A gutter cat
The British Shorthair, as its name suggests, is a cat native to Great Britain. Originally, it was a stray cat breed and as such, the breed was developed using cats that did not have any pedigree. Its ancestors looked very similar to the Chartreux. In the 19th century, some English breeders, such as H. Weir, decided to select the most beautiful gutter cats to exhibit them for the first time at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871.
The cats were called British Shorthair in order to distinguish them from foreign cats, as well as from long-haired cats. In some ways, the British is like the cross-channel version of the European, or of the United States’ American Shorthair.
The British Cat Club was created in 1901.
An endangered breed
Following World War I, British Shorthair catteries had all but disappeared. To sustain the breed, breeders had to crossbreed with cats that had no pedigree. These crossings unfortunately changed the original physical characteristics of the British Shorthair. Further crossbreeds with the Persian had to be made in order to restore the breed’s initial roundness.
After so many crossbreeds, the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) refused to register these cats as British Shorthairs. It therefore took 3 generations for the descendants to once again be registered.
Unfortunately, World War II once again destroyed the catteries and the crossbreeding process had to be restarted. Crosses with stray cats, Russian Blues, Burmeses and Chartreux were all undoubtedly made. Finally, it became necessary to once again resort to crossbreeds with Persians to regain the breed’s original physical traits.
The British Shorthair becomes recognized
The first British Shorthairs were imported to the United States in 1900. At the time, the breed had been registered as “Domestic Shorthair” and in fact continued like this until the 1950s.
In the US, the British Shorthair was crossed with the American Shorthair. It was from this time that the British Shorthair was recognized by the TICA in 1979, and by the CFA in 1980.
Many standards were then published with regard to the breed, with the latest standard, edited by the TICA, dating from 1993.
The British Shorthair is the face of the Whiskas and Sheba brands.
Qualities of the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is a quiet cat. With a peaceful and balanced temperament, it is a cat that can adapt very easily and will feel comfortable around both dogs and other cats.
They are very good hunters that love to play.
It is a cat that is very attached to its master, but without being intrusive.
Defects of the British Shorthair
It is a cat that needs a lot of attention, even if it keeps its independent side. You will have to be there for it and devote your time to it.
In the end, though, this is a cat that doesn’t really have any defects. It has an ideal character.
The British Shorthair has seen many published standards. The latest was created by TICA in 1993. Since then, this standard has undergone some changes.
General appearance of the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is a medium to large-sized cat. It is robust, powerful, well-built and round. Its body has powerful shoulders and very wide and round hips, making it an imposing cat.
Its head is round and apple-shaped. It has a sweet and open expression with big eyes.
- Skull: rounded, with a slight concave curve
- Stop: light stop permitted.
- Nose: black, preferably.
- Snout: short and broad. The nose and the bridge of the nose should be straight.
- Adult males should have large jowls.
- Muzzle: the muzzle is part of a well-defined circle with firm and full whisker pads. The tip of the nose is aligned to the chin.
- Eyes: round, large and wide open. Well-spaced one from the other. The color should be uniform and consistent with that of the coat. The brightest and most intense hues are preferred.
- Ears: wide at the base. They are of medium to small size. They are rounded at the extremities and well-spaced from each other.
Stocky and muscular. The neck is very short and seems almost nonexistent.
- Legs: medium-sized. The legs should be slightly less long than the body.
- Feet: round and firm.
- Tail: thick at the base. The tail should measure 2/3rds of the body. It should have the same thickness from the base to the tip.
Too long or low-lying texture.
Fur lacking in an undercoat and in density in general.
Flat skull, stop too pronounced, nose too long.
Light tabby marks in solid colored cats, except for orange-colored cats.
White spots in cats, other than in the particolors, Exotics or Persians..
Lack of muscle tone.
It's so easy to live with her! Her character perfectly reflects her appearance, she's just like a teddybear. She's always in a good mood. Jolie Poupée is a little ball of softness that is not afraid to welcome the guests.
Coat of the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair’s fur is short, dense, firm and straight, to the point that it opens up on the neckline when the cat turns its head.
It has a thick undercoat.
Color of the British Shorthair
There are 17 shades of color for this breed of cat. This is one of the breeds with the most different colors of coats.
- Unicolored coats: black, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, white, cinnamon (rare), fawn (rare).
- Parti-colored coats: two-toned (the share of white is at least 20 or 30%), Harlequin (a coat in which white makes up over 50%), and Van (80% of white).
- Tabby coats: this is a striped coat. There are various types of stripes. The Mackerel (the most common), the Blotched (marbled), the Spotted (stripes in the form of dots), and Ticked (the tip of the tail is darker).
- The Silver Shaded coat: completely white fur, with the base of the hair being darker. There are different versions of this: the Chinchilla, the Golden, and the Golden Shell.
Care for the British Shorthair
Care is fairly easy. Regular brushing is essential to remove dead hair and keep fur looking beautiful.
Did you know that the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland is a British Shorthair tabby cat?
The British Shorthair has a robust constitution. Remember to vaccinate them to protect them as much as possible. Watch their diet as they tend to gain weight.
Although it does remain fairly independent, this is a cat that will claim your attention and ask for cuddles. It is an obedient cat that quickly understands the rules.