Size and Physical Characteristics

Face: Big, round.  Short nose.  Chubby cheeks. Big eyes, color depends on fur color.
Fur: Short, dense. Many colors and patterns.
Adult Weight: Males: 9-17  pounds.  Females: 7-12  pounds
Size/Shape: Medium to large.  Well rounded, with massive head and seemingly no neck.
Legs: Short to medium in length.  Muscular and heavily boned.  Large paws.
Tail: Not as long as body.  Tapers slightly from wide base to rounded tip.
Voice:  Quiet.  Rarely chatty.

British Shorthairs have bright eyes whose color matches the color of that velvety thick fur. They are round and massive, though not quite as large as those of the cat breed that most resembles them, the Exotic Shorthair. Brits are built for power, but there’s nothing extreme about these symmetrical and well balanced beauties.

Eye color matches fur color

The first things you notice about a British Shorthair are its brilliant eyes and its fur.  Copper or golden eyes are quite common, but these cats also have blue, green, or hazel eyes, depending on their fur color.

The British blue color is famous, but purebred Brits also come in a variety of solid colors, tabbies, bicolors, calicoes, and tortoiseshells.  Basically the only colorings they don’t have are Siamese-like points, chocolate, and lavender, which all come from outcrossing (which is no longer allowed).

Surprisingly, their luxuriously dense fur is a single coat.  There is no layering or undercoat.  The hair doesn’t feel wooly, either, although it is so thick that it breaks apart here and there as Kitty moves.

Round, muscular, and in balance

This breed’s chubby, round face is so adorable!  Its ears are only medium sized and set wide apart, but they fit smoothly into the spherical contours of the Brit’s head.  The nose is broad, and the muzzle stops sharply a little way beyond the cat’s big, curvy whisker pads.  Kitty’s chin is firm and lines up with the nose and upper lip.  Males often have noticeable jowls or what is referred to at shows as Chipmunk Cheeks.

Because of all that fur, the British Shorthair’s round head appears to sit directly on its body.  Believe it or not, there actually is a neck in there, though it is very short.  The body is round and stocky, shaped sort of like a corn cob.  A British Shorthair has lots of muscle, but it is always very well balanced, never muscle-bound.

The chest is very broad.  All four legs are moderately short but in proportion with the body.  A British Shorthair walks very confidently, though it’s hard to see those round paws because of all the fur.  This cat’s round, furry tail is about two-thirds the length of the body, thick at the base and tapering to a rounded tip.

Characteristics Unique to the Breed:

The word “round” appears 15 times in the Cat Fanciers Association breed standard for the British Shorthair.  The British blue color is also very famous and was the breed’s original fur color.

Rounding out the British Shorthair

The European wildcat isn’t particularly round, and neither were the domestic cats that lived with Romans two thousand years ago.  Somehow, though, when those two breeds got together, they created a roly-poly wonder.

The British Shorthair has a round head, big round eyes, a round forehead and face, round paws, and even rounded tips on its ears and tail!  This spherical shapeliness comes from the underlying bones and muscles, but the Brit’s velvety fur makes everything smooth, soft, and even more cuddly.