British Shorthair adult in black and white

British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is known to be the inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

About the British shorthair

British Shorthairs are intelligent, affectionate and without a temperamental side. They are tolerant of children and dogs, making them excellent family cats.

While they like to be around their owners, they prefer to keep their feet on the ground and will not be comfortable when carried around. They are quite content with their own company, and able to amuse themselves if they are left alone in the home.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from World Cat Congress (WCC)

Breed specifics

Country
United Kingdom
Coat
Short coat
Size category
Medium
Avg life expectancy
14–20 years

Loyal / Affectionate / Quiet / Intelligent

Key facts

  • Needs moderate grooming
  • Suited to indoor and outdoor life
  • Low maintenance
British Shorthair adult in black and white

Origins of the breed

It is believed that the British Shorthair is descended from Roman cats which were brought to the British Isles by the Romans. These cats would probably have interbred with the indigenous cats on the island and continued to be house pets, which were valued for their ability to catch rodents.

During the 19th century in England, interest in pedigree cats flourished and breeders sought to have their domestic cat recognised in its own right. These cats were first shown at the Crystal Palace, in London, in 1871. At this time, they were also bred with Persians.

A British Shorthair's life story

Find out how to care for the British Shorthair in each stage of its life.