These are large, tough looking cats. Because of their masculine appearance, ‘Brits’ are often preferred by man. Brought to the USA from Britain in the early 1900’s, they were only recognized there as a breed in 1970 and then only in blue and black. The original members of this group were developed during the 19th century from ordinary short-haired domestic cats. At one stage, long-haired varieties were also included in breeding programs to improve the type. This resulted in today’s breed british shorthair which is a broad-chested, rather stocky animal with a relatively large head, short strong legs and large round paws. It was one of the first breeds to be shown at the Crystal Palace in London, where the first ‘benched’ cat show was held in 1871.
The European Shorthair is much the same and has similar breed standards. By contrast the American Shorthair, which evolved in an environment with more natural predators, is larger and less stocky, with comparatively longer legs and tai, and a more oblong head.
British Shorthair Physical appearance
A compact, well balanced, powerful and muscular cat with a relatively compact body and short legs. The head is round and set on a short, thick neck. There should be a good width between the ears, which should be small and rounded at the tips. The round face should have full round cheeks and a strong firm deep chin. The forehead should be rounded and lead to a short, broad straight nose. The eyes must be large, round well-opened and set wide apart. The body is cobby, comparatively massive and low-slung with a deep broad chest and short level back. The legs are short and strong, with rounded paws. The tail is thick and of medium length, thicker at the base and rounded at the tip. The coat is short, dense and crisp. Ideally, the density should be such that the coat appears to ‘break’ as the cat moves.
British Shorthair behaviors
Though tough-looking, these ‘gentle giants’ are affectionate and easy going. They adjust well to other pets and children. Their build and weight makes them poor climbers and some are even afraid of heights. They are intelligent and even-tempered; not temperamental. They are moderately active and playful.