A naturally occurring type on the streets of Great Britain’s cities and towns, the British Shorthair was refined into a recognized breed near the close of the 19th century. Breeders, who admired the intelligence and health of the cat, began to breed the “best”.
The cat is generally healthy, strong, smart, and a skilled mouser. It can adapt to virtually all situations but generally appears happiest when allowed some time outdoors. The British Shorthair quickly comes to love all who show it affection, especially children.
There are many varieties, sharing the same general physical characteristics. The fur is short but dense. The body is stocky and muscular with short, muscular, and rounded at the tip. The head is proportionately large and round, with a short nose and a well-defined chin. The eyes are round and large, and the ears are medium and rounded at the tips.
The White British Shorthair has three varieties: blue-eyed (often deaf), orange-eyed, and odd-eyed. Black British Shorthairs are coal black with copper, gold, or orange eyes.
The Cream British Shorthair is extremely rare, especially a perfect specimen, because of the tendency for tabby patterns to accompany its cream color. The first of this variety appeared in tortoiseshell litters late in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1920 that the intricacies of purposefully breeding for it was developed and the variety was officially recognized.
Blue British Shorthairs, with copper orange eyes, appear identical to the Chartreux from France. Although some experts claim that the Chartreus is greyer in color, the two are generally placed in the same class in U.S. and British shows. The Chartreux is said to have been bred by the Carthusian monks.
The Blue-Cream British Shorthair combines the blue and cream colors from which it was developed in a smoothly intermingled mix. It is almost always a female. The eyes are copper, orange, or gold.
There are two tabby patterns. The Classic pattern has three stripes running along its back, a spiral on each has three stripes across its chest like necklaces. Its forehead bears the letter “M.” The Mackerel pattern resembles that of the tiger. It has more stripes than the Classics and no spirals on its flanks. Either pattern can occur in one of three varieties: brown, silver, or red.
Tortoiseshell British Shorthairs have black coats with patches of cream and red. A variety of this type of the Tortie-and-White, which also has white patches. The Smoke British Shorthair can occur in either black or blue topcoats over a white undercoat. Tipped British Shorthairs are the result of complicated selective breeding, giving a cat with a coat tipped in any recognized color.
See more: British Spotted Shorthair
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