The British Shorthair cat has a short, dense coat and is compact, well-balanced, and powerful. They frequently convey an overall sense of balance and proportion, with no feature being exaggerated.
If you want a cat that will raid your refrigerator and swing dizzily from your chandeliers, the British Shorthair is not the cat for you. Some say the British Shorthair is the ideal house companion if you prefer a breed that isn’t always underfoot or in your face. Uk Shorthairs prefer to keep a low profile; they are affectionate but not clingy, playful but not excessively so. They are quiet, even-tempered, and undemanding, with a touch of typical British reticence when first introduced.
They become extremely loyal companions once they overcome their initial reserve. British Shorthairs require love and attention to develop into the loyal, loving companions they can be; the more attention and affection you give them, the more they will return in kind. British Shorthairs are confident and devoted once they know and trust you, and they enjoy following you from room to room to keep an eye on your activities. They’re calm, quiet companions who value quality time without demanding your undivided attention.
British Shorthairs make excellent apartment cats because they are alert and playful without being hyper or destructive. They are more independent than many other breeds and usually adapt well to most situations. British Shorthairs are not vocal cats; instead, they make tiny squeaking sounds rather than meows, which is quite amusing coming from those burly bodies. They compensate by having some of the loudest purring you’ve ever heard; British Shorthairs are well-known for their motorboat-style purrs.
Brits, on the other hand, are not lap cats. They’d rather sit next to you or curl up at your feet than snuggle on your lap. British Shorthairs dislike being picked up and will push you away with their legs stiffly stretched out. They, too, dislike being kissed, but head presses are acceptable, and they accept petting with gusto and mighty purrs of appreciation. They get along with other pets in the house, including dogs, if proper introductions are made. British Shorthairs are excellent with children, and children adore these plush, smiling companions.
The British Shorthair is native to the United Kingdom in the same way that the American Shorthair is native to America—it was brought there long ago from somewhere else. The progenitor of the Brit, as it’s affectionately known, is likely Great Britain’s oldest natural breed of cat, and roamed THE UK for centuries before its cousin ventured to the New World.
In many ways, the struggle for recognition of the British Shorthair resembles that of the American Shorthair in North America. Both began as working cats and were not recognized as the unique breeds that they are for many years. The British Shorthair descended from the European Shorthair, a common street cat. This breed, which looks nothing like the Brits you see today, arrived in Great Britain around 2,000 years ago, courtesy of the Roman Empire. The Romans brought cats with them as they conquered and colonized other lands to protect their homes from rodents.
These cats had been obtained from the Egyptians, who were extremely protective of their prized felines. However, Phoenician caravans eventually transported them along trade routes, and Roman armies smuggled them out of Egypt and transported them to many lands. Although the Phoenicians were the first to introduce cats to England, when Rome invaded the British Isles, the Romans were most likely responsible for their widespread establishment. The Romans were eventually driven from the Isles, but the cats they had brought with them remained.
The cats that were left behind did not resemble today’s British Shorthair. These cats were sandy brown or yellow-gray in color, with ticked coats like an Abyssinian and tabby markings on their face, legs, and tail. They were most likely descendants of the African wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica, which was the progenitor of all domestic cats. They mixed with the European wildcat, Felis silvestris, a local wildcat subspecies that inhabits most of Europe, after arriving. Because the European wildcat has a broad head, small wide-set ears, a sturdy, muscular body, and short, thick fur, this resulted in a change in coat and body style.
Some European wildcats have the mackerel tabby pattern; this common tabby pattern seen in many breeds and mixed-bred cats today may have evolved from the European wildcat. Because of the colder and wetter conditions, European cats developed stocky, toned body styles and thicker, water-repellent coats that were climate-friendly.
For hundreds of years, these cats made a living by guarding against rodents in Great Britain’s barns, granaries, alleys, gardens, and homes. The British Shorthair evolved from these working cats into a stalwart, substantial breed. Residents began to appreciate these tough alley cats in the 1800s for their beauty, strength, personality, and value as companions.
Harrison Weir, a cat enthusiast, had a soft spot for blue British Shorthairs, which were initially referred to as “Shorthairs.” Mr. Weir was instrumental in establishing the UK Shorthair as a distinct breed. Longhaired exotics caught people’s attention shortly after, just before the turn of the century, and British Shorthairs declined in popularity. Nonetheless, British Shorthairs held their own until World War II decimated the breed, as did most other European breeds. Following the war, efforts were made to preserve the British Shorthair breed. It took many generations to restore the breed’s former glory, but they eventually succeeded.
Until the 1960s, Americans paid little attention to the British Shorthair. The breed was only recognized for championship in one color—solid blue—and under the now-outdated name “British Blue” in 1970. Blue was and still is the most popular color both here and in the United Kingdom. The breed gradually gained supporters, and between 1970 and 1980, British Shorthairs were officially recognized in all of the breed’s many colors. The British Shorthair has a devoted following today. The breed is popular in the United Kingdom as well.
Medium to large, tight-knit, and potent. A broad chest and a level back.
Massive and round. A round face with a round underlying bone structure that is well set on a short thick neck. The forehead is frequently rounded, with a slight flat plane on top of the head. The nose is medium and broad. There will be a gentle dip in profile. The chin is firm and well-developed in relation to the nose and upper lip. Muzzles can be distinct, well-developed, and have a distinct stop beyond large, round whisker pads.
The shape is medium in size, broad at the base, and rounded at the tips. Set apart and fitting into the rounded contour of the head.
Large, round, and open. Set far apart and on a level surface. The color of the eyes is determined by the color of the coat.
British Shorthairs are more likely to be loyal to their entire family than to a single person.
PAWS & LEGS
Legs that are short to medium in length, well-boned, and powerful. In proportion to the size of the body. Straight forelegs. Round and firm paws Five toes in front.
Medium length, thicker at the base, tapering to a rounded tip.
Short, dense, bodied, and firm to the touch. It is not double-coated or woolly.
Any other color or pattern that does not show evidence of hybridization, such as chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white.
While the characteristics listed here are common for this breed, cats are individuals with unique personalities and appearances. For more information on a specific pet, please contact the adoption organization.
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