Cats & Kittens'
British Shorthair
Breed Info
British Shorthair
Breed Info

A quarter of all kittens registered with the GCCF each year are British
Shorthairs, making the British the most popular pedigree cat  in the UK. The
British is a patient, relaxed soulmate, forming strong bonds with human
companions of all ages and being tolerant of other pets such as dogs and rabbits.  
Whilst not overly talkative, your British will take a great interest in the family
routines and will make sure that he is always on hand to ensure things are done
properly and on time!  British kittens have an adorable teddy-bear quality
which combines with a comical and affectionate personality.  Slow to mature, the
calm and easygoing British deserves his  place as number one in the hearts of
the British family.


The Romans introduced large numbers of cats to the United Kingdom as
working cats to help reduce the rodent population.  These cats interbred with
the native wild cats of Great Britain to produce the native domestic shorthaired
cat.  The accepted date of origin of the British Shorthair as we know it today is
1870.   Despite being popular at the Crystal Palace cat show of 1871, by the end
of World War II, along with many other British cat breeds, the British Shorthair
numbers were devastated.   A number of careful breeders worked to recreate
and restore numbers using a combination of British Shorthairs, Persians,
Russian Blues, Burmese and other pedigree and non-pedigree shorthair
varieties. It was a British Shorthair - a blue male named Brynbuboo Little
Monarch - that was the first adult of any breed to gain the GCCF title Grand
Champion.  Virtually every British Shorthair today can track its ancestry back to
this cat due to his use at stud and to the selling of his progeny.

Appearance and Colours

At first sight the British cat should be a gently rounded and well balanced cat.  
An essential feature is the expression which should be sweet and sincere and
enhanced by large round eyes.  With a full broad chest, short strong legs,
rounded paws and a tail that is thick at the base and rounded at the tip, the
British should look both compact and powerful.  The British coat is a defining
feature of the breed with more fur per square inch than any other breed.  Only
the British has the short, plush coat that is often described as crisp or cracking,
referring to the way the coat breaks over the contours of the cat. Males should
be significantly larger than the females and mature males tend to develop
prominent jowls.  Be patient - this breed takes up to five years to attain full
physical maturity. The British can be found in all of the major colour and pattern
groups.  The British Blue is the ‘flagship’ of the breed, with almost half the breed
registrations being the ‘self’ colours. The colours and patterns can be classified
as follows:
British Self  - These varieties are all one colour e.g. white, black, blue, lilac,
chocolate, red, cream, fawn and cinnamon - all with orange eyes although you
will also see the British White with blue, orange or odd eyes.
British Colourpointed  and  Colourpointed & White  - These varieties have  the
coat pattern and blue eye colour of the Siamese.
British Tipped  - These varieties have coats which are coloured at the tips and
the eyes are usually green; you will most commonly see Black (silver) Tipped
and Golden (non-silver) Tipped.  You could say these are the shorthaired
version of the Chinchilla and Golden Persian.
British Tortoiseshell, Tortoiseshell & White and Bi-Colour  - These varieties
have mixed colours with or without any white and cover both the dilute and
dominant colour spectrums.
British Tabby  - These varieties have tabby patterns in various colours
(including silver) and can be found in the four tabby patterns of classic, spotted,
mackerel and ticked.


The British personality is just like their appearance - strong, stable and, perhaps
when mature, prone to laziness!  Not a talkative breed, the British form strong
bonds with their ‘people’ and are patient and tolerant companions. Although
they are unlikely to roam far from home, the British should be supervised
outside because their nature may be trusting, leaving your pet vulnerable to
mishap.  The British is suitable as an indoor only companion but this intelligent
animal will need suitable stimulus and care must be taken to ensure that any
tendency to weight gain is managed. The British is a four-square cat that prefers
to have all four paws on the ground so may not wish to be carried about as an
adult - but you will find that they are very happy to lounge on your laptop as
you work! This is a wonderfully adaptable, confident cat that makes a superb
family companion.  


The British is a fairly easy cat to manage.   As they are slow to mature, the
British kitten should be fed kitten foods for at least the first year of age whilst
bone is being laid down.  Unless you are showing your British, the coat will not
need regular shampooing but will require grooming during the moulting seasons
to remove loose hairs from the dense coat.  As the cat ages and becomes less
able to groom itself, it may be that the coat will need attention to prevent mats
from forming.  Unlike the domestic shorthair breeds, the British is a noticeably
sexually dimorphic breed.  Males weighing in at  9 to 17 lbs (4.1 to 7.7 kg) and
females 7 to 12 lbs (3.2 to 5.4 kg).


The British cat has a slow metabolism; whilst a healthy mature British will have
a well-padded muscular body, we must be careful not to let this padding turn
from muscle to excess fat. The British Shorthair is considered to be a long-lived
cat, with a life expectancy of 14 to 20 years.
PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), once a problem within the breed, is now under
control thanks to the common use of available DNA tests by responsible
breeders. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) can be a problem in the breed.  
There are no DNA tests yet available for HCM in the British breed.  However,
responsible breeders will take measures to ensure that any affected animals are
not used in ongoing breeding programmes.   Annual vet check swill help in
spotting any issues in cats.

Why not become a member of the British Shorthair Cat Club
Home of the most popular pedigree cat...

​The British Shorthair Cat Club caters for the largest GCCF registered pedigree
cat the wonderful British Shorthair.
Welcome to the British Shorthair Breed.