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12 Best British Shorthair Colors (With Pictures) | From Cinnamon to Lilac

Round cheeks, fathead, short, soft thick coats, large amber-colored eyes, a rounded body and short, thick coats – it’s true, the British Shorthair is the epitome of a cuddly teddy bear. 

When the mention of a British Shorthair comes up, the first image is the classic British shorthair Blue: a pretty kitty with a solid blue-grey coat and bright copper-amber eyes. However, British shorthair colors vary widely. They even include some novel hues such as lilac, smoke, fawn, chocolate…the list goes on.

Along with the array of colors, these kitties come in many patterns and have diverse eye colors. So, before we carry on about the cuteness overload of these adorable fur-balls, let’s take an in-depth look at what these gorgeous kitties can manifest.

Then, you can check your British Shorthair’s paws, undercoat, muzzle, and markings to see what exactly your precious kitties’ color is. 

British blue cat chewing red ball of threads


History of the British Shorthair Cat

This is a breed of cat with a long history. When the Romans invaded Britain, they brought cats to protect their food supply. The cats stayed behind even when the Romans left, as the Brits had fallen under the spell of these charming kitties.

The breeding of pedigree cats became popular in Victorian England, and the British shorthair was one of the first breed varieties to be developed. The British longhair came about in World War 1 when cross-breeding was done with Persian cats.

British shorthairs nearly died out during World War 2 due to food shortages. After the war, those who survived were crossbred and the breed survived. The American Cat Association recognized the British Blue shorthair in 1967, The International Cat Association in 1979 and the Cat Fanciers Association in 1980.

British Shorthair Personality and Characteristics

The classic British shorthair cat has round paws, small rounded ears set apart, a stocky body, and a broad chest. Its round face usually has a snub nose, round eyes, a strong chin, and a hint of a smile. The British shorthair tail even has a round tip.

They’re pretty heavy-boned for a cat, with big muscles that give it a lot of bulk. It’s a strong feline, no doubt about it — even its jaws are strong and its neck and muzzle are well-developed, too. 

As a result of this singular stockiness, when you pick up a British Shorthair, you should always make sure you support their bottom part with your arm or hand. Don’t let their hind legs hang down as they drag on their bulky bodies and pull on the abdomen, causing discomfort. 

The British Shorthair is nonetheless a very popular cat breed. These friendly kitties are easy-going and loyal, and make for placid companions. They like quite a bit of attention from their owners but aren’t needy — they’re quite at home playing alone if their human is busy. 

They also don’t need attention on the hour every hour, making them excellent pets for busy owners. Females of the breed tend to have a more serious demeanor than males, though.

blue british short hair

12 Colored British Shorthair Cats

Twelve colors might not seem like many options, but most British Shorthair colours mentioned in detail here are of the solid color variety. 

Monochrome (solid-color) kitties are sleek and stylish. These felines have an equally distributed color throughout their bodies, without any stripes, patterns, white hairs, or spots. These classic solid colors include blue and lilac to mar their pristine hue.

These classic solid colors of British Shorthair cats include blue, black, and lilac, to name a few (you won’t see any gray cats here). The more unusual colors are cream, red, and chocolate. And, the or brown. The rarest and most interesting solid colors are the fawn and cinnamon.

The first eight of these colors are of the solid variety. The last four look further at a few patterns and mixes found on these fabulous British Shorthair kitty’s coats.

1. Blue British Shorthair

The classic “British Shorthair Blue” is, in many people’s minds, the essence of the British Shorthair. These kitties have dense coats with light to medium blue-gray coloring. The coat should be a solid (monochrome) color. While the undercoat may be slightly lighter, white is not acceptable on these blue felines.

Portrait of British shorthair cat white white background
British Shorthair Cat

Did you know that all blue cats are actually genetically black cats with an additional dilution gene? This gene reduces the amount of pigmentation in the cat’s fur, resulting in a blue appearance.

A typical adult British Blue’s eye color is a rich amber or a golden, coppery orange. Their paw pads and muzzles should all be ‘blue’ in color.

2. Lilac British Shorthair

Lilac isn’t a standard color for a cat — ask the fans of the Lilac Point Siamese.

The ultra-pretty British Shorthair lilac possesses a combination of gray, blue, and pink tones on their coats. Their fur varies, from cold lavender to warm pinkish gray. This color is actually a chocolate cat with the dilution gene. This gene reduces the pigment in the fur so the chocolate looks lilac.

The tips on their noses and paw pads blend with the appearance of their fur. At the same time, their eyes are bright, orange-copper, or amber in color.

These make for some of the most intriguing British Shorthair kitties.

