The British Shorthair is the pedigreed version of the traditional British domestic cat.
It is one of the most popular cat breed in the world and undoubtedly the most popular shorthaired breed in Europe.
British Shorthair cats are described as “cobby” which means stocky, thick and short. Cobby is the perfect word for them as their structure is short with strong legs, a big round head with well-rounded eyes, a thick neck, and a tail that is broad at the base and rounded at the tip.
The British Shorthair’s coat is one of the breed’s defining features. It is very dense but does not have an undercoat; thus, the texture is plush rather than woolly or fluffy, with a firm, “crisp” pile that breaks noticeably over the cat’s body as it moves.
Although the British Blue remains the most familiar variant, British Shorthairs have been developed in many other colours and patterns. Black, blue, white, red, cream, silver, golden, and most recently cinnamon and fawn are accepted by all official standards.
The British Shorthair a long-lived cat, with a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.
The typical British Shorthair cat has an overall height of 30 to 46 cm (12 to 14 in) and body length of 56 to 64 cm (22 to 25 in). It weighs between 3 to 8 kg (7 to 17 lb).
British shorthair kittens are particularly laid back and easy to care for. They are extremely bright and quick to learn the household routine.
They tend to grow at an average rate and reach mature height at about 6 months, filling out and maturing to full size and weight at about one year old.
Originating in ancient Rome and brought to the British Isles 3000 years ago, the Brit has one of the oldest written breed standards, with exhibitions recorded as early as 1870!
In the late 1800’s, a British man named Harrison Wier is credited with becoming the first cat breeder. He is responsible for domesticating the common British street cat and through a breeding program and selective crossbreeding, created the cat we know today as the British Shorthair.
The new British Shorthair was featured at the first-ever cat show, organised by Weir and held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871, and enjoyed great initial popularity.
By the 1890s, with the advent of the newly imported Persian and other long-haired breeds, the British Shorthair had fallen out of favour, and breeding stock had become critically rare by World War I.
The breed nearly ceased to exist during the hard economic times of World War II. Post-war, however, the remaining bloodlines were crossed with other breeds including the Domestic Shorthair, Russian Blue, and Persian breeds to preserve their existence.
The breed is often reffered to as the “bulldog of cats” due to its stocky build and British history.
British Shorthairs are known for their easy-going nature and ability to get along well with a range of people and settings without anxiety.
This breed may have a low activity level but a very quick mind and has been widely used in film, television and stage acts because of its intelligence and ability to learn complex tasks.
Popularly, the British Shorthair was used as the model for the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.
Puss in Boots from the Shrek franchise is described as and closely resembles a British Shorthair, although he speaks with a strong Spanish accent.
Arlene, Garfield the cat’s girlfriend, is portrayed as a British Blue in Garfield: The Movie.
Smokey the cat in E.B. White’s children’s novel Stuart Little was a British Blue.