British Shorthair Cat

The British Shorthair Cat is one of the most ancient cat breeds today. These cats like to be close to their owners without being vocal, demanding, and clingy. The low energy breed is perfect for people with calmer lifestyles, younger children, and other pets.
British Shorthair Cat

British Shorthair Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)

Size: Large. Chubby body.

Intelligence: Medium.

Exercise Needs: Needs a lot of exercise.

Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.

Shedding: Moderate shedding.

Average Lifespan: From 14-20 years.

Price: From $1500 to $2000.

Weight: From 7-17 lbs.

Playfulness: Lone ranger.

Social Skills: Great with children & other pets.

Need for Grooming: Twice a week.

Health: Very good. Minor health issues.

Hypoallergenic?: No.

The British Shorthair Cat is one of the oldest known breeds. The easy-going and mellow British Shorthair is perfect for people of all ages and will adjust right into your home. This is a laid-back breed that doesn’t demand a lot of attention, but they like to follow their owners around.

Due to upturned mouth, round whisker pads and cheeks, the British Shorthair looks like a smiling teddy bear.

The large well-boned chunky body, dense coat, and broad face are the distinctive traits this breed is known for. This breed comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most famous variation being the ‘British Blue’ with a distinctive solid blue-gray coat and copper eyes.

Female British Shorthairs are more subdued and make great pets for people who like peace and quiet. Males are easier going and are excellent for active families.

Where Did British Shorthair Cat Breed Originate?

The British Shorthair Cat is regarded as one of the most ancient cat breeds in existence. It is presumed that these cats have been around since the first century AD. It is believed that Roman invaders brought Egyptian domestic cats with them to Great Britain.

Later these cats bred with the local wildcat population. Thus, creating a distinctively large breed with a robust body and thick coat that’s able to sustain harsh conditions. Sturdy build and excellent predatory skills were put to good use.

People started using them to protect their food stores from rodents.

Their easy going and likable nature ensured that these cats found their way in people’s homes as well.

Until the end of the 19th century, there were no attempts to standardize the breed. Some sources say that Harrison Weir was the first who attempted to improve the breed through carefully selected pairings.

His efforts were successful, and the British Shorthair Cat was featured at the first ever cat show at Crystal Palace in 1871.

At this point, the breed gained huge popularity. However, by 1890 the newly imported long-haired breeds stole the spotlight from the British Shorthair. During World War I the British Shorthair breed was almost extinct.

To regain the numbers, breeders started to mix Persian cats into British Shorthair’s bloodlines. The new genes introduced were the foundation for the British Longhair Cat.

To preserve the standard after the war, the Governing Council of the cat Fancy decided to accept only third generation of Persian/ British Shorthair crosses. This decision placed the breed on the verge of extinction once again by World War II. This time, breeders include Persian, Russian Blue, and Chartreux into the mix.

After the war, breeders worked to reintroduce the real British type. It was not until 1970s that the British Shorthair Cat gained formal recognition. The American Cat Association recognized the breed in 1967. However, the Cats Fanciers Association waited until 1980.

Today, the British Shorthair is recognized by all cat registries.

What Does the British Shorthair Cat Look Like?

This breed is best described as being hefty. The broad chest, strong thick legs, rounded paws, and a medium-long thick tail give the breed a robust feel. The head is a study of roundness, with a short muzzle, broad cheeks, large round eyes, and broadly set wide ears.

British Shorthair comes in a wide range of colors and patterns which only increase the breed’s overall appeal.

According to size standards, the robust body of the British Shorthair should be medium-large in size. While this breed may appear chubby, it shouldn’t look obese. The well-boned body should look and feel powerful and strong.

British Shorthair Cat Colors

The ‘British Blue‘ remains the most famous color variation of this breed. These cats have a solid blue-gray coat and distinctive copper eyes.

However, this breed can be found in almost any imaginable color and pattern. The most common colors include Black, Blue, White, Red, Silver, Cream, Golden, Cinnamon and Fawn.

The coat patterns can range from solid, color point, tabby, shaded, bi-color and tortoiseshell.

British Shorthair Cat Personality Traits

The British Shorthair is a laid-back cat with a calm and mellow personality. They like to follow their owners around the house and be close by. Still, they aren’t demanding and are content to observe instead of getting involved in your activities.

British Shorthairs don’t like being picked up or carried around. So, this breed isn’t the best choice if you want a lap cat. However, they will gladly sit by their owner on the sofa.

The undemanding British Shorthair values its privacy and won’t mind being alone for longer periods of time. And since this is a low energy breed, you don’t have to worry about any destructive behavior.

However, due to their clumsy nature, they tend to get into minor accidents that can cause some damage.

This is a smart cat that likes playing with toys which help stimulate its brain. Most British Shorthairs remain playful and energetic until they reach one year of age.

After that, they acquire a taste for a sedentary lifestyle and spend most of their time napping. Hence, it is a good idea to buy scratching posts and cat trees that will encourage your cat to be more active.


Due to their gentle and easy-going temperaments, British Shorthairs are a pleasure to have around. They are loyal to their owners and will match any amount of affection you provide.

