With our “A Beginner’s Guide” series, we get to set aside time to explore popular cat breeds. We discuss what makes them special, their particular requirements and how to properly care for your cat. In this post, we are excited to delve into the popular and adored British Shorthair.
British Shorthairs are one of the most popular breeds due to their kind nature, even-tempered personalities and for the strong bonds they often form with owners. Like all cats, British Shorthairs are independent by nature, but this breed is particularly well-known for being kind, loyal and loving.
What Is a British Shorthair?
The British Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds. Often described as being “teddy bear-like”, this breed is affectionate, good-natured and fiercely loyal, as well as playful and curious. The British Shorthair makes a great companion for individuals and families with children.
The British Shorthair is a medium-to-large-sized cat. It’s a well-developed breed, with a broad chest and powerful muscles. The British Shorthair has a gorgeous coat that is thick and dense, becoming longer and thicker during the winter months.
History of the British Shorthair
We can trace the lineage of the British Shorthair back to ancient Rome. They were originally bred to be working cats and mousers. In the mid-19th century, the breed almost disappeared due to the popularity of other cats, notably the Persian and other long-haired breeds. But due to dedicated breeding, the British Shorthair was successfully re-established in 1870.
Shortly after in 1874, a British Shorthair named Brynbuboo Little Monarch won the Grand Championship of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. Some claim that every British Shorthair today can be linked genetically back to this little champion.
Average Weight of a British Shorthair
Much like the Ragdoll or the Ragamuffin, the British Shorthair is in no rush to grow up. In fact, it can take a British Shorthair up to five years to reach its full weight and size. This is a breed that obviously understands perfection takes time.
Typically, the British Shorthair female weighs between 3.2 to 5.4 kilograms, with the British Shorthair male weighing in between 4.1 to 7.7 kilograms. From paws to shoulders, an adult British Shorthair can stand up to 14 inches high.
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What Colour Is the British Shorthair?
The British Shorthair comes in a range of colours. One of the most popular is the British Blue, which has a distinctive grey-blue fur. However, British Shorthairs also come in grey and white, tabby, pure cream, calico, blue-spotted, black and white and pure white.
The Temperament of the British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is known for its placid temper and warm temperament. Generally laid-back, easygoing and calm, this cat might, on occasion, be just a little bit lazy.
Related: How to Get a Fat Cat to Exercise
If you are looking for a chilled out animal companion, look no further. The British Shorthair will be more than happy to chill out with you and binge a few series on Netflix. Adult British Shorthairs are also fantastic with children, with a great deal of patience and love to share. Just be sure to keep an eye out for them. They don’t vocalise too much so they might need you to speak up for them if your toddler is getting too handsy.
Affectionate as they are, this cat doesn’t generally like to be carried around or picked up, but they probably will follow you around so they can stay involved with whatever you’re doing. Just remember, this is a cat that’s prone to laziness, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your pet’s weight, encourage exercise and implement a strict diet, especially if you have an inside cat on your hands.
Do British Shorthairs Shed Hair?
British Shorthairs’ coats are short, dense and plush, requiring regular brushing to keep them in pristine condition. They do tend to shed a moderate amount of fur during the autumn and spring seasons when moulting is most prevalent. This special breed has a double layer, with the undercoat generally shedding more than the topcoat. Otherwise, British Shorthairs are relatively low maintenance compared with other pedigrees. Regular checks on earwax buildup and trimming of nails are also necessary.
The British Shorthair: The Perfect Family Cat
The British Shorthair is renowned as a family cat due to a docile and affectionate nature. The breed also enjoys interacting with humans and, in particular, children. It won’t come as a surprise that this breed is a popular choice for young families. They tend to mature late, retaining a kitten-like playfulness well into adulthood. Due to their relaxed nature, the British Shorthair is not overly active and will lounge for long periods.
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What Is the Lifespan of a British Shorthair?
This breed is quite hardy, with the average lifespan being around 15 years. However, some British Shorthairs have been known to live as long as 20 years — giving you more time to love and spoil them. Ensure they get lots of exercise, you feed them well and pay regular trips to the vet.
You might also enjoy: A Beginner’s Guide to the Cornish Rex
British Shorthair: Health Considerations
Unfortunately, no cat breed is without an inherent health issue or two. Though generally healthy, the British Shorthair is no exception. As we have mentioned, this breed is prone to obesity, which results in diabetes — so ensure you keep your cat at a healthy weight. You should also know that conditions such as gum disease and gingivitis are more common in British Shorthairs than most cat breeds — lookout for red gums and bad breath.
Other conditions sometimes linked to this breed are Polycystic Kidney Disease and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. But generally, this breed is quite hardy and healthy.
British Shorthairs Have a Rare Blood Type
Interestingly, more than half (53%) of British Shorthairs tend to have a rare blood type — either B or AB. Though this shouldn’t ever be much of an issue, you might want to learn your cat’s type in case your cat ever needs a transfusion.
Keeping Your British Shorthair Slim and Healthy
British Shorthairs can be prone to developing waistlines, so a good nutritional diet and daily exercise are vital for their wellbeing and long-term health. They will explore environments that they deem safe and are equally suited to playing indoors or outdoors, particularly if they have plenty of toys and frames to play on. They are intelligent cats that need to be properly stimulated, although providing adequate spaces for rest and snoozing is equally important.
You might want to invest in a quality cat scratcher for this breed.
British Shorthair Cats and Dogs
Luckily enough, British Shorthairs tend to have healthy relationships with other pets, including dogs, but supervision is needed when introducing any pets in the home.
The British Shorthair is quintessentially British. Kind-natured, loving and enduringly loyal, we can easily see why this breed is a favourite among cat lovers. To learn more about other breeds, check out other guides in this series.
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