British Shorthair Colours and Patterns

Lets learn about British Shorthair colours and patterns. Most people think of a British Blue as being the colour of the British Shorthair breed. It is certainly the most popular and well known colour. In actual fact though there are literally hundreds of colour and pattern combination British Shorthairs being bred all over the world. From basic black to cinnamon and golden the range of colors and patterns is huge.

Lets start with a quick lesson in colours

British Shorthair Base Colours

Cats come in three base colours, black, chocolate and cinnamon. There is also red which is a colour that is carried on a cats X chromosone so it is linked to the sex of the cat ie male (XY) or female (XX). White is a special gene that makes the hair grow with no pigment. If the cat did not have that gene it would be one of the base colours. Think of white as a coloured cat with the colour switched off.

British Shorthair Dilute Colours

Another set of genes acts on the three base colours and red to make them a dilute version of themselves. Black becomes blue, red becomes cream, chocolate becomes lilac and cinnamon becomes fawn.

Tortoiseshell British Shorthairs

Tortoiseshell is a mix of two colours. As noted above red is a funny, differnt colour gene in that it is located on the X chromosome in cats. Boys only get one X gene but girls get two. When girls get an X gene with red and an X gene with another colour they show both colours mixed together. The result is a tortoiseshell or tortie British Shorthair.

British Shorthair and White Spotting (Bicolours)

Yet another gene is responsible for producing bicolour British Shorthairs. It affects the way the colour pigments spread along the kittens bodies in the womb. It spreads out and down the spine but in kittens with the bicolour gene it slows the spreading of colour down so that the colour doesn’t reach their chest or feet. That is why bicolours have a random pattern and every one is different.

Tortoiseshell bicolour cats are more patched that a standard tortoiseshell. Tortie bicolours are more blobs of colour and standard torties are more a blend of colours. This is because the white spotting gene also makes the colour genes on a tortoiseshell clump up into patches rather than spread out all over.

Other British Shorthair Patterns

British Shorthairs also come in colourpoint which is the original Siamese pattern and the same pattern as Ragdolls. They are less common but very pretty with darker colour on the colder parts of the body and a whiter body. British Shorthairs also come in tabby patterns. Black silver tabby is very popular but they also come in choclate and lilac tabby etc. They can be incombinations of colours and patterns too. So think chocolate silver tabby and white for example. So much variety.

Then there is silver and golden British Shorthairs. Golden is very popular at the moment and a very pretty look.

British Shorthair Eye Colour

The colourpoint British Shorthair will have blue eyes and tabbies can have green eyes. Solid colour British Shorthairs (blue, black etc) have copper eyes.