The British Shorthair, probably the oldest English breed of cat, traces its ancestry back to the domestic cat of ancient Rome. This breed was first prized for its physical strength and hunting ability, but soon became equally recognized and valued for its calm demeanor, endurance, and loyalty to man.
The British Shorthair is a comparatively rare cat in the United States. Around 1980, it was recognized for championship competition by the Cat Fanciers' Association, stimulating much needed interest in the breed. Recognized worldwide, many fine "Brits" are still imported today from England, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia to help widen the gene pool for breeders in the United States.
Although the breed was first known as the British Blue due to its original color, breeders incorporated a wide variety of colors under the term British Shorthair in the 1950s. The CFA also now recognizes the British Shorthair in many different colors and patterns.
A British Shorthair is always in quiet control of his or her environment, supervising everyone and everything that happens in the family. A larger-size cat that prefers to be on the ground, Brits are not known for acrobatics or speed. However, they are steadfast companions to the entire family and definitely look before they leap. When gracelessness is observed, the British Shorthair is duly embarrassed, quickly recovering with a Cheshire Cat smile. Because of its easygoing nature and intelligence, it has become a favorite of animal trainers, for use in Hollywood films and television commercials. The British Shorthair has a short, plush coat with a luxurious feel, and is very easy to groom.