  • Black
  • Blue
  • Chinchilla
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Colourpoint
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Golden Tabby
  • Lilac
  • Red
  • Silver Tabby
  • Solid White
  • Smoke
  • Tabby (Mackerel, Classic/Blotched, Spotted, Ticked)
  • Tortoiseshell (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Fawn, Lilac)
  • White spotting

In any combination


See also[]


  1. British shorthair Cat Breed Information and Pictures. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
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