The British Longhair is now one of the many breeds of cat registered with the New Zealand Cat Fancy and was accepted by this organisation in 2020. The breed was developed from longhair kittens appearing in litters of the long-established British Shorthair breed.
As cat breeding and showing began in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century the domestic cat was developed into a breed of shorthair ‘English’ or ‘British’ cats. Crosses were made with the Persian between 1914 and 1918 introducing the longhair gene. Cats with short coats were part of the British Shorthair and cats with longhair went into the Persian breeding programmes. After WW1, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) declared that only third generation offspring of Persian/British Shorthair crosses could be shown.This, along with WWII, reduced the breeding stock and meant that the British Shorthair lines were all but lost so British Shorthair breeders crossed with domestic shorthairs, Russian Blues, and Persians among others. The British Shorthair then grew again in popularity and while longhair kittens sometimes appeared in litters, the British Longhair initially languished in obscurity as a breed.However more recently, the British Longhair have been intentionally bred to establish a consistent, recognised breed, widely recognised in major registries. Today, the imposing British Longhair is a fitting companion breed to the British Shorthair.
The British are medium to large, powerfully built cats, with muscular, compact and cobby bodies with a broad, full chest, and short strong legs. The British Shorthairs have short, extremely dense plush coats with a crisp feel, the British Longhairs adds length to the dense coat so it stands out from the body emphasising the cat's imposing lines.So while the British Shorthair size is emphasised by its plush coat, the British Longhair cuts an imposing figure as the full coat swirls around the rounded muscular body.The classic Blue remains the most popular colour in the British, however the breed now comes in many colours. All British have round heads with short noses, chubby cheeks and prominent, rounded whisker pads which helps create a smiling face. Added to this, in most colours, are the large round eyes ranging from deep gold through to copper.
British cats are friendly and affectionate by nature yet undemanding.They are intelligent and quiet cats with a calm demeanour who make very loyal companions.And while not lap cats they do enjoy a snuggle beside you.
And so the British Longhair has taken the recipe for the British Shorthair and added a longer coat which has resulted in an imposing longhaired cat with all the same characteristics that have made the British Shorthair such popular and loyal companion.Photo: Helmi Flick
NZCF Accredited British Longhair Breeders List
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