The well-mannered British Shorthair isn’t ‘in your face’ type of cat and won’t pester you for attention. This breed is also a bit reserved when meeting new people. But after a couple of visits, they welcome all guests confidently.

Female British Shorthairs have somewhat reserved temperaments and tend to be self-sufficient. Males, on the other hand, are more easy-going and have a happy go lucky approach to life.

British Shorthair Cat Behavior

The self-contained British Shorthair has all four feet firmly on the ground and rarely develops any behavioral issues.

This breed doesn’t need much.

Just regular meals, a bit of affection and a cozy place to sleep is sufficient.

Urinating outside the litter box is a common behavioral issue for all cats, and it can sometimes happen with British Shorthairs. In this case, check the litter box, and clean it if necessary.

And if the issue continues, it might be that your cat has a urinary infection and needs to see a vet.

Are British Shorthair Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?

Thanks to its history, the British Shorthair Cat is a highly adaptable breed. They react well both to lifestyle changes and new environments. Their mild and calm nature helps them accept other animals and children.

When it becomes adult, the British Shorthair becomes an absolute couch potato. You will have to interact with your cat daily to keep her active. Teach your cat to play fetch and make her run after foam balls to get her burning calories.

Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?

The gentle and docile nature of the British Shorthair Cat ensures that this breed gets along well with children.

Unlike other cats, this breed doesn’t avoid toddlers. Since they are less energetic, they are perfect companions for this low energy cat.

However, the British Shorthair likes the company and attention of older kids too. If they don’t try to pick and carry the cat, it will be a happy camper, otherwise, the Shorthair won’t be pleased.

They also get along with dogs and other cats if they are introduced properly.

This is a sedentary breed, that enjoys sleeping more than anything else. So, you should get your cat moving with toys.

Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with your cat to meet her social needs and keep her active. This way you will prevent obesity and provide a happy life for your feline.

General Health and Potential Risks

The British Shorthair Cat is known for its robust health and long lifespan. However, like most cat breeds, they are prone to some health issues.

The following conditions are seen in this breed. But that doesn’t mean they will affect your cat specifically.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a heart condition that affects all cat breeds. It causes a thickening in the heart and affects its ability to pump blood. A DNA test for this condition is available. So, check if your cat has been tested before you bring her home.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease: It’s a hereditary condition that causes the forming of multiple cysts in the kidneys. These cysts are present at birth but grow with time and can cause kidney failure. There isn’t a specific therapy for this condition.
  • Obesity: The low energy British Shorthair can put on the pounds quite easily. Any additional weight can put the cat at risk of other health problems. Feed your cat with diet cat food. Additionally, include extra activities to help your cat burn fat more easily.

British Shorthair Cat Lifespan

On average the British Shorthair Cat can live from 14-20 years. However, the above-mentioned health problems can affect this breed’s life expectancy.

Therefore, we recommend getting your cat from a reputable breeder and having her tested. With proper care and regular vet check-ups, your cat will thrive for many years.

Grooming Needs

The thick and dense coat is one of the defining features of this breed. The fact that the coat doesn’t have an undercoat makes it easy to maintain.

To keep the coat in excellent condition, brush your cat two times a week with a grooming brush. This way you will take care of any loose hair and give your cat a massage too.

British Shorthair Cat Shedding

Compared to the cats of similar size and coat, the British Shorthair is a low shedding breed. While loose hair won’t be an issue whole year round, this breed does shed during spring and fall.

So, brush your cat more often during this period to prevent cat hair from accumulating in your house.

In this section, we answer the commonly asked questions about the British Shorthair. Read on to find the answers you are looking for!

How Much is British Shorthair Cat Price?

The exact price of British Shorthair depends on the breeder and several other factors. Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $1500 to $2000 for a healthy kitten.

And if you are set on a particular coat or eye color, and competition-quality be prepared to pay a bit more.

How Big Do British Shorthair Cats Get?

Full grown British Shorthair cats should be medium to large in size, but there is a significant weight difference between male and female cats.

Males usually weigh from 9-17 pounds. Females are quite smaller and weigh just 7-12 pounds. This is a slow maturing breed that will reach its full size at approximately three years of age.

Because of the chunky and powerful body, it is hard to notice if your cat is overweight. So, use only high-quality cat food. To avoid obesity, feed your cat according to her age and activity level.

Are British Shorthair Cats Friendly?

British Shorthairs are typically amicable towards people, dogs, and other cats, but this doesn’t happen overnight. Remember that this breed likes to keep its distance and can seem reserved and standoffish.

But after the initial period, their amiable personality starts to shine through.

Do British Shorthair Cats Make Good Pets?

British Shorthairs are some of the easiest cats to live with thanks to their calm and friendly temperaments. They are easy going, gentle towards children and since they like to lounge around, they are a great choice for apartment living.

Are British Shorthair Cats Intelligent?

Along with their other positive traits, this breed is also noted for being smart. British Shorthairs are quick learners, easy to train, and like playing with puzzle toys that test their intellect.

Compared to other breeds, the British Shorthair is characterized as moderately intelligent. Not so much an evil genius, but more a deep thinker type.

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