Long ignored, hidden, even denied, the British Longhair finally imerged as a breed in its own right, alongside his short-haired cousin, the British Shorthair.
Relaxed and calm, they make ideal family cats.
History of the British Longhair cat
The British Longhair descends directly from the British Shorthair, their histories intertwining. After the first world war, the number of British Shorthairs dropped, due to a growing British disinterest, and breeders had no choice but to do crossings in an attempt to save the breed. They used cats without pedigree and Persians.
These crossings lead to a long hair gene in some of the kittens, which, considered a defect, led to these animals being set aside. The same pattern of events happened after the second world war. In order to save the British Shorthair, breeders decided that this time they would do crossings with Chartreux, Burmese, Blue Russian and Persian cats. Again, kittens with mid-long hairs were removed from the litters, and the British Longhair was finally made.
The British Longhair cat is medium to large in size, with a robust body and muscular appearance. Their neck is short. The legs are medium to short in size, and their paws are round.
The British Longhair cat or kitten's tail must measure the equivalent of two thirds of the body, and be fluffy and well-supplied.
The British Longhair cat's head is in keeping with its body being round with a large muzzle and short nose. The eyes are well spaced apart, and their colour must match the cat's coat. The ears are medium to small in size and are also well spaced, with a rounded tip.
All colours and patterns are accepted for the British Longhair's coat. The fur must be medium-long and silky, with a dense and solid undercoat.
The British Longhair cat or kitten's personality is identical to the British Shorthair's. They are very calm and peaceful cats, who appreciate the presence of their owner.
The British Longhair is great at adapting and gets on wonderfully with other animals, but doesn't always appreciate being held.
The British Longhair loves to play and show affection towards their humans.
Health and care
The British Longhair is particularly susceptible to neonatal isoerythrolysis, which occurs when a female cat from blood group B mates with a male of blood group A. When a group A kitten infected with the disease gets fed, the colostrum antibodies found in the milk attack and destroy the red blood cells. The treatment involves separating an affected kitten and entrusting it to a mother of blood group A.
The British Longhair cat can also be prone to renal polycystosis, where cysts develop on the kidneys. DNA tests make it possible to detect the risk of illness in the parents.
The medium-long, dense hair of the British Shorthair needs brushing regularly, especially during moulting season in winter of spring, to make sure they don's swallow too much while grooming themselves.