3. Black British Shorthair

A Black British Shorthair is challenging to find and appears almost whimsical in its jet black coat. Sometimes, a kitten is born black and changes its color to chocolate as they grow older.

black british short hair cat with blue flowers
British shorthair black

Like their solid color coats, these kitties’ paw pads and tiny noses are also black. The beautiful contrast to their fur arises with their classic copper, orange or golden color eyes.

4. White British Shorthair

White British Shorthair cats are loved for their pure, snow-white fur, without smoky or yellow undertones, spots, and stripes. Plus, there are a ton of cute white cat names you can take advantage of.

A British Shorthair white cat’s paw pads and muzzle should also be pink without any coloration. All white cats are technically colored cats in disguise, as they have a white gene which, in effect, masks their “true” colors., turning their fur white. It makes you wonder what shade they would’ve been without that gene!

These gorgeous kitties usually have sapphire blue eyes, so they’re also known as blue-eyed white British Shorthair cats. However, you can also get orange-eyed white British Shorthair felines with copper, amber, or gold color eyes.

On the odd occasion, you can pick up a kitty with a rare occurrence of heterochromia. It’s also referred to as having “odd eyes”, where your white British Shorthair may have one sapphire blue eye and one golden eye.

up close face of white british short hair

5. Red British Shorthair (Ginger)

The Red British Shorthair, better known as a Garfield Breed, inherited its genes from Persian cats and other red-colored cat breeds of exotic ancestry.

These orange British shorthair cats often come in with tabby markings on their paws and foreheads, as their beautiful color often necessitates cross-breeding. So it’s one of the only solid colors with a little variation in its purity.

Two little Ginger british shorthair cats over white background

Their eyes are a rich orange or copper color and the tips of their noses and paw pads have some red, brick tones. These felines’ coat colorings rarely have a solid or even red color and typically come in an uneven distribution of color thanks to that tabby influence.

If you want some fun names for your red British Shorthair, take a look at these inspired names for ginger cats.

6. Cream British Shorthair

Cream-colored British Shorthairs are pale, vaguely reminiscent of red, which appears if a white gene is present in the feline. So these cats have a soft, pastel shade of pale off-white fur.

This adorable creamy kitty’s noses and paws are a cute pink color. Their eye pigments shine that beautiful, yet typical, British Shorthair orange, gold, or copper color. This gives them a rich contrast from their light fur.

Like the red British Shorthair cats, these beautiful nighttime meow machines sometimes have pale tabby markings (in the human equivalent, that’s freckles).

7. Chocolate British Shorthair

Chocolate British Shorthairs receive their coloration from cross-breeding with chocolate Persians. Like British Blues, any visible white hairs, or hair of any other colors, are not acceptable for this breed to be acknowledged as a true chocolate.

british short hair face chocolate

However, the brown British shorthair cat’s coat color can vary in any chocolate shade – from 70% cocoa intense to paler milk chocolate. Their coat tones are also called Havana or chestnut; sometimes, they can even be called a brown British Shorthair cat.

The coat color and rich orange or copper eyes contrast these cinnamon British Shorthair cats. Their paw pads and nose tips are either chocolate or pink in color – too cute!

8. Cinnamon British Shorthair Cats

Cinnamon-colored kitties are considered pretty rare, and British Shorthair lovers highly prize them if they can get their paws on them (excuse the pun). Like their name, the Cinnamon British Shorthair color resembles the diluted chocolate. It’s a warm, medium-brown color with copper or reddish-brown undertones.

The British Shorthair cinnamon cat’s eyes are bright amber or orange in hue. Also, these kitties’ muzzles and paw pads will always be a pink or cinnamon color.

They’re not to be confused with a chocolate British Shorthair, though, and the color of their eyes and paw pads will show that you won’t be mistaken.

brown british short hair kitten

9. Fawn British Shorthairs

The British Shorthair fawn color is the most rare and exotic of the solid colors, making it highly valuable. Yes, even more so than the cinnamon. Fawn-colored British Shorthairs have beautifully soft, mushroom-colored coats with a rosy hue. Their sweet little noses and paw pads are a pinkish fawn color.

In appearance, the coat will seem to have a diluted cinnamon pigment. But ultimately the only way to definitively prove you have the proper fawn British Shorthair is to have a DNA test to confirm they have the gene. Both parents have to have the gene to ensure this. 

If they’re an unconfirmed fawn (in other words, you haven’t forked out for the DNA tests etc.), these cats are often referred to as blue or cream-colored instead. Apparently, it’s a big no-no to tote around your “fawn” kitty unless you can prove it on paper.

10. Tortoiseshell British Shorthair

Tortoiseshell British Shorthair kitties have a combination of tabby patterns with patches of solid shades, giving you a mosaic pattern on your feline’s coat. Their eyes should be a copper, orange, or amber color with no other shades permitted.

