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British Longhair

Other names : Highland Straight

British Longhair
British Longhair
Kitten

Just like their short-haired cousin, British Longhairs are recognisable by their round and cuddly look. Whatever the colour of their coat, they are dignified and elegant, but it’s the blue variety that put this breed on the map! Their long fur was long considered a defect, but it is now admired as a whimsical, even endearing trait. One thing is certain: they are a quiet force… with plenty of charm!

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Key facts about the British Longhair

  • Life expectancy : Between 14 and 18 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Calm
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £600 and £900

Physical characteristics of the British Longhair

Adult size

Female cat Approximately 11 in
Male cat Approximately 12 in

The British Longhair reaches adult size around the age of 2 years old.

Weight

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

Coat colour

Black / seal, blue / slate grey, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red, white
All colours are accepted, but blue is by far the most coveted.

Coat patterns

Solid / plain, tabby / striped, colourpoint, bicolour, calico, mink / sepia

Type of coat

Long

Eye colour

Blue, aquamarine, golden yellow, odd / dichroic

Description

Like their short-haired counterpart, the British Longhair is weighty, strong and solid. Their head is spherical with small ears, spaced-out eyes and a short, un-squished muzzle. Their body is round and stocky, giving them the snuggly appearance of a teddy bear. The density of their coat is characteristic to the breed. Although they come in a wide variety of colours, blue is definitely one that they wear well!

Temperament

Affectionate

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Gentle, endearing and warm, it’s always a pleasure to cuddle up with these teddy bears!

Playful

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Although the British Longhair is powerful and muscly, they aren’t known for being particularly active.

Calm

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Their heavy build and ample fur justify their penchant for relaxation! They can be happy as house cats, especially when their environment has plenty of high spots, cat trees and hiding places that allow them to keep themselves occupied with stimulating activities.

Intelligent

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The Highland Straight is curious with an active mind!

Fearful / wary of strangers

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They certainly appreciate the company of the humans they know. But when presented with new people, it’s best to let them take their time and respect their limits.

Independent

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Their calm nature helps them to deal with solitude, but it’s essential that you give them enough attention to prevent them from getting bored.

Behaviour of the British Longhair

Chatty

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The Highland Straight meows very little, but they have a charming little voice!

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Interactive play sessions are often cited as the best way to keep these cats in shape, and they also help you to develop a marvellous relationship with your cat.

Tendency to run away

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Even though these cats are quite the homebodies, they also have the same curiosity that’s characteristic of all cats. So it’s best to stay vigilant.

Greedy / Gluttony

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These cats are known for having a certain tendency for greediness. But if you serve them their biscuits in interactive bowls, you’ll be able to keep them busy and limit their portions, all while forcing them to eat more slowly.

Compatibility

British Longhair and cats

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Being peaceful and tolerant, they adapt easily to the company of other cats. Taking the time to introduce the cats gradually helps them to establish a positive relationship with one another. By keeping to a method of gradual introduction, you’ll improve the chances of success!

British Longhair and dogs

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Training both cat and dog properly helps to build healthy relationships. It’s essential to introduce them at their own pace whilst also ensuring the cat has their own spaces, be they high spots or hiding places, to escape to.

British Longhair and children

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The sweetness and cuddliness of this cat is more than enough to entice children! They will be very tender and peaceful, even with young children. However, it’s important to educate the little ones from an early age so that they fully understand the cat’s body language, which will guide the development of a relationship that’s healthy for all.

British Longhair and the elderly

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Being very tranquil cats, they can suit a calmer person extremely well, as long as they are able to cater to the cat’s needs for physical stimulation.

Price

The average price of a British Longhair kitten is between £600 and £900. This cost varies according to the lineage, breeding, age and sex. For your monthly budget, you should allow on average £35 per month to adequately meet their needs.

Grooming

A regular brushing is essential to eliminate their dead hairs and ensure that knots don’t develop, as their felt-like fur has a tendency to get a bit matted.

Hair loss

In the spring moult period, they tend to lose a fair bit of fur. This means it’s best to get your cat used to frequent grooming sessions, so that when they come around they will be peaceful and pleasant.

Nutrition of the British Longhair

A high quality diet that is adapted to your cat’s age, activity level and medical needs is essential. Due to their heavy build, British Longhairs can be prone to being overweight. Following your vet’s recommendations for your cat’s nutritional needs will help to ensure they keep in good health.

Health of the British Longhair

Life expectancy

Their life expectancy is on average 14 to 18 years.

Strong / robust

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Their long, dense fur protects them from the cold and bad weather.

Tendency to put on weight

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Being fairly quiet and contemplative, the Highland Straight has a propensity for weight gain. If you serve their food in interactive bowls, play with them daily and follow your veterinary team’s advice, they will have a much better chance of keeping active and healthy.

Common illnesses

British Longhairs can suffer from the same diseases as other domestic cats, such as those associated with oral health. But it’s also important to be on the lookout for the following other conditions:

  • Neonatal erythrolysis has a higher diagnosis rate among British Longhairs than other breeds. The disease occurs in newborns and causes death.
  • Polycystic kidney causes the development of cysts that prevent the normal functioning of the kidney and leads to kidney failure. A tailored diet can delay the development of the disease, alleviate the symptoms and allow the cat to live longer.
  • Hypertrophic myocardiopathy is a disease that can affect many non-pedigree breeds. In the long run, it can lead to heart failure. Screening is done by echocardiography, which is usually repeated annually. Cats presenting with the illness may be given treatment to alleviate their symptoms.

Reproduction

Pairings are permitted among both British Longhairs and British Shorthairs. Some other pairings may sometimes be permitted according to the various cat associations.

There are normally about 4 kittens in a British Longhair litter.

Good to know

The British Longhair is much rarer than the short-haired variety, but they are rapidly gaining in popularity in Europe and elsewhere in the world!

Origins and history

Their history is of course linked to that of the British Shorthair. The latter has been popular in England since 1871, when they won their first show. But unfortunately, they were almost completely wiped out during the Second World War. In an attempt to keep the breed alive, the few survivors were crossed with non-pedigree domestic cats. However, cats from these pairings were more slender than their bulky ancestors.

To create rounder, more stocky descendants, new crosses were made, only this time with Persians, thus introducing the long-haired gene. Although the British Longhair was long overshadowed by their short-haired cousins, they are now appreciated for their rarity as much as for their silky appearance.

Names

Good names for a British Longhair cat: Blossom, Hermes, Miss, Rock