Have you heard of the amazing British Shorthair cat breed? There’s a lot to love about this kitty. Keep reading to learn more everything about the British Shorthair. 

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British Shorthair Cat Breed Overview
NicknamesShorthair, British Blue
Height12 - 14 inches
Weight7 - 17 pounds
Lifespan15 - 20 years
TemperamentFriendly, sociable, laid-back, calm, gentle, loyal
Suitable ForAll households, indoor cat, familes with kids, families with other pets, seniors

History Of The British Shorthair Cat Breed

Also known as the British Blue or the Shorthair (in Britain), the British Shorthair is one of the oldest English cat breeds.

Their ancestry goes back to Rome. They were used as skilled hunters and praised for their strength.

However, these kitties are house cats. So, they don’t hunt much of anything anymore.

This breed often roamed the streets as strays in the United Kingdom.

Breeders then took in the cats. They worked hard to keep the cats domesticated, bred them to be house cats, and to excel at the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) national cat shows.

Unfortunately, this breed almost died out around World War I. Luckily, breeders crossbred the Shorthair with other breeds such as the Russian Blue and Persian.

Believe it or not, this breed has two types: the British Shorthair and the British Longhair. These breeds are the same. The only difference is the length of their fur.

In 1980, the CFA officially recognized the British Shorthair as a cat breed.

What Does The British Shorthair Cat Look Like?

British Shorthairs are medium to large cats. However, they don’t get to be as big as Maine Coon cats.

For instance, these cats should be about 12 to 14 inches tall. Males typically weigh between nine and 17 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, weighing around seven to 12 pounds.

This breed is slow to mature, so they won’t become fully grown until they’re about three years old. 

According to the CFA’s breed standard of the British Shorthair, this cat is well-balanced.

For instance, this cat has a big, round head, a broad nose, and a firm chin. Their muzzle is distinctive with ears that are medium and broad at the bottom with rounded tips. The eyes are large and round.

The body is medium to large with legs that are short to medium. However, all legs are sturdy and well proportionate to one another. Their paws are round and firm, with five toes on the two front and four on the two back paws.

Finally, their tail is medium length, broad at the base, and rounded at the tip. Their coat is short and dense. It’s not a double coat and not woolly.

British Shorthairs can also have a variety of coat colors and patterns.

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

What Coat Colors And Patterns Do The British Shorthair Cats Have?

Most people tend to think that British Shorthairs only come in blue. However, that’s not the case. This breed can come in many different British Shorthair colors and patterns.

For example, they can have solid coat colors, such as the following:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Smoke
  • White

Other colors and patterns include bi-color, tri-color, tabby, calico, and color point.

For instance, this cat breed can also have the following coats:

  • Blue Cream
  • Blue Tabby
  • Blue Patched Tabby
  • Blue Patched Tabby and White
  • Brown Tabby
  • Brown Patched Tabby
  • Brown Patched Tabby and White
  • Chinchilla Golden
  • Chinchilla Silver
  • Classic Tabby Pattern
  • Cream Tabby
  • Dilute Calico
  • Mackerel Tabby Pattern
  • Red Tabby
  • Shaded Cameo (Red Shaded)
  • Shaded Golden
  • Shaded Silver
  • Shell Cameo (Red Chinchilla)
  • Silver Tabby
  • Silver Patched Tabby
  • Silver Patched Tabby and White
  • Spotted Tabby Pattern
  • Tabby and White
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Van Bi-color
  • Van Calico
  • Van Dilute Calico
  • Van Tabby and White
What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

British Shorthair Cat Care

The British Shorthair is a laid-back kitty. They’re relatively easy to care for and are low-maintenance pets. So, let’s discuss some things you’ll need to do to keep your feline friend healthy and happy.


You won’t need to worry too much when grooming this cat breed. Luckily, this kitty keeps itself clean pretty well. 

Thanks to their short coat, you’ll only need to brush them about once per week. However, they’re not considered hypoallergenic because they shed little. Also, the cat will clean themselves often, getting saliva everywhere.

Overall, this kitten is low-maintenance for grooming. You’ll only need to worry about weekly brushing and nail trims every four to six weeks. 

Also, be sure to keep up with their dental hygiene. 


As a kitten, this breed will need three balanced meals per day. As an adult, you can feed them two meals per day.

As with most cats, this breed is also prone to overeating. So, you don’t want to free feed, leaving food out all day.

Not only can this lead to excessive weight gain, but it can also be harmful if your cat has heart disease or diabetes.

If you’re unsure what to feed your British Shorthair, we recommend this kitten food for young kitties. Also, we recommend this brand for adults, and you can check out this cat food for seniors.

As always, speak to your veterinarian when choosing the right cat food and diet for your feline friend.

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com


The activity level of this cat breed is relatively calm. You won’t find a British Shorthair running about the house wackily. 

You want your cat to exercise since you don’t want them to get overweight.

You can get them interactive toys to do that since this kitty loves to play.

Otherwise, you’ll see them sitting on the floor, lounging on the couch, or chattering at a squirrel on the window sill. 


Can you train a cat? In some ways, yes. British Shorthairs are generally friendly, laid-back, and loyal. Thus, they can be easy to train.

However, cats aren’t like dogs. If you work hard at it, you might be able to teach your British Shorthair basic commands, such as their name, and to come to you.

But remember that cats are independent. So, even if you teach them these commands, they’ll still have the option of whether they want to listen to you or not.

Otherwise, you can stick to litter box training or even harness training.


Luckily, the British Shorthair is a relatively healthy breed. However, they are prone to genetic health problems, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and hemophilia B.

Also, they can get urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney issues, and are prone to obesity.

As a kitten, you’ll want to bring them to the vet a few times during their first year to ensure they’re growing and developing correctly. Then, for every year after that, you can bring them annually for their regular check-up.

The average British Shorthair lifespan is about 15 to 20 years with proper pet care and health.

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

Temperament Of The British Shorthair Cat Breed

There’s a lot to love about this cat breed. But, if you’re looking for a laid-back, calm kitty companion, you should consider the British Shorthair.

For example, this cat is loyal to its family members. They’re also sociable, friendly, and affectionate.

However, as with most cats, they can be independent. British Shorthairs aren’t a fan of being picked up or held. They may cuddle with you on the couch, but don’t expect them to stretch up toward you, wanting to be carried around.

With that said, if you have young children in the home, you’ll need to teach them to be gentle with the cat and leave it on the ground.

In addition, British Shorthairs thrive on attention. So, be sure to give them one-on-one attention every day and plenty of pets and kisses.

Are British Shorthairs Good For Families And Children?

Absolutely. This cat breed loves being around their humans. If socialized well, they’ll get along well with strangers coming into the home.

They’re friendly and laid-back, so they’ll enjoy the company of adults, seniors, children, and everyone in between.

As long as you supervise young kids with the cat, then everything will be fine. Teach your kids to be gentle around the kitty, and socialize the cat, and they’ll get along wonderfully.

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

Are British Shorthairs Good With Other Pets?

Believe it or not, yes. This cat breed gets along well with other cats in the home. In fact, they’ll enjoy having a buddy around.

In addition, they’re friendly with dogs and even small animals. So, for example, if you have guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, or birds in the house, your British Shorthair won’t bother with them.

These cats still had excellent hunting skills back in the day, but they don’t care as much today since they knew they’d get fed at dinnertime. 

Are British Shorthair Cats Friendly?

The short answer is yes. They’ll get along well with just about anyone. Other pets in the household, strangers coming into the house, and their family members.

Remember, these cats are gentle and laid-back but love attention. So, they’re sociable and friendly to get as much attention as they want. 

Are There Any Differences Between Males And Females?

Aside from a female British Shorthair being slightly smaller than a male, they have some temperament differences.

For example, a male British Shorthair is less reserved than a female. Also, they’ll take less time to get used to the family members.

If you socialize a male early enough and get them neutered, they won’t need to worry about aggressive territorial behavior, such as spraying. 

On the other hand, females enjoy the company of children and the rest of the family.

They’re friendly, but they’ll have a favorite human. A female British Shorthair often opens up to one family member more than the rest.

However, both genders make excellent family pets since they have similar British Shorthair personality traits. 

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

Who Should Own The British Shorthair?

The British Shorthair cat doesn’t have many flaws if any. This may be your breed if you want a friendly, social, laid-back kitty.

They get along well with everyone. So, the cat will fit in if you have adults, young children, or seniors in the home.

Also, they can get along well with other pets and are suitable for apartment living.

Where Can You Get A British Shorthair?

You won’t often find this cat in an animal shelter or rescue organization. However, most breeders of British Shorthair cats are excellent at finding them forever homes.

When searching for this specific breed, you can check out the list of breeders on the CFA website.

Remember, a reputable breeder will not allow the kittens to go home before being 12 to 16 weeks of age. Also, they will not give you a health guarantee and care for the cats and kittens as their own.

A good breeder will also want to meet with you in person and get to know you before giving you a pet. 

Question Corner: FAQs About The British Shorthair Cat Breed

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome British Shorthair cat, look at the frequently asked questions about the breed below.

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com

What’s The Average Cost Of The British Shorthair Cat?

Believe it or not, this cat breed can be expensive. For example, the British Shorthair price is between $800 and $2,500 for a cat from a breeder. Typically, people spend at least $1,500. 

Should A British Shorthair Be An Indoor Or Outdoor Cat?

All cats should be indoor housemates. This is to keep them safe from predators, traffic, and from getting lost. It also keeps them healthy and well fed. You’ll know the neighbors are not feeding your kitty and that they’re not hunting for food.

Are British Shorthairs Hypoallergenic?

No, this breed isn’t hypoallergenic. They don’t shed too much, but they do clean themselves often. Thus, they spread their saliva. 

Are British Shorthair Cats Vocal?

They’ll meow occasionally. If they need some attention, the British Shorthair will let you know. However, they’re a relatively quiet breed.

Are British Shorthairs Rare?

This breed is more popular and well-known in the United Kingdom. However, the breed is relatively rare in the United States since they weren’t recognized until 1980.

Is The British Shorthair Right For You?

If you need a quieter animal, but one that will be loyal and friendly toward everyone, then this cat breed is an excellent choice. They’re sociable and can get along with anyone. Also, they’re low-maintenance to care for. 

What You Need To Know About The Gentle British Shorthair | PetSimplified.com
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