12 facts about the British Shorthair
Here are 12 facts about the ever-popular British Shorthair cat:
- One of the most interesting facts about the British Shorthair is its history. Although the modern British Shorthair has a very distinctive appearance, a plush coat and a stocky body conformation, originally, when the Romans occupied Great Britain, they were a standard, random-bred moggy earning their living by keeping down the rodent population. These cats were imported originally into the country by the Romans so we are talking about 43 A.D. to 410 A.D. That’s how far back the British Shorthair goes, but of course their “refinement” through selective breeding did not start in earnest until the late 1800s in England.
- The world’s first cat show occurred in 1871 at London’s Crystal Palace and at that show British Shorthairs were entered and took some awards.
- Harrison Weir, the founder of the cat fancy, encouraged judges at the first cat shows to give special prizes to blue British Shorthairs because of their beauty and popularity.
- The blue British Shorthair was listed separately from other non-foreign shorthairs in England, for some time. Even today some people think that the blue British Shorthair is a separate breed but it is not.
- The first and second world wars had a devastating impact on the British cat fancy. Breeders had difficulty in finding suitable cats and British Shorthairs were outcrossed to Persians. This was a hybridisation and they were eventually disqualified from winning cat shows.
- The blue British Shorthair is still the most popular coat type for this breed.
- They have a sturdy appearance and a slightly flat face (compared to the moggy from which they originate) with a short nose. Cat fancy people describe this cat as “semi-cobby” in terms of body conformation which means slightly stocky and less slender than they might otherwise be.
- This cat has chubby cheeks and you see this a lot more strongly in the Russian bred British shorthair cats. They have a chipmunk-like appearance.
- They are noted for their thick, luxurious short coat. It feels like a plush rug and it is pleasant to pass your fingers through it. It said that this fine coat does not tangle and therefore they are easy to groom.
- You’ll see British Shorthairs in all colours and all divisions of the traditional category.
- As for temperament, they are described by Gloria Stephens as “independent yet affectionate, relaxed yet curious”. She says that the male is especially friendly to people and they are quiet and unflappable. Because of this they are recommended as suitable for apartment life provided it is not too warm because their coats are so effective.
- The rarer and less discussed longhaired variant of the Brit SH, the British Longhair, is one of the most beautiful cats: a bit like a Persian but not as extremely bred and so it looks more normal. An excellent choice of purebred cat.