Only female British Shorthair cats can be tortoise as the gene for this color is linked to sex-specific and carried on the female X chromosome, similar to the calico cat coloring. However, their offspring can be a myriad of colors, making them a fun lucky-mix to choose from if your heart is set on a tortie.

tortoiseshell tabby british short hair colors

Take a look at some of the tortie tones and their different coloring combinations:

  • Blue Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — blue and cream spotted pattern, possibly cream nose
  • Chocolate Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — brown and red highly saturated tones
  • Black Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — black and red evenly distributed with specks, though its head has both red and blue coloring
  • Cinnamon Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — cinnamon and red shades in equal proportions, it’s an extremely rare breed
  • Lilac Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — lilac and cream combination, but may have some red colors incorporated
  • Fawn Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — fawn and cream spots, a very rare breed with cream nose and paw pads
  • Smoke Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — a combination of classic tortie colors with a smoke-colored or silver undercoat)
  • Tabby Tortoiseshell British Shorthair — a mixture of standard tortie colors with tabby patterns including stripes, marbling, and spots. Color points can include bi-color, tri-color, calico, or tortoiseshell with white

11. Tabby British Shorthair

The Tabby markings in British Shorthair felines fall into three main categories, namely;

  • Classic tabby British Shorthair
  • Mackerel tabby British Shorthair
  • Spotted tabby British Shorthair

The markings should be well-defined and dense in color in all three varieties. These markings should not be brindled, and there should be no white hairs.

british short hair tuxedo

In classic, spotted, and mackerel tabby cats, the face markings should include the “M” on their forehead – looking like a rather concerned kitty with a frown. There should be lines running over the head and down the shoulders. If they cover their face, it won’t be because they’re moping, though.

In various tabby cats, the tail should have ring-shaped markings, and the tip of the tail should be the same color as its stripes. Their bellies and toes should have spotted markings and rings on their legs and paws.

Symmetry is important, and markings should be reflected on either side. 

Other types of British Shorthair tabby colorings include:

  • Black and black silver
  • Blue and blue silver
  • Chocolate and chocolate silver
  • Lilac and lilac silver
  • Red and red silver
  • Cream and cream silver
British cat with a Christmas ball

12. Color Point British Shorthairs

Colorpoint cats are distinguished by special color marks, with light-colored bodies and contrasting colors on their paws, tails, masks, and ears. British Shorthair colorpoint kitties inherit their markings from the Siamese and Himalayan cats.

This pattern comes about from a colorpoint gene that prevents the development of color on the warmer parts of the cat. The effect is that the cat’s extremities are a darker color than its body.

white silver british short hair face

The areas of concentrated pigments are called “points” and come in every color of the British Shorthair cat, from lilac to cinnamon, tabby, and calico.

Two factors unite colorpoint felines, namely:

  • Blue eyes
  • Lighter colors on their bodies and darker colors on their extremities

There are several groups of colorpoints found on British Shorthair kitties, namely:

  • British Shorthair Smoke (silver)
  • British Shorthair Tabby
  • British Shorthair Tortoiseshell (tortie)
  • British Shorthair Shaded and Shell (also called chinchilla)
  • British Shorthair Bi-color and tri-color variants (van cats)
  • British Shorthair Classic

Color Myths

Different fur colors on cats are linked to different myths about what those colors mean. For example, gold fur on a cat could mean that this cat will bring you wealth (who wouldn’t want that?). And if that gold has faded then you are lucky. White cats are said to attract positive energy and happiness.

Two British Shorthair kitten cat isolated

Are black cats really unlucky? Apparently not. Some believe that black cats provide the type of energy which keeps evil energies away.

What about the traditional British Shorthair blue? Blue cats are said to make their owners feel safe and to bring academic fortune.

British Shorthair Grooming

The short, dense coat should be brushed two to three times a week, preferably daily. This is a breed that is usually quite easy to groom. Owners will need to increase the frequency of their brushing with a good quality brush in the spring and fall as shedding increases in preparation for the seasonal coat.

british shorthair blue face

The non-fur grooming requirements for British shorthairs are relatively typical. Trim nails as needed, which is usually weekly. Brush their teeth frequently with cat toothpaste. Check your cat’s ears weekly for any unusual marks or bumps or smells.

Health Concerns for British Shorthair Cats

Yes, there are a few health problems that can be specific to British Shorthairs. Here are the most notable ones. 

1. Obesity

Because these cats have a naturally heavy bone structure and muscular system, they don’t need any extra weight piled on. Making sure they keep at least mildly active by playing with toys and ensuring a well-balanced diet with healthy treats is very important. 

corgi and british shorthair cat under blanket
British shorthair under a rug with a corgi

One defective gene and boom, your cat has polycystic kidney disease (PKD). It was first discovered in Persian cats, and later in British Shorthairs thanks to the cross-breeding of Persians in their ancestry. 

