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British Shorthair -  Breed Description

Place of Origin: UK, 1800s

Breed Registries: CFA, FIFe, EFF, GCCF, TICA

Weight Range: 4-8kg

Grooming: Weekly

Colours and Patterns: All colours, except hybridization

Weight Range: 4-8kg

This cat combines good looks with an easy-going temperament, and is affectionate though not usually over-demonstrative.

Originally developed from the best examples of ordinary British domestic cats, the British Shorthair was one of the first pedigree cats to appear in shows during the late 19th century. In the following decades the Shorthair was all but eclipsed by longhaired cats, particularly the Persian, but survived by a narrow margin to enjoy a revival from the mid-20th century onwards.


A descendant of cats that worked for their living, keeping down vermin on farms and homesteads, the British Shorthair is now something of a blueprint for the perfect fireside cat. The breed is highly popular in Europe and is steadily gaining a following in the USA, where it is less well known.


Many decades of careful selection have produced a well-proportioned cat of superb quality. Powerfully built, the British Shorthair has a medium-to-large, tightly knit body carried on sturdy legs. The massive, round head, broad cheeks, and large, open eyes are characteristic features of the breed. The British Shorthair has a short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colours and has a deep pile and firm texture.


In temperament, this cat is as calm and friendly as its chubby-cheeked, placid expression appears to suggest. It can be kept equally well as a town or country cat. Strong, but not athletic or hyperactive, a British Shorthair prefers to keep its paws on the ground and is perfectly happy to stay indoors and commandeer the sofa. However, it also enjoys time outside and readily uses the hunting skills that made its ancestors such an asset in the past.


Quietly affectionate, the Shorthair likes to stay near its owner. Although alert to what is going on in the household, this cat is not over-demanding of attention.


British Shorthairs generally have robust health and can be long-lived. They are easy to care for, as the thick coat does not mat or tangle and regular combing is all that is required to keep it in good condition. 

GRCH McQueen Silver Iceberg

The first-ever organized cat show, held in London, Britain, in 1871, was the brainchild of Harrison Weir, a British Shorthair enthusiast, who was well-rewarded when his own blue tabby female won Best in Show. Known as the "father of the cat fancy", Weir encouraged interest in selective breeding of cats to set standards of excellence. Among his many books was Our Cats, which introduced and illustrated various types and breeds.

Setting Standards


The British Shorthair is compact, well-balanced and powerful, showing good depth of body, a full broad chest, short to medium strong legs, rounded paws, tail thick at base with a rounded tip. The head is round with good width between the ears, round cheeks, firm chin, medium ears, large round and wellopened eyes, and a medium broad nose. The coat is short and very dense. 

Females are less massive in all respects with males having larger jowls. This breed takes a full 3-5 years to reach full maturity and development. Individuals should convey an overall impression of balance and proportion in which no feature is exaggerated to foster weakness or extremes. 

Breed Standard


Round and massive. Round face with nose and upper lip.


Distinctive, well-developed, with a definite stop beyond large, round whisker pads. 


Ear set is important. Medium in size, broad at the base, rounded at the tips. Set far apart, fitting into (without distorting) the rounded  contour of the head. 


Round and firm. Toes: five in front and four behind. 


Medium to large, well knit and powerful. Level back and a deep broad chest. 


Short to medium, well-boned and strong. In proportion to the body. Forelegs are straight. 


Large, round, well opened. Set wide apart and level. 


Short, very dense, well bodied and firm to the touch. Not double coated or woolly. 


Medium length in proportion to the  body, thicker at base, tapering slightly to a rounded tip. 


The classic Blue remains the most popular color however the breed comes in a rainbow of colors. Shadow tabby markings in solid color, smoke, shaded, shaded golden, bi-color, or calico kittens are not a fault. 


Definite nose stop. Overlong or light undercoat. Soft coat. Rangy body. Weak chin.* 


Incorrect eye color, green rims in  adults. Tail defects. Long or fluffy coat. Incorrect number of toes. Locket or button. Improper color or pigment in nose leather and/or paw pads in part or total. Any evidence of illness or poor health. Any evidence of wryness of jaw, poor dentition (arrangement of teeth), or malocclusion. Evidence of hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the himalayan pattern, or these combinations with white* (Hybridization in disqualified in most of the cat registries)


* The previously listed penalties and disqualifications apply to all British Shorthair cats. 

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