British Shorthair: Breed characteristics

The British is a strong, big and round cat. A teddy bear with a calm but playful character, affectionate and not at all independent, in other words, a perfect feline companion. All this and much more is what has made this breed one of the most appreciated all over the world.

Origin of the British Shorthair

It is said that the British arose from the crossbreeding of cats transported by the Roman legions to ancient Britain with the cats native to the area. To protect themselves from the British climate of rain and humidity, they developed a characteristic double coat, very thick and short, which makes them unmistakable.

The first recognition of the breed came at an exhibition held by the artist Harrison Heir in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London. As a consequence of World War II, the British population was decimated. To recover it, breeders were forced to make crosses with other breeds, such as Persians. Thanks to genetics, these crosses brought to the British new physical characteristics, colors, bone structure and also long-haired specimens emerged. This “new breed” was called British Longhair, and is currently recognized by some cat associations such as TICA and WCF, but not by others such as FIFE.

The standard British Shorthair

The current standard of the British is defined as a compact and balanced cat, with a strong body and broad chest, short, thick and rounded legs and tail. His ears are small, rounded at the tip and set wide apart. Prominent cheeks and firm chin. Eyes round, large and wide open, with a wide and short nose. His coat is short and very dense, “crispy” to the touch and with a good undercoat.

Colors and patterns in the coat of the British Shorthair

The range of colors is very wide, from black, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lilac,
tortoises to the last recognized, the cinnamon and fawn. If we add white to these, we will have bicolors and tricolors, or even full whites. It should be noted that tortoises (a color mixed with cream or red) and tricolors can only be females. In addition, the color patterns we can find in the British are 
tabby, spotted and colorpoint.

These patterns are still little known in Spain, but in recent years, thanks to the work of some breeders, good specimens are beginning to be seen. The most representative color of the British is blue, but it must be confused with other breeds whose specimens can only be of this color, such as the Chartreuse or the Russian Blue. The color of the eyes goes according to the coat and pattern, being the usual copper orange color, but we can also have blue and green eyes in the British silver tabby and golden shaded.

The character of the British Shorthair

One of the reasons why so many people choose this breed is its character. It is a quiet cat, playful even in adult ages and very affectionate. It is not an independent cat, it is happy to be in the company of its owners, welcoming them when they arrive home and always looking for contact or closeness. He gets along well with children and other animals as he is not aggressive or territorial compared to other breeds. For all these reasons he is considered the perfect companion to live with in our home.

Common diseases in British Shorthairs

The British, in general, is a strong cat that enjoys good health. Even so, when acquiring a cat of this breed, it should be taken into account that, due to crossbreeding with other breeds, there is a certain incidence of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Being a genetic disease, if the parents of our kitten have been tested with negative results, we should not worry.

Basic care of the British Shorthair

The care of the British is very simple, similar to that of any other short-haired breed. To maintain its coat, it is enough to brush it from time to time to remove excess hair, more frequently during the moulting season. If our cat does not go out of the house, it is not necessary to bathe it often, but when we do it, we will have to use specific products for cats. It is convenient to check and clean the eyes and ears of our cat when we observe excess of tears or eye lint, or earwax in the ears. It is enough with a gauze or similar (avoid cotton for the eyes) and some product indicated for it.

We hope this little guide has served to convince you to include a British Shorthair in your life.

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