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British Shorthair

British Shorthair
British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is the darling of the English: with their round heads and teddy-like appearance, you will fall for their noble charm. When this cat arrived in Britain, its mission was to clear the territory of rats. Their beautiful appearance and blue color often mean they are confused with the Chartreux. The British Shorthair is still very popular with the public. There is a long-haired variety named British Longhair.


Key facts about the British Shorthair

  • Life expectancy : Between 14 and 18 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Calm
  • Type of coat : Short
  • Price : Between £150 and £500

Physical characteristics of the British Shorthair

Adult size

Female cat Approximately 11 in
Male cat Approximately 12 in

British Shorthairs reach their adult size quite late, at around 2 years.


Female cat Between 7 and 9 lb
Male cat Between 11 and 18 lb

Coat colour

Black, white, chocolate, ginger, cinnamon, and all its dilutions blue / lilac / cream, fawn 
All colours and variations are accepted in this breed but blue is typically the most popular.

Coat patterns

Solid / plain, tabby, colourpoint, bicolour, tricolour
All varieties are accepted.

Type of coat

The hair is short. 

Eye colour

Blue, aquamarine, green, hazel, golden yellow, dichroic eyes


This beautiful cat has a powerful and majestic body. Its thick, soft hair has a dense texture that helps withstand the cold. The British Shorthair has the look of a teddy bear thanks to their round heads so characteristic and inimitable. They have large, well-spaced eyes that make them recognisable in the blink of an eye. Although crossbreeding with the Persian took place in order to perpetuate this breed, the British Shorthair did not inherit the crushed nose gene.



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This teddy bear is extremely affectionate and as such you will regularly benefit from the softness of its fur.


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Activity will be important for this feline to maintain its strength and avoid becoming overweight. Because of their heavy physique, they do not have the reputation of being very dynamic cats.


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This living room cat knows how to relax. This is not a light or svelte breed, so its normal that these cats are usually very calm when fully grown.


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This breed knows what they want and will communicate it to their owners.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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British Shorthairs appreciate the company of their owners but will need some time to familiarise themselves with new people. It all depends on the individual and how shy they are. A gradual introduction, that is not rush will help your cat adapt.


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As long as they are left with enough distractions, these cats will beat boredom with their curiosity. They will be fine in your absence, but eager to spend time with you when you come back.

Behaviour of the British Shorthair


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Their expressive faces are enough for them to communicate. Their voices don’t carry as much as other breeds. But if you would like your cat to ‘talk’ to you more, give him a treat every time he meows.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Nothing beats playing with their owners for these cats to display their physical abilities.

Tendency to run away

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This breed is naturally curious and is likely to go exploring. It is recommended to have secure doors and windows.

Greedy / Gluttony

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This cat’s strong, muscular build can encourage them to eat more than they need to, instead of being physically active. It is possible to occupy them in a playful way, using interactive bowls, while encouraging them to eat a little slower.


British Shorthair and cats

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Cats do not typically seek the company of other cats, but your British Shorthair will be friendly with another cat, as long as the two are well introduced.

British Shorthair and dogs

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Your cat will have some initial difficulty communicating and understanding the intentions of a dog. By being patient, and educating your dog well, a relationship can be established between the two, ensuring that your cat has a space that is its own.

British Shorthair and children

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This cat has the head of a teddy bear and the body of a soft toy, but children must never treat them like one! As long as your children are well educated and respect animals then there is every possibility that they will form a great relationship with your cat.

British Shorthair and the elderly

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The fact that their physiques make them more placid than others. An adult British Shorthair can be a very good cat for an elderly person.


On average, the price of a British Shorthair kitten is between £150 and £500. The price varies for a number of reasons, including the lineage of the kitten, the breeder, age, or even sex. On average it will cost around £30 per month to meet their needs and provide good quality food.


Regular brushing is advised to get rid of dead hair. During the spring moult, the British Shorthair will lose a significant amount of fur, which is extremely thick. So it is better to get your cat used to regular grooming sessions.


Other than when they are moulting, a weekly brushing will suffice thanks to their short hair.

Nutrition of the British Shorthair

It is important that their diet is adapted to their living conditions and the individual. This cat can become overweight which can affect motor skills and health. Your vet’s recommendations should be followed.

Health of the British Shorthair

Life expectancy

They tend to live for 14 to 18 years.

Strong / robust

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Fairly robust in their nature, their thick coats give them good protection against the cold.

Tendency to put on weight

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Their reputation for being quite a docile cat might also encourage weight gain. It is vital to watch their weight and consult your vet.

Common illnesses

The British Shorthair may develop the same illnesses as any other cat, such as oral diseases.

Some diseases are specific to this breed:

  • Polycystic kidney disease - a disease resulting in the development of cysts that will prevent the normal functioning of the kidney. As a result, incurable kidney failure will occur. Only veterinary care and a specialised diet can delay the disease and improve the quality of life of the cat.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy results in the thickening of the heart muscle. By deteriorating, this illness causes heart failure that can result in arrhythmias, lung edema or even thrombosis of an artery. Screening is done by means of an echocardiography examination, which is usually renewed annually. A treatment can be administered to improve comfort.


The number of kittens per litter is on average around 4. Puberty occurs around the age of 6 months in females and 7 months for males. 

The International Cat Association authorises breeding with the Highland Fold and the Manx. Other cross breeding with the Cymric and the American Wirehair are authorised by the French Feline Federation.

Good to know

The definitive colour of the cat’s eyes will only appear after 2 and a half months and they then slowly develop their adult bodies, notably their thick fur.

Origins and history

Their first exhibition dates from 1871 when they were presented in London at Crystal Palace. They automatically bore the name of British Shorthair in order to differentiate them from certain breeds present at this exhibition who had long hair.
After the Second World War, many breeds began to die out. To bring the British Shorthair back to life, crosses with the Persian allowed their coat to expand and to differentiate more clearly from other breeds such as the Chartreux.


Good names for a British Shorthair cat: Cody, Floss, Nut, Sun

Find out name ideas for your cat here

Frequently asked questions

How much is a British Shorthair kitten?

Are British Shorthair cats lazy?

How long do British Shorthair live for?

Do British Shorthair shed a lot?

Do British shorthairs make good indoor cats?