The British Shorthairs of today are the descendants of domestic cats brought to Britain by Caesar and the conquering Roman Legions. During the 400 years that Rome ruled Britain, these house cats mated with the local European cats to create a hardy breed.
Careful and selective breeding since the 19th century has produced shorthaired cats which conform to a set standard. The best of their characteristics were maintained so that they are now a very hardy cat which has not changed much over more recent years except to add a variety of different colours to the breed.
Harrison Weir, who wrote the first comprehensive book on cats in 1889 gave this breed the most prominent place in his book. He so loved the British street cat that he almost singlehandedly elevated it to a registerable breed.
Until the turn of the century, the British Shorthair was the most popular breed of cat at the cat shows held at the Crystal Palace in London. Then the exotic Persians and Siamese landed on English shores, and so captured the nations cat lovers that it was not until the 1930's that the popularity of the British Shorthair regained some lost ground.
With today's hectic lifestyles, many people find the British Shorthair to be a perfect addition to their household. He is a calm, quite companion who appreciates quality time without demanding your total attention.
The ideal British Shorthair can be described as "square" in body, and having a short, firm, dense coat. This cat is compact, well balanced and powerful having a round muscular body with short and sturdy legs. The tail is short and thick with a rounded tip. The head should be massive and rounded with the ears and eyes set wide apart. The face should have round full cheeks with a short straight nose and a firm chin. The neck is short, strong and well developed.
Big, round, even coloured eyes reveal that this is an animal with "inner strength" and a calm composure which enables it to handle most situations. Females are less massive in all respects than the males with the males in particular, having larger jowls.
The classic, and best known British Shorthair is the British Blue with the lovely deep copper coloured eyes. However, the British come in ALL colours, including black, white, red (yes, just like GARFIELD), cream, chocolate, lilac, blue/cream, tortoiseshell and patched.
Crossing the British with the Himalayan created the very striking colourpoint british shorthair which has lovely BLUE eyes, not the copper eyes of it's more well known counterpart.