The British Shorthair cat, as the name would suggest, is from Great Britain.
It has a semi-cobby body type, that perfectly combines the robustness of moggy cats and the natural elegance of cat breeds.
Very adventurous and playful, it is at its most happy in an open, outside environment.
Cat lovers have discussed the origins of this breed in great depth and it would seem the the British Shorthair originated in ancient Egypt. It was then brought to Great-Britain during the great European explorations.
However, the first marked appearances of the animal go back to 1870's England.
Seeking to produce a more robust, new breed of cat, based on moggy cats, the English gathered a variety of specimens, which by mutation, became British Shorthairs.
Presented to the public for the first time at a cat exhibition at Crystal Palace, London, in 1971, the breed was unanimously adored by cat lovers.
In the aftermath of the First World War, British Shorthair's had become increasingly rare. British breeders then had the idea to couple them with Persians. The result was a success producing a more robust cat, with a gene for long hair.
However, due to this crossing, it took three generations before the British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy re-registered among its list of affiliated breeds.
The same thing happened after the Second World War, and although breeders tried other crossings with the Burmese and Chartreux breeds, they eventually came back to the Persian to restore the British Shorthair's nobility.
The British Shorthair is renown for its robust and elegant physique. Half-way between the moggy cat and "le chat de race", it has qualities from both. It is of average size and has a strong, muscular build as well as rather large hips and shoulders. Females weight between three and four kilos, whereas males between eight and ten.
Its head is large and round, resembling that of a teddy bear. It has full cheeks and a round shaped head. The British Shorthair has a short but large and curved nose.
Renown for its beauty, its physical criteria are very strict in feline beauty competitions, which is why its nose must be neither too long or too short, nor too similar to a Persian's in order to avoid penalties. Its muzzle is firm, in harmony with the rest of its head.
Their eyes are alert and round and quite far from each other, giving the impression that its nose is larger than it is. According to the breeding, the colour must match their coat.
The British Shorthair's ears are quite small and larger at the base. They are spaced well apart on their head and are rounded at the tip.
Their coat is warm and tight with a very thick undercoat. The main characteristic for a British Shorthair's coat is its density and is often why it's compared to a woolen carpet.
Source : Fédération Féline Française
All coat colours are accepted for the British Shorthair, provided that the hair density is respected. However, white spots are only allowed on particoloured specimens.
In harmony with their soft and balanced appearance, the British Shorthair has a very calm temperament and adapts perfectly to living with people and other animals. It is renown for being incredibly gentle and relaxed. Even though it is an ideal pet, loving cuddles and affection, it is just as happy being alone. Thanks to its zen nature, it won't mind if you're absent during the day.
However, it is worth noting that thanks to its moggy cat ancestors, it enjoys hunting. It is therefore important to let it have its freedom when needed.
The British Shorthair is above all very sociable and has absolutely no problem living with dogs and other cats.
The British Shorthair is very robust and is therefore not subject to any specific health problems. However, it is still important to regularly check its health, especially after its been hunting.
It is also important to know that certain genetic illnesses have been associated with this breed. British Shorthair breeders are therefore required to test both males and reproductive females for PKD1 (renal disease) and HCM (heart disease).
Despite its density, the British Shorthair's coat doesn't need much upkeep. A weekly brush is enough to keep it clean and soft. However, you should brush it more during molting season to help it get rid of extra hair.