British Shorthair

Updated: September 21, 2017
British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds. Their ancestors came from Rome, who were deported by the Romans to Britain at the time. In the past they were prized for physical strength and their ability to hunt, but soon became a domestic pet.

  • Europe
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
FIFe classification
  • Category II
Physical characteristics
Average weight
  • 7-11
  • 11-13
  • 13-17
  • 17-22
  • 22-30
Life expectancy
  • 8-10
  • 10-15
  • 15-18
  • 18-20


  1. Physical appearance
  2. Temperament
  3. Health
  4. Caring for a British Shorthair
  5. Facts

Physical appearance

The British Shorthair stands out for their great head that is quite unmistakable. Their ears are rounded and widely separated and underneath we observe two big eyes of an intense color in harmony with their fur.

The body is strong and sturdy giving them a very dignifiedlook. Underneath the short, dense and soft hair we find an exquisite and noble cat. Medium in size, somewhat large, the British shorthair has a majestic and slow gait that ends in a thick tail at the root which is thin at the tip.

Although accustomed to seeing the blue British Shorthair they come in a wide range of colors:

  • Black, white, blue, red, cream, tricolor, chocolate, lilac, silver, golden, cinnamon and beige.

We also observe different patterns in their fur:

  • Tortie, bicolor, white, color point, tabby (blotched, mackerel, spotted and ticked) as well as broken and marbled.
  • Shaded fur may appear on some cats too (darker hair tips).


If you are looking for a sweet and affectionate cat, the British Shorthair is the perfect choice for you. They adore feeling loved and for that reason they can be quite dependent on their owners and follow them throughout the home. Their cheerful and spontaneous nature will without a doubt surprise us. They will often request playtime and get along beautifully with cats and dogs alike.

They like to spend time with children as they are active and playful cats who enjoy exercise. Although, it is very likely that half way through a game they will retire to rest peacefully in their plush bed. They are quiet cats.


Here are some of the most common diseases of the British Shorthair:

  • Polyquitosis renal: An anomaly present in races that derive from the Persian cat. It is a genetic mutation.
  • Feline Coronavirus
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Feline distemper

Prevent your cat from becoming a victim of these diseases by always keeping up with your veterinarian's vaccination schedule. Remember that even if your cat does not go out on the street viruses and bacteria can get to them quite easily.

Caring for a British Shorthair

Although they require some very basic care, the truth is that unlike other races, they will appreciate all the attention you can devote to them. Follow these tips to have a happy British shorthair:

  • Provide a comfortable and spacious bed for sleeping.
  • Good quality food and drink is recommended as it has a direct impact on their happiness, their shiny fur and their general health.
  • We recall that removing nails ( declawing ) is prohibited. To care for their nails it is important to cut them from time to time or leave this task to the pet groomer or vet.
  • Scratching posts, toys and regular brushing are elements that should not be missing in the life of any cat.


  • In 1871 the British Shorthair competed for the first time in The Crystal Palace where it broke records of popularity, surpassing the Persian cat.
  • During World War I and II, the British Cat almost became extinct. For this reason, they began to breed them with the Persian cat. This gave way to a more robust British Shorthair, with more rounded forms, intense eye color and so on.

British Shorthair photos

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Photo uploaded by Iris Toland:I think my female cat is a British Short hair. Here is a picture of her
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British Shorthair