Characteristics of British Shorthair Cats

Blue British Shorthair

Renowned cat fancier Harrison Weir once described British Shorthair cats as "ordinary garden cats", but he did so with great admiration and affection for the breed. Could a British Shorthair be the breed for you?

British Shorthair Cats Foundation

British Shorthair cats derive their ancestry almost exclusively from the Domestic Shorthair Cat, the 'moggy' that we all know so well. Over the past century, careful selection has resulted in a clearly identifiable breed.


Often described as the "Bulldog" of the cat world, British Shorthair Cats are very laid back. They do occasionally have their mad moments, but these rarely last more than five minutes!

Whilst they are very inquisitive cats and will be interested in everything you do, typically they like nothing more than being curled up either on their owner's lap or beside their owner in front of a cozy fire watching the television!

British Shorthairs are also known to get along quite well with other cats, and even the occasional family dog. As long as they are allowed plenty of time for relaxation, they can deal with almost anything.


British Shorthair Cats should be cobby with short, strong legs, a round head with well-rounded eyes, and a tail that is broad at the base and rounded at the tip.


The coat should be short and dense. The general impression should be that of a compact, alert, fit and healthy cat.


Although often referred to as the "British Blue", British Shorthair Cats come in a great range of color varieties, including:

  • Self (Solid)
  • Tabby
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Bi-Colour
  • Smoke
  • Tipped and Colour-pointed.

Most colours are recognized by the main registering bodies.


Minimal grooming is required to maintain the British Shorthair's short crisp coat. Normally all that is needed is a quick brush through the coat once a week.

However, potential owners should be aware that the extremely plush coat of this breed sheds considerably during the seasonal change. Extra brushing is beneficial at this time to remove as much loose hair as possible before it has a chance to collect on clothing and furniture.

General Health

Happily, this cat breed has no serious congenital health problems to report at this time. British Shorthairs are generally hardy, and will thrive with basic care.

Obesity can become a problem for these cats as middle age approaches. Their fondness of a good nap definitely doesn't help burn off excess calories, but this can be combatted by serving a well-balanced cat food in smaller daily portions.

Expect this feline companion to be long-term, since it is not unheard of for individuals to live up to twenty years.

The Breed for You?

If you're looking for an affectionate, but not very needy feline, the British Shorthair might just fit the bill. The breed's ability to get along with other household pets is definitely a plus, but excessive shedding can be the trade-off.

Perhaps the best way to decide is to spend some time getting to know the pets of a reputable British Shorthair breeder. You can observe the natural behavior of these cats, and find out if you have any rapport with their personalities.

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Characteristics of British Shorthair Cats