American Shorthair vs. British