About the Breed
Harrison Weir: Father of all cat shows, was a great admirer of these cats. “The ordinary garden cat,” he wrote, “has survived every kind of hardship that exists at all, it is a tribute to its strength of character and endurance.”
Mr. Weir’s devotion to the shorthaired British cats was shared by Mr. Jung, who was to become one of the first cat show judges. He believed if these beautiful cats were thoughtfully bred, a race of cats with aristocratic pedigrees and the same inherent goodness and quality would be developed. The breed produced was named the British Shorthair and was the only cat to be shown as Pedigreed at the first cat shows. All others were simply shown as Longhair or Shorthair, divided by their various colors.
This sturdy teddy bear has a smile and a plush coat combined with a wonderful disposition that makes them great family pets. It traces its ancestry back to the cats of Rome and is one of the oldest breeds of cats. The British Shorthair is also one of the largest breeds of cats. It is chunky and substantial, the male is much larger than the female. The face is round with full cheeks and the nose is short and broad. The chin is deep and strong. The ears are small and rounded and set so as to blend with the round contour of the head. The eyes are large and round. The head is set on a short thick neck. The body is cobby with a short level back. The chest is deep and the shoulders are strong. The legs are short and strong with round paws. The tail is thick and of medium length.
They are an immensely popular show cat and with the huge combination of coat color and pattern available it is one of the biggest breed sections at major cat shows. They are relatively easy to prepare for shows because of their short coat and their easy temperament means that most cats enjoy a trip to a show. The competition is always tough and the standard is high. Prizes are withheld for long or fluffy coats, unlevel bite, incorrect coat color or pattern, incorrect eye color, white patches on anything other than a white cat as well other faults as stated in the breed standard.
British Shorthairs usually have between three and five kittens in a litter, Generally, the queens make good mothers, being placid by nature, they are very content with their brood.
They can be bred in ‘self’ or ‘solid’, which are all one color, as well as the color pointed, tabby, shaded, and bi-color patterns. All colors and patterns also come in the tortoiseshell pattern, which is a combination of red and cream with other colors.
Cats being cats, there are occasionally some cats who do not like the shows or do not take to breeding, this is no reflection on the breeder, it is part of the cats’ charm that they are individuals and we as cat lovers have to accept this.
About The Breed
These cats have dense, plush coats that are often described as crisp or cracking, referring to the way the coat breaks over the contours of the cat’s body. Their eyes are large, round, and widely set and can be a variety of colors, though the copper or gold eyes of the British Blue are the best known. Their heads are round with full, chubby cheeks and their bodies are large and muscular. The breed has a broad chest and shoulders, short legs, round paws, and a plush tail with a blunt tip.
The males of this breed are larger than the females, and the size difference between them is more easily noticed compared to other breeds. The males’ average weight is 5-10 kilograms, whereas a female weighs up to 5–7 kilograms. As with many breeds, the adult males may also develop prominent cheek jowls that distinguish them from their female counterparts. The typical life span of this breed is 14 to 20 years.
They do not require a lot of grooming as their fur does not tangle or mat easily. However, it is recommended that the coat be brushed occasionally, especially during seasonal shedding, since they may develop hairballs at this time. British Shorthairs can be prone to obesity when de-sexed or kept indoors, so care should be taken with their diet.
The British come in many colors and patterns. For many years, the more popular blue variety was common enough to have a breed name of its own: the ‘British Blue’. It remains one of the most popular colors, though there is now a large variety of other color and pattern variants accepted by most feline governing bodies and associations. These include the colors black, blue, white, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, and fawn. The British Shorthair is a large cat and will require approximately 70 Kcals per kg body weight per day of food. However, many British Shorthairs are prone to obesity, particularly neuters, and some restrictions on their diet may be necessary.
British Shorthairs are wonderful cats for people who work, as they are very happy to simply laze around the house while their owner is out. They do not get destructive or need other animals for company, though they do enjoy having another British Shorthair cat with a similar temperament around. They are not a very vocal breed but will meow to communicate with their owners, for example when they are hungry and their food is being prepared. Some do not mind being cuddled, but most prefer to keep four paws on the ground and be patted rather than picked up.
The breed has become a favorite of animal trainers because of its nature and intelligence, and in recent years these cats have appeared in Hollywood films and television commercials. They can learn small tricks.
GCCF Standard of Points for the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair cat is compact, well balanced, and powerful, showing good depth of body, a full broad chest, short legs, rounded paws, tail thick at the base with a rounded tip. The head is round with good width between small ears, round cheeks, firm chin, large round and well-opened eyes, and a short broad nose. The coat is short and dense. A muscular cat with an alert appearance and in perfect physical condition.
Head – Round face with full cheeks and good breadth of the skull with round underlying bone structure. The head should be set on a short thick neck.
Nose – The nose itself should be short, broad, and straight. In profile, a rounded forehead should lead to a short straight nose with a nose break that is neither too pronounced nor too shallow.
Chin – A strong, firm, and deep chin is essential. Any deviation from this to be considered a fault. The bite MUST be level, the tip of the chin to line up with the tip of the nose in the same vertical plane.
Ears – Small, rounded at the tips. Set far apart, fitting into (without distorting) the rounded contour of the head. External ear to be well covered with fur, internal furnishings not to be excessive.
Eyes – Large, round, and well-opened. Set wide apart with no tendency to Oriental shape. No squint.
Body – Cobby type with a short level back. Low on legs with a broad deep chest. Equally massive across the shoulders and the rump. Medium to large, but not rangy.
Legs & Paws – Short strong legs. Paws round and firm. Toes carried close, five on each forefoot (including dew-claw) and four on each back foot.
Tail – Should be thick and of medium length, thicker at the base with a rounded tip.
Coat – Must be short, dense, and crisp. A soft and/or overlong and fluffy coat is incorrect.
The British Shorthair Breed Advisory Committee (BSGC)
The BSH Cat Club has 2 club representatives who attend regular meetings to discuss and agree on all things British, Breeding Policies, Registration Policies, and also monitor Probationer Judges and GCCF Stewards on their journey through the BAC.
For the BAC website please follow this link
The BSH Breeding Policy is now available online – Breeding Policy
The current Registration Policy is also available online – Registration Policy
The BSH BAC is working with Langfords and the RVC on the research of HCM within British Shorthair’s
The BSGC is helping to support this project – we have a very real opportunity to help the RVC find the genes that cause this devastating disease in our beautiful breed. Please do not hesitate to use this page to ask any questions or email the RVC directly. Please note that the RVC will respect confidentiality at all times.