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British Shorthair or American Shorthair: Differences and Guide

Cat breeds come in many shapes and sizes. If you’re a cat lover like us, it’s very likely you might have heard about British and American Shorthair cats, they are very popular choices in the cat world. If you’re trying to choose a new cat or want to know a little more about these breeds, read on! Meow~

 british shorthair cat


British Shorthair cats have a long-standing history that dates back thousands of years ago where they were (maybe) great soldiers who fought for Caesar the Great. They are hailed as one of the most ancient cat breeds in England and have seen much conquest and glory over the years.

American Shorthair have a shorter historic avenue dating back to 1620. Over a dozen domestic cats travelled from the United Kingdom to the American continent, voyaging as sea kitties on The Mayflower. Keen cat lovers used selective cross breeding between British Shorthairs, Burmese and Persian cats to create an eventual breed that is known as the American Shorthair of today.



While both breeds possess a broad selection of colors, British Shorthairs will typically be a consistent solid color while American Shorthairs are usually tabby.


British Shorthairs patterns are lighter in color.

British Short hair cat

Coat Color:Solid white, black, cream, Russian blue, also bi-color, tabby, calico, smoke, and shaded varieties.

Eye Color: Blue, green, amber, odd-eyed


American Shorthair coat patterns are generally darker, but some of them can also be a solid color.   

American shorthair cat dark pattern

Coat Color:Wide variety of colors and patterns.

Eye Color:Golden, blue, green or amber



British shorthair body is featured by “five shorts”, namely: short hair, short stature, short tail, short limbs and short ears. People love their chunky body and rounded paws.

 British shorthair cat

British Shorthair Cat

American Shorthair are robust cat with strong bodies, they have a similar cobby configuration to the British Shorthair but with a more powerfully built body.

 American Short hair cat

American Shorthair Cat



The head of British Shorthairs are relatively large and rounded, with a short and flat nose. Their eyes are also round and large. Distance between the ears is usually small.

American Shorthairs have an elliptical shaped head, their nose and mouth appear to be ‘square’. Large upper eyelids are almond-shaped, and lower eyelids are arced, creating a striking wide-eyed appearance. Ears tips are round and naturally separate from the top of the head.



British Shorthair coats are short and dense, maintaining a plush and cuddly texture that can be handled with ease.

American Shorthair coats feature a short, thick and smooth consistency which wraps round the body snuggly. Thickness of the coat will adjust depending on seasonal temperatures.



British Shorthair tend to be very Stable.

British shorthair cat

Recognised as a generally easy going and dignified breed, they maintain reputation of calmness and patience. They are not active and playful as American Shorthair but sweet-natured and devoted to their owners. Paw lovers can train their cuddly British cats and enjoy the company of a champion mouser with a prey response.


American Shorthairs are hyperactive cat.

American shorthair cat

American Shorthair cats have a strong curiosity and will approach new environments with cautious enthusiasm. They are friendly and will often come across as cuddly balls of excitement, running high on energy. While they can remain satisfied being on their own, American Shorthairs enjoy attention and companionship, a perfect bonding partner.



British shorthair cat

British Shorthair:

  • Fur is thick and dense giving it greater resistance against cold climates.
  • May have a genetic disease such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or polycystic kidney disease.
  • Sensitive stomach, especially when changing food which can cause cat diarrhea. It’s worth implementing a gradual transition plan when changing a cat’s diet to avoid extreme cases of diarrhea and dehydration.
  • Not overly enthusiastic about daily exercise, weight watching is advised!

american shorthair cat

American Shorthair:

  • Strong, brave and lively. In addition to good environmental adaptability, body resistance is also relatively strong.
  • Prone to genetic heart diseases, occurrence in male cats is higher than that of female cats.
  • Similar weak stomach to British Shorthairs
  • Hyperactive cats, prepare some cat toys to keep your cat from getting bored and to spend their seemingly endless energy reserves.




British Shorthair:


  • Except during coat shedding periods, the shorthair is regarded as an easy groom cat. During season changes, regular care of the cat’s coat will need to be provided. Brushing every day with a cat comb to avoid filling your room with cat hair.
  • British shorthair fur is thick and dense, yet soft and plush. You won’t need to worry too much during cold winters.
  • They are relatively independent cats and will appreciate moments of solitude and quiet.


American Shorthair:


  • In addition to the hair shedding periods, their fur is less likely to shed and is easy to take care of. Regular combing is still recommended.  
  • High IQ, smart and easy to train. They will eventually be able to follow simple instructions.
  • High energy that needs owner interaction often, make time to play regularly throughout the day.


Choosing a cat is a difficult choice, especially for those that are new to the cat world. Shorthairs are a great choice, giving an easier grooming schedule and great personalities.


  • I can’t believe this article ranks no. 1 when a number of the images aren’t even British Shorthairs. You even have a Singapura in there, which is pretty much the smallest cat breed compared to the British, one of the largest cat breeds. If you’re going to write content, please know what you’re talking about. I know this comment won’t be published.

  • Love this site and the information as it gave me exactly what I was looking for in comparing two breeds. Thank you

    Jennifer Holden

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