General Information About The BSH
The British Shorthair descended from cats brought to Britain by the Romans, which then bred with our native cats.
They were later bred to persians to improve their coat thickness. The breed was defined in the 19th century and were shown at the Crystal Palace cat show in 1871. Their popularity declined by the 1940’s, but since the end of WW2 breeding has greatly intensified and they are popular once again.
In 2001 the BSH overtook the persian breed in popularity and became the most popular breed registered with the GCCF. Pawpeds is a huge online database maintained by Hanny Olsen containing just over 45,000 cats’ pedigree information and is very useful and dates back to the beginning of the cat fancy we know today.
The BSH is a large, muscular cat with a rounded, sturdy body. They have broad shoulders, chests and hips with short legs, round paws and a plush (not fluffy) tail. Eyes are large, round and copper coloured. They have very dense, plush coats with full round heads and chubby cheeks. One of the most appealing features of these beautiful cats are their “smile”, caused by their prominent whisker pads. Males are larger than females, adult males having more distinguished cheek jowls. Males weigh 5-10kg, females weigh 5-7kg.
They can live up until they are over 20 years. Average being 14-20. BSH’s come in many colours, the most common/popular being the blue “british blue”. They also come in black, white, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, and fawn, as well as the colourpointed, tabby, spotty & bicolour patterns. All colours & patterns also come in the tortoishell variety which is a mix of red & cream, with other colours. There are also “tipped” colours where the tips of each hair are black.
British Shorthairs are very affectionate, quietly following you from room to room until they can settle contentedly by your side. Gifted with lasting patience and confidence, Brits are especially good with children and other types of pets. A moderately active cat, they are not destructive as a breed, adapting well to any size household. British are very easy going and are affectionate to numerous people in the circle they consider family. These cats are easygoing and stable of character. They are not terribly demanding of attention and are not usually hyperactive. They love to be petted and be near people, but prefer to be on the ground. They are intelligent animals. Most are not fond of being picked up or cuddled.
They don’t require much grooming as their coats do not tangle or matt easily but grooming is useful in the shedding season. I find that a medium and a fine toothed comb are very useful for a fortnightly groom. If not being shown, a furminator can be used with care.
They can be prone to obesity when kept indoors or desexed, although this is easily controlled with diet and exercise. The BSH can be prone to PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), due to outcrosses to Persian & exotic cats, whom are very prone to this. Affected cats will die of kidney failure at approx. 7-8 years old, although it can happen at 2-3 years. It is always fatal. No signs will be visible until 70% of the kidneys have been destroyed by cysts. Nothing can be done, it’s a terminal disease. It’s important to make sure that cats used for breeding are tested and have PKD Negative certification. The FAB (Feline Advice Bureau) has set up screening tests that are now widely available.
The British made wonderful pets and are perfect in my opinion! They are everything you would want in a cat.