British Longhair

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Is the British Longhair right for you?

The basics:
If you’ve ever heard the expression ‘bright-eyed and bushy-tailed’, you might see the British Longhair and wonder if that’s what they meant. Large, round eyes peer expressively from a chubby-cheeked face, and the entire body is covered in a plush coat of long, fluffy hair. However, while the saying refers to someone who is alert and eager, the British Longhair is a laid-back cat, affectionate but dignified. While they can be persuaded to bouts of frenzied play, you are more likely to find them stretched out on the rug or lounging in a windowsill, watching the world go by.

The British Longhair is a breed that developed directly from the British Shorthair, a cat who can trace its roots back to ancient Rome, and is one of the oldest cat breeds in England. In the early 20th century, breeders began to interbreed the British Shorthaired with imported long-haired breeds like the Turkish Angora and the traditional Persian. The result was a cat with the Shorthair’s charming looks, and an impressive fur coat.

Appearance / health:
The British Longhair is a medium-to-large cat with a stout build that is only exaggerated by a dense coat of long, plush fur that stands out from the body. Their chest is broad, and they have short, strong legs, and a relatively short, thick tail. The head, too, is broad and round or even squarish, with a short nose, chubby cheeks, and prominent, rounded whisker pads. The ears are short, and widely set. The British Longhair’s eyes are round and expressive with colors that vary by coat: standard coat colors are usually accompanied by eyes of deep gold and copper, while cats with a pointed coat often have blue eyes, and the silver coat is usually accompanied by eyes of a deep green.

Of course, the distinguishing feature of the British Longhair is the long, thick coat. The plush fur stands away from the body, adding considerable bulk to an already stout frame. This spectacular coat comes in almost all standardly recognized coat colors, and patterns include solid, tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolour, smoke, and tipped. You should be prepared to brush your British Longhair daily to prevent matting and tangles, and some may even need the occasional bath. Bathing should be started as a kitten so they can learn to enjoy it, or at least not fear it.

Unfortunately, the British Longhair is somewhat more prone to an inherited disorder called polycystic kidney disease. Because of this, it is important to do your research before buying a British Longhair cat or kitten. A test is now available to detect the genetic disorder, and many reputable breeders will have their cats tested and placed on an international registry.

The British Longhair is sedentary cat with an enthusiastic appetite, so care should be taken that they do not gain an excessive amount of weight.

Behavior / temperament:
The British Longhair is an amicable, dignified cat – affectionate without being demanding, devoted without being clingy. Perhaps because of their long hair and body heat, they’re not much of a lap cat, but they enjoy being in your company, perhaps snuggling up next to you on the couch. Neither agile nor particularly active, the British Longhair likes to keep all four feet on the ground. You will not find them exploring the tops of your bookcases, or climbing your curtains. They make a great companion for those living in small spaces – they won’t mind at all if it’s not so very far from the food dish to their favorite spot on the sofa. They can be playful, and in particular seem to enjoy brief, kittenish fits of activity.

Though the British Longhair is an even-tempered, friendly cat that you can trust around children, they may not be overly-enthusiastic about spending time with them. In particular, they don’t like to be handled roughly or carried about. They are also tolerant and adaptable to their surroundings, and usually get along well with dogs and other pets, so long as they don’t interfere too much with the time the British Longhair would like to spend with you!


happy, affectionate, loving felines, Sweetheart, wonderful house pet


hair, shedding


nice scratching post, warm beanbags, loud purr, fantastic mouser

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