British Shorthair versus European Shorthair

European SH - Wikimedia® commons license
Whilst in England the breed that we know as the British Shorthair started its life the same thing was happening on mainland Europe. The European shorthairs were called just that: European Shorthairs. The European cat associations adopted the British cat associations' breed standard for this cat and cats were imported into mainland Europe from the UK to introduce new bloodlines. The result was, as expected, very similar (identical?) cats in terms of appearance on mainland Europe to those in the UK except for northern Europe.

In northern Europe the situation was different. The countries of northern Europe developed a European Shorthair as well but they were and are of a different "type" (meaning appearance). Northern European counties includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The difference in appearance is because the breeders from northern Europe imported fewer British cats and used local shorthair cats to develop their breed. They did not outcross to Persians.

The difference in appearance created a confusion (not uncommon in the cat fancy!). The European Shorthair become distinct from the British Shorthair and is a different breed of cat albeit very similar. The European Shorthair being less cobby (due to the introduction of Persians by English breeders).

Interestingly the Chartreux was at one time classified as a European Shorthair but at the time of separation of the European Shorthair from the British Shorthair referred to above the Chartreux was also separated out. It is a cat that is similar to the Brit SH but is always a blue cat (dilute black) - a blue shaded grey.

Source material: British Shorthair Cat by Esther Verhoef.

Read more about the European Shorthair Cat

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