The British Shorthair cat is the largest of the shorthair breeds and its rounded features are said to resemble a teddy bear.
It is probably the oldest British cat breed and its ancestory can be traced back to the cats that were taken from Egypt to Rome and later to Britain. It is likely the ancestors of the modern British Shorthair arrived in Britain after the 2nd century AD when the Roman Empire spread to Britain.
The breed was first prized for its physical strength and hunting ability but it was soon equally recognised and valued for its calm demeanor, endurance and loyalty to man.
The father of the cat fancy, Harrison Weir favoured this breed and his enthusiasm encouraged the popularity of The British Shorthair breeding in the late nineteenth century. He entered a British in to the first ever cat show held at Crystal Palace in 1870 and it won Best in Show.
The British Shorthair has a compact, cobby, well balanced, strong body with short legs, round paws, broad chest and shoulders with thick round tipped tail.
The head is round set on a short thick neck with chubby cheeks, short broad nose and pronounced whisker pads. Ears are rounded and set well apart. Eyes set well apart are large, well-opened and round.
The coat is short and dense, with a texture that is not particularly soft but smooth and carpet like. This coat requires little grooming.
The British Shorthair make ideal family pets. They are a very easy going breed that are not terribly demanding for attention. They are quiet, loyal, affectionate, even tempered and have few health problems. They are quite independant but love to have your company and attention.
Slow to mature they will play like kittens well past their kitten stage. They fit well in to the household environment and having such a stable character can adapt to indoor living with ease.
Due to their excellent temperaments and high intelligence the British Shorthair has become a favourite with animal trainers and in recent years these cats have appeared in films and television commercials.
The original British Shorthair cats had blue coats and the breed was once known as the 'British Blue'.
Nowdays although the blue remains one of the most popular colours there are many other colours and patterns: white, black, chocolate, cream, lilac, tortoiseshell, red, cinnamon, fawn and blue-cream. With white and a colour you get bi and tri coloured cats and the patterned cats include spotted, tabby, tortie, colourpointed and tipped.