American Shorthair Cat vs British Shorthair Cat | What’s the Difference?

Sometimes many pet experts face challenges differentiating between American shorthair and British shorthair. Though these shorthair cousins share similar characteristics, in terms of personalities, several differences have been noticed so far. However, if you’re planning to have one of these shorthair cats in your home, we’re here to help you know which one will be better for you. As the name suggests, this British shorthair cat is regarded as the oldest cat breed, which comes from Great Britain. In the early days, the breed was known as British Blue because blue was a widespread color in the breed. 

The British shorthair was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, although they were referred to as domestic shorthairs at the time. Finally, Cat Fanciers Association formally recognized the British shorthair in 1980. Yet, the scenario is quite different in the American shorthair case. The American Shorthair is most likely descended from European cats, which were transported to the United States to preserve grain and food on ships, cellars, and homes.

The first known breeding of this species occurred in 1904. Since then, this American shorthair cat has become the most popular cat in the United States. Moreover, while discussing American shorthair and British shorthair, you need to know that both shorthair cats share similar types of characteristics. Both cats are friendly, and lively, have pleasant personalities and live longer lives. Then how can you choose between them? Here’s the answer.

American Shorthair vs British Shorthair

However, there are some significant differences that many people are unaware of. As a cat parent, you need to know them very well. Because understanding them completely will assist you in selecting the ideal breed for your home.


Well, starting with the size, the American Shorthair is smaller than her British cousin. A mature American Shorthair weighs between 11–15 pounds. In contrast, a full-grown British Shorthair weighs around 9–17 pounds. Even though both cat breeds are muscular and durable, British Shorthair cats have chunkier bodies than American Shorthair cats. So, if you want a British Shorthair at your home, you’ll need at least two oversized litter pans to adequately accommodate your pet when he’s fully grown.

American Shorthair

Care and Grooming:

Coming to care and grooming, the British shorthair appears to be much heavier in size than the American shorthair. So, you have to spend some extra time grooming them. 

Besides that, this British shorthair tends to lose a lot of its hair. However, the problem of losing hair can bring another issue where these breeds ingest their hair and develop hairballs. To avoid this, you need to comb their coats once a week. Especially in the spring, when your British shorthair is mounting. Even though both breeds need some grooming effort, in the case of American shorthair, care is slightly easier than that of its British counterparts. They require only routine maintenance, including tooth brushing, nail cutting, and coat combing.

British Shorthair


Following the discussion of appearance and care, another critical issue that must be addressed is- health. Because no one wants an unhealthy pet, right? However, both the British or American shorthair is healthy kittens and can live for up to 20 years. But having a longer life span does not guarantee that they would be totally immune to certain ailments.

In terms of health issues, British shorthairs are more likely to acquire problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In this condition, their heart muscle walls get thicker, which causes them difficulty breathing. Aside from this issue, like other breeds, British shorthairs may also have urinary tract and renal problems. As a result, frequent health checks and exercise should be a part of your British shorthair’s life.

Whereas, American shorthairs are prone to acquiring genetic heart disease and weight gain. So, apart from regular checkups, you must ensure that the American Shorthair gets enough activity. Furthermore, both British and American shorthair have weak stomachs, so you must arrange their diet plans carefully to avoid diarrhea, dehydration, and obesity issues. 

American Shorthair Cat vs British Shorthair Cat

Activity and Temperament: 

After discussing health concerns, let’s move on to another topic that all cat lovers are interested in. Yes, you have guessed, right? How much or how little your cats actually are active!! Both the American and British Shorthair are lovely, quiet, and kind. That means they will fit right in most cat-loving households. If you want a loving lap cat with a lot of energy, the American Shorthair breed is great to have in your home. Whereas the British Shorthair cat may be the best choice if you prefer a more easygoing feline companion.

Moreover, if you are away from home for an extended period of time, then an American shorthair may be a great companion in terms of health, strength, and energy. Because they are considerably more clever and independent, you can leave them at home for a longer time. Whereas, British Shorthairs can’t survive being left alone for a few hours, so they are not appropriate as working persons.

Aside from that, both the American Shorthair and the British Shorthair breeds are child and dog-friendly and slow to anger. Whereas the American shorthair tends to be more lively. In fact, they tolerate many things that might irritate other cats. This, once again, qualifies the American breed for a family with children and pets.

Wrapping Up

So, these are the facts about American shorthair vs. British shorthair.  Hope you have found this article insightful, and let us know in the comment section when you are going to get any of these cats.

Murphy Bernier

Murphy Bernier

Murphy Bernier is a New-York based freelance writer, professional blogger and certified dog trainer. She networks shelter pets to help them find homes and volunteers for rescue groups as she is passionate about dog rescue and adoption. From a very early age, she developed extensive animal handling skills from her dad, and that’s where her love for animals started.

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