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Home > Cats > 11 British Cat Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

11 British Cat Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

British Shorthair

Probably what first comes your search engine when you search for “British Cats” is only information about British Shorthairs. But did you know there are many more cat breeds that originate from England? There are big, small, hairy, and nearly-hairless breeds, all coming from Britain and found all over the world.


The 11 British Cat Breeds

1. British Shorthair

British Shorthair Cat
Image: Pixabay
Lifespan 13–20 years
Temperament Laid-back
Colors Blue, white, cream, black, red
Weight 7–17 pounds

British Shorthairs are likely the most popular cat breed to come out of Britain. They were believed to be first brought to Britain from Rome to help control the mouse and rodent population. Over many years, their population began to decline. Whenever their population started to dwindle (which has happened more than once), they were bred with Persian cats to keep the breed alive.

Also known as British Blues for their iconic blue coloring, these cats are loving to their owners and relaxed in temperament. They have broad faces, wide eyes, and a puffy coat of fur.

2. British Longhair

White British Longhair
Image Credit: PxHere
Lifespan 12–15 years
Temperament Sociable, affectionate
Colors Many colors
Weight 8–16 pounds

The British Longhair is much like its Shorthair relative, only that it has longer hair (which might mean a better cat for those with allergies). They likely inherited their long hair from cross-breeding with Persians long ago. A generally friendly and intelligent cat, British Longhairs are great for people of any age and other pets. Don’t smother them, though, as they do appreciate being alone as well.

3. Chinchilla

golden chinchilla cat
Image Credit: Dmitrii Slepnev from Pixabay
Lifespan 12–15 years
Temperament Extroverted and loving
Colors Light undercoat with black or blue tips
Weight 9–12 pounds

You might recognize the name: a Chinchilla is the name of a type of rodent also commonly kept as a pet. These cats look extremely similar to Persians and were born out of a project to create a silver Persian. Chinchilla cat’s most striking features are perhaps its round, green or blue-green eyes. Because their hair is so long, they require frequent brushing Britain to prevent matting.

4. Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex_duodenum82 , Pixabay
Image Credit: duodenum82 , Pixabay
Lifespan 15–20 years
Temperament Playful and charming
Colors Black, blue, lilac, brown, red, cream
Weight 6–10 pounds

Most well-known for their very short, curly coat, Cornish Rex are the most dog-like cat in their species. They want to play all the time, unlike other cats who tend to be more independent. It’s thought that this cat breed came about from a cross between a British Shorthair and a tabby that lived in Cornwall. They have small heads, big ears, and come in all kinds of patterns and colors.

5. Devon Rex

devon rex
Image Credit: Pixabay
Lifespan 9–15 years
Temperament Friendly, relaxed
Colors Many colors
Weight 6–9 pounds

Birthed out of England in the 1950s, the Devon Rex is similar to Cornish Rex, but with shorter, more muscular legs, bigger ears, and smaller whiskers. Devon Rex cats can tend to have straighter hair than Cornish Rex cats as well. The breed’s lineage cannot be properly traced back, but we do know that the first of its kind was born in Devon, England.

Devon Rex cats are very similar in temperament to Cornish Rexes. They are easy to train and will play with you easily.

6. Havana Brown

Havana brown cat
Image Credit: Joan Wozniak, Shutterstock
Lifespan 8–13 years
Temperament Adaptable, affectionate
Colors Brown, red-brown, black-brown
Weight 8–10 pounds

The Havana Brown originally came about due to breeding between a British Shorthair and a Siamese cat. The first litter only had one brown kitten. This kitten went on to sire other litters to create the Havana Brown breed.

Like its name suggests, these cats have a rich, even brown color throughout their coat. Not only do they love your attention, but they will also chat often (just like Siamese cats). If you buy this type of cat breed, be prepared for lots of cat naps on your lap!

7. Asian Cat

asian cat_Pexels_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay
Lifespan 12–18 years
Temperament Attention-seeking, friendly
Colors Many colors
Weight 6–13 pounds

Despite its name, the Asian cat was indeed originally bred in England. It’s also called the Malayan cat, and is very similar to the Burmese breed. In the 1980s, a Burmese and a Chinchilla were bred and the Asian was born.

These cats want to be a part of the family and will surround themselves with people as much as possible. They may even follow you around the house for attention. Along with their personable temperament, they possess a smooth coat and come in short or long-haired varieties.

8. Oriental

Domestic cat - oriental shorthair
Image Credit: Jolanta Jd, Shutterstock
Lifespan 8–12 years
Temperament Intelligent, dedicated
Colors Many colors
Weight 9–14 pounds

Characterized by a long, slender body, long legs and big ears, the Oriental cat is a loyal and smart cat breed. It was originally bread from China’s Siamese cats, as Siamese were extremely popular in Britain for a time. There are Oriental Longhairs as well, but these are much more rare.

Oriental cats are intelligent and independent, but they still require a bit of attention from their owner. They are also known as Foreign Shorthairs.

9. Scottish Fold

Scottish Fold_Sophkins, Pixabay
Image By: Sophkins, Pixabay
Lifespan 11–15 years
Temperament Even-keeled and sociable
Colors Many colors
Weight 6–13 pounds

Scottish Fold is the choice cat breed for Taylor Swift (she has two of them), and for good reason. These cats aren’t overactive, but they also are not lazy. They love to be around people and will welcome your attention, which is easy to give when they have adorable folded ears!

The Scottish Fold’s history is traceable to a single cat named Susie, who had folded ears. When Susie was bred in the 1960s with a British Shorthair, more kittens with folded ears emerged, and the rest is history.

10. Burmilla

Image By: Tomáš Ryant from Pixabay
Lifespan  7–12 years
Temperament Sweet and friendly
Colors Many colors
Weight 8–12 pounds

Burmillas are yet another combination of Burmese and Chinchilla cat breeds. While the Asian cat’s cousin has similar lineage, the Burmillas differ in that their hair is only short. They inherited the Chinchilla’s brilliant green eyes. It’s a fairly new breed, first coming about accidentally in the 1980s, then officially recognized in 1997. Burmillas are muscular on the outside and tender on the inside, sure to win over your heart.

11. Turkish Van

Turkish Van_platinumportfolio, Pixabay
Image By: platinumportfolio, Pixabay
Lifespan 12–15 years
Temperament Active and playful
Colors All white or white with brown or black markings around ears and tail
Weight 12–16 pounds

It’s true, Turkish Van cats have roots in Turkey, but the breed was brought to Britain and further bred for its characteristic markings on its ears and tails. They typically have longer hair. Their eyes are usually green, but could present two different colors (like one blue and one green eye). These cats love to move and will keep you busy, but they also want to be friends. In the United States, only 100 of them are registered pure bred each year, making them a rare cat breed.


There you have it! We hoped you learned a bit about these incredible British cat breeds. Which one do you imagine having as a pet? We know…it is hard to just choose one. Even if you don’t want to adopt one, it was still fun to learn about these amazing cats!

Featured Image Credit: Alexa, Pixabay

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