The British Shorthair is the pedigreed version of the traditional British domestic cat, with a distinctively chunky body, dense coat and broad face. The most familiar color variant is the "British Blue", a solid blue-gray with copper eyes, medium tail, but the breed has also been developed in a wide range of other colours and patterns, including tabby and colorpoint.
It is one of the most ancient cat breeds known, probably originating from European domestic cats imported into Britain by the invading Romans in the first century AD. In modern times it remains the most popular pedigreed breed in its native country, as registered by the UK's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).
The breed's good-natured appearance and relatively calm temperament make it a frequent media star, notably as the inspiration for John Tenniel's famous illustration of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The Cat Fanciers' Association profile reads: "When gracelessness is observed, the British Shorthair is duly embarrassed, quickly recovering with a 'Cheshire cat smile'”.
They are an easygoing and dignified breed, not as active and playful as many but sweet-natured and devoted to their owners, making them a favourite of animal trainers. They tend to be safe around other pets and children since they will tolerate a fair amount of physical interaction, but as a rule do not like to be picked up or carried. They require only minimal grooming and take well to being kept as indoor-only cats; however, they can be prone to obesity unless care is taken with their diet.