For many years, the British Shorthair has been named as the country’s most popular breed according to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), and with his affectionate nature and teddy-bear good looks, it’s not hard to see why. As far as personality goes, the British Shorthair is one cool cat. They are one of the most placid breeds around and love nothing more than lazing around the house.
Pam Beard-Smith, breeder and chairman of the British Shorthair Cat Club, says: “They are the most laid-back cats; nothing fazes them and they do make really good pets. Generally they are good with toddlers and children, and I don’t have a problem selling them to families with young children because of their good natures.”
They are also very affectionate and loving, and will often curl up with you for a cuddle (on their terms of course) and become very attached to their owners. Sharon Chance of the Best of British Shorthair Cat Club says: “I always say that Shorthairs are ‘with you’ cats as opposed to ‘on you’ – if you sit down they will come to sit with you and follow you from room to room; they’re very dog-like.
“They’re intelligent cats as well, they can play catching games and my British Shorthair Olleke even sits on the vacuum while we’re cleaning! They have the most amazing temperament – you won’t see a grumpy Shorthair.”
British Shorthairs are perfectly happy to live as indoor cats, but Pam says they can enjoy going outside as well if they have the option: “They love to play, especially as kittens, and are very outgoing cats.”
One of the best things about this lovable, cuddly cat is that there are so many colour varieties to choose from, including cream, black, chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, blue (the best known colour), fawn, red, silver and many more. Breeders are also coming up with a huge variety of new colour-points, selfs/solids, tipped, ticked, tortie or tabby varieties. A breeder for over 20 years at Charmoden British Shorthairs, Sharon is one such breeder and around 15 years ago, started to look abroad at the colours being shown there. She says: “I was impressed with the new colours the breed came in, and decided to try and produce some of these other colours myself. “I imported my first two cats from Holland, two ticked-based selfs, followed by three from Russia in order to give me the cinnamon gene. The cinnamon cats really impress me, it is so different. Some people say it is a pale chocolate, but for me it is just an outstanding colour.”
British Shorthair cat history
The British Shorthair is one of Britain’s first pedigree cats – at least a hundred years old – and one of the most popular breeds in the UK.
These cats are said to link back to Britain’s ancient street cats, whose ancestors arrived with the Romans between the first and fourth century, and these then bred with wild native cats. Later, they were bred with Persian cats to improve the coat thickness. The breed standard was drawn up in 1871 and the development of a shorthair pedigree cat began. The breed has changed very little over the years and its popularity continues to grow.
British Shorthair cat breed look
British Shorthair cats have a chunky shape – cobby and well-muscled with a broad chest, strong shoulders and a straight back. They have short, strong legs and a tail that is rounded at the tip. The head is large and round on a short, thick neck, while the ears are small with rounded tips which are set well apart. Eyes are large, round and also well apart; their colour should be deep and pure – blue, copper, orange or green, depending on the coat colour.
British Shorthair cat breed characteristics and personality
It’s easy to see why the British Shorthair comes out as top cat year after year. If you don’t fall for his cuddly teddy-bear looks, his placid, extremely affectionate and home-loving nature is sure to do it! Give a British Shorthair cat a home and you’ll get a calm cat who enjoys human company. Laid-back, easygoing and adaptable, that’s the British Shorthair cat!