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Is a Black British Shorthair Possible? The Answer is Surprising!

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By Misty Layne

black britisg shorthair cat lying

British Shorthair cats are increasingly popular, not only in their home country of the UK but also in the United States. And it’s easy to see why! These kitties are gorgeous with their chubby cheeks and big eyes, plus the breed is known for its fabulously friendly personality.

If you’ve been considering getting a British Shorthair, you might wonder what colors the breed comes in. These felines come in a host of colors and patterns, from solid to tabby and more. But do they come in black?

Absolutely! British Shorthairs do come in black (and this color is recognized by most associations); however, this is a rare color, so it isn’t easy to find.

About the British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is one of the older cat breeds around, thought to be descendants of felines carried in by invading Romans to England.1 These cats of the Roman Empire (and their descendants) were kept to provide pest control in the form of rat catching, but it wasn’t long before the breed went from just the few cats that were brought over to being widespread throughout the country. These kitties won over the people of England with their friendly personalities and quickly became pets as well as rat catchers.

But it wasn’t till later on that the modern British Shorthair really came about. The cat we know today got its start in the late 1800s when cat breeder Harrison Weir started to develop the British Shorthair by mixing it with other breeds.2 Then, after World War I, more cat breeds were introduced into the British Shorthair bloodline, some of which were domestic shorthairs, Persians, and Russian Blues.

Though the British Shorthair’s trademark color is blue-gray, these cats come in 30 patterns and colors, including cream, red, black, white, smoke, chinchilla golden, chinchilla silver, shaded golden, shaded silver, classic tabby, mackerel tabby, silver tabby, calico, and bi-color.3

black british shorthair cat in puple background
Image Credit; OksanaSusoeva, Shutterstock

What Does a Black British Shorthair Look Like?

The black color of the British Shorthair has copper or gold eyes and a sleek black coat. The black should cover them entirely, and there should be no brown patches, white hair, or rusty colored spots. The nose should be pure black, but the pads of the paws can be black or brown (but never pink!).

The eyes, especially, make the Black British Shorthair incredibly striking when paired with the blackness of the rest of the feline. One thing about this color to note, though, is that the black coat may turn into more of a chocolate color as the cat ages.

Is It Difficult to Find a Black British Shorthair?

The black coloring of the British Shorthair is rather challenging to find because it is, unfortunately, a hard color to breed. It’s not impossible, but finding a British Shorthair in this color could be a time-consuming task. You’re more likely to find a cat of this breed in a version of black, such as a black bi-color or black-silver tabby.

black british shorthair kitten sitting
Image Credit”: Mouse family, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

The British Shorthair can be black, but it’s rare. This is a difficult color to breed, so the black version of these felines is few and far between. You might find one, but it’s more likely you’ll find a black color variation. The black color of the British Shorthair is absolutely gorgeous, though, with its pure black coat and striking orange eyes. If you do manage to find a Black British Shorthair, enjoy your unique pet!

Featured Image Credit: sduraku, Shutterstock

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