The cysts are present at birth and grow until they engulf the organ. Symptoms usually become very apparent at around seven years of age, when they’ll experience vomiting, weight loss, and excessive thirst.

2. Heart Disease

For British Shorthairs, heart disease is a congenital problem that the breed is genetically predisposed to. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form they experience, where the heart muscle thickens thanks to an overactive thyroid gland. Regular vet check-ups are the only way to keep an eye on this disease from developing as cats are good at hiding their illness. 

3. Polycystic Kidney Disease

One defective gene and boom, your cat has polycystic kidney disease (PKD). It was first discovered in Persian cats, and later in British Shorthairs thanks to the cross-breeding of Persians in their ancestry. 

The cysts are present at birth and grow until they engulf the organ. Symptoms usually become very apparent at around seven years of age, when they’ll experience vomiting, weight loss, and excessive thirst.

british short hair chincilla white up close
British Shorthair Chinchilla

4. Cataracts

A sort of coronavirus (or flu virus) can cause Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). All cats can potentially carry this virus in a dormant state; it just needs some mutations to activate it and attack the cat’s immune system. 

British Shorthairs seem to be more prone to developing the mutation and resultant FIP, which damages the blood vessels and causes fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen.

Older Shorthairs often develop cataracts, turning their eyes opaque and leading to blindness ultimately. It’s not uncommon in many older pets, though, and there are surgeries to remove the cataracts if you want to improve their vision. 

5. Arterial Thromboembolism

If your cat has heart disease, it may get blood clots in its arteries. They’re referred to as feline arterial thromboembolisms (FATE). Most commonly, the clots get stuck just behind the aorta, hindering normal blood flow to the hind legs and causing them to go cold and paralyzed. It’s painful and requires immediate vet care, so FATE is nothing to sniff at. 

6. FIP Susceptibility

A sort of coronavirus (or flu virus) can cause Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). All cats can potentially carry this virus in a dormant state; it just needs some mutations to activate it and attack the cat’s immune system. 

British Shorthairs seem more prone to developing the mutation and resultant FIP, which damages the blood vessels and causes fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen.

Frequently Asked Questions about British Shorthairs

Have any burning questions left about British Shorthairs? Here are all the answers to the most common questions.

1. What are Rare British Shorthair Colors?

In terms of solid colors, cinnamon, and fawn are the least common British Shorthair colors.

2. Do British Shorthairs Like to be Held?

They can go either way. They will put up with cuddles for a little while but they would rather not be picked up and held. A British Shorthair cat’s idea of affection is sitting next to you on the sofa.

3. Do British Shorthairs Damage Furniture?

If a British Shorthair has no other option for scratching but your furniture, then yes, you can expect damage. However, if you get an appropriate scratching post or similar scratching options for your kitty, your furniture should escape unscathed.

4. How many hours do British Shorthair Cats sleep?

Like all cats, British shorthairs enjoy a good amount of shut-eye. They can sleep for up to 20 hours in one day. However, between ten and 16 hours is far more common.

5. Can I Leave My British Shorthair on its Own?

British Shorthairs are one of the more independent cat breeds. They can probably stay on their own for up to three days. However, while they might handle the solitude better than other breeds of cats, they would still prefer to have some company

6. Do British Shorthairs Jump?

Like most cat breeds, British Shorthairs absolutely like to jump. Jumping and climbing is totally natural for cats and they tend to be fearless – which makes sense considering they always land on their paws!

However, British Shorthairs are less interested in climbing than some other breeds. This may be due to their larger size. But don’t be surprised if your British Shorthair spends a lot of time running around your home on the floor.

7. How Loud are British Shorthair Cats?

British Shorthair cats are one of the chattier breeds of cats. Although there will be some exceptions, most British Shorthairs aren’t afraid to meow. Expect to hear the most meows when they are hungry, want to go inside or outside, or are keen for your attention.

8. Are British Shorthair Cats Lazy?

Relative to some other cat breeds, British shorthairs are less active. They tend to prefer short bursts of activity for up to 15 minutes and then want to return to relaxing and lounging. While they have a lower appetite for activity, this is a smart breed, so it may be worth investing in more complex toys to keep their brains active.

A Footnote: British Shorthair Colors

British Short hair kitties come in a bunch of different colors, patterns, and even eye colors. They are defined not only by the color of their fur but also by their undercoats, patterns, eye colors, and even the tinges of their paws and muzzles.

Every kitty color has its own unique characteristics. So, now that we’ve covered all the shades, tinges, and hues of the British Shorthaired felines, what’s your favorite?

british short hair grey tabby face

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Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Your picture of a 'white' is actually a British Tipped. Not a white cat at all but genetically silver.

Amanda OBrien

Wednesday 13th of September 2023

Really? thanks Zizi

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