British Shorthair Cat

Tabby British SH cat. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick.

This page is a bit about the genetics behind the Brit SH coat. Here is a great photograph of a great looking British Shorthair Cat, a show cat. The photograph is by Helmi Flick, the best cat photographer. His name is Krystofer, a Cream Mackerel Tabby British Shorthair male kitten. Krystofer is standing on his back legs with a great expression and full of life. Fantastic capture Helmi.

The great positioning has been organized/teased out by the best cat wrangler, Ken Flick, who is holding a "tease" over his head and Krystopher is very interested and dying to get to it; look at his outstretched claws ready to grab the tease.

Krystofer,  the cat at the top of the page is a mackerel tabby cat. The term "mackerel" comes from the appearance of a mackerel fish. Other tabby markings are the classic (blotchy) and spotted (think Bengal cat and Savannah cats as good examples). See a full description and some great examples of tabby cat coats on a wide range of cat breeds.

Cream is a beautiful color. It is a dilute color. Krystofer is actually a red (orange in layperson language) cat but the red color has been diluted by the presence of a dilution gene in homozygous form. This is symbolized by the lower case letters dd. This gene is positioned on the chromosome on what is called the "maltese locus". The process is also called "maltesing". This is because blue cats imported into Britain in the early days of the cat fancy were called "maltese cats. Blue is a dilution of black.

The genes dd washes out the original color (in this case red) by affecting the production of color pigment when the hair is growing for the first time. Parts of the hair are sparsely pigmented if at all.

If another gene is present, a gene called a dilute modifier (signified by letters Dm or dm) double dilution occurs and the color cream becomes apricot. Krystofer looks a bit apricot or am I seeing things?

The red color comes by way of the O gene. This is a sex linked gene and carried by the X chromosome. The presence of this gene changes the production of black pigmentation (the substance is called eumelanin) to orange pigment (a substance called phaeomelanin). The full genotype of the cream cat is ddOOdmdm.

A classic color for the British Shorthair cat is gray or in cat fancy language "blue" meaning blue/gray. Two of the kittens below are blue British Shorthair cats. The two in the middle are blue and white or have solid and white cat coats. The blue color is a dilution of of black. The full genotype of the blue cat is aaBBdd dmdm, where aa is the recessive non-agouti gene, represents the Browning gene, Bdd is homozygous dilution genes and dm the modifier



Above: British Shorthair kittens - photograph copyright Helmi Flick. To see this image in very large format please click this link: British Shorthair cats kittens or the image.

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Comments

  1. Thies are some very adorable kitties. I have 41 mix breed rescued cats and kittens

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