Although there are only written records for the British Shorthair back to the beginning of the century the breed has been in existence for hundreds of years. The first shorthair cats were probably brought to Britain by invading Roman troops and they feature in engravings and paintings through the centuries. They were exported in large numbers to the New World where they were very popular. The variety of colours and coat patterns available today have come about from the selective breeding of the best street cats during the nineteenth century and continuing careful breeding plans to the present day.


The British Shorthair is one of the largest breeds of cat. It is chunky and substantial and 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 tip of the chin is in line vertically with the tip of the nose. 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.

Colour The British Shorthair is bred in over one hundred colour and coat pattern combinations. The coat is short, dense and should not show any tendency to softness or fluffiness. The British Shorthair are bred in the following coat and colour combinations, some with multiple colours within each category: Self Coloured British Shorthair, Tabby British Shorthair, Mackerel Tabby, Spotted, Tortie Tabby British Shorthair, Tortoiseshell British Shorthair, Tortoiseshell & White British Shorthair, Bi-Colour British Shorthair, Smoke British Shorthair, Tipped British Shorthair and Colourpointed British Shorthair.
Coat Length Short
Age Expectancy British Shorthairs usually live into their early teens but it has been known for them to live much longer.
Weight/Height Range 4 - 7kgs.
Ailments The British Shorthair is a sturdy healthy breed and suffers from no specific health problems. They are capable of living into their teens but an annual health check from about the age of eight is advisable. This may include teeth cleaning and a blood test for liver and kidney function.


The British Shorthair is a big soft lump of a cat. These are the ‘gentle giants’ of the cat world. They are loving and affectionate. They are good with children and other animals. They do not continuously demand human attention and are quieter than their foreign counterparts. Nor do they have the curious nature that gets many foreign breeds into trouble and if allowed out in the garden they are unlikely to roam. However they are often more than happy to be indoor cats.

Energy Medium
Noise Low
Compatibility with Cat High
Other Animal Compatibility Medium

Feeding & Grooming

Feeding The British Shorthair is a large cat and will require approximately 70 Kcals per kg bodyweight per day of food. However, many British Shorthairs are prone to obesity, particularly neuters, and some restriction on their diet may be necessary.
Upkeep One of the reasons that the British Shorthair became so popular in the last century was because it needed no grooming. The coat is short and dense and the cat can easily look after it itself.
Shedding Little

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