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British Shorthair

The following information is from the Cat Fancier's Association page on breeds.  Text and pictures are copyrighted by the CFA.  Layout and font may have changed to fit this page.  Images (cat pictures) are copyrighted by the photographer.  Please go to the CFA website for details.  Enjoy the cats!

Breed Profile: British Shorthair

British Shorthair
Pictured: Best of Breed GC, BW, RW DANDYBLUE'S LORD HUDSON, Blue British Shorthair Male
Photo: © Larry Johnson

The British Shorthair, probably the oldest English breed of cat, traces its ancestry back to the domestic cat of Rome. This breed was first prized for its physical strength and hunting ability, but soon became equally recognized and valued for its calm demeanor, endurance and loyalty to man.

The British Shorthair is a comparatively rare cat in the United States. Around 1980 it was recognized for championship competition by CFA stimulating much needed interest in the breed. Recognized world-wide, many fine “Brits” are still imported today from England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia to help widen the gene pool for breeders in the United States.  


British Shorthair
Pictured: Second Best of Breed GC, RW EARENDIL BLU DAZE OF GERMAN BRITS, Blue British Shorthair Male
Photo: © Justine St. Arnaud

The British Shorthair is gaining in popularity every year as it is bred and exhibited by an increasing number of enthusiastic fanciers. Because of its easy-going nature and intelligence, it has become a favorite of animal trainers, for use in Hollywood films and television commercials. The British Shorthair has a short plush coat with a luxurious feel which is very easy to groom. A British Shorthair is always in quiet control of his or her environment, supervising everyone and everything that happens in the family. A larger sized cat that prefers to be on the ground, Brits are not known for acrobatics or speed. However, they are steadfast companions to the entire family and definitely look before they leap. When gracelessness is observed, the British Shorthair is duly embarrassed; quickly recovering with a “Cheshire Cat smile.”

Although first known as the British Blue, due to the breed’s original color, its native country incorporated a wide variety of colors under the term British Shorthair in the 1950’s. CFA also now recognizes the British Shorthair in many different colors and patterns.

Pricing on British Shorthairs usually depends on type, applicable markings and bloodlines distinguished by Grand Champion (GC), National or Regional winning parentage (NW or RW) or of Distinguished Merit parentage (DM). The DM title is achieved by the dam (mother) having produced five CFA grand champion/premier or DM offspring, or sire (father) having produced fifteen CFA grand champion/premier (alter) or DM offspring. Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.

There are CFA clubs devoted to the promotion, protection and preservation of the British Shorthair breed. For more information, please send inquiries to CFA, PO Box 1005, Manasquan NJ 08736-0805.

Text: Karen Noble
Last Updated: Friday, July 27, 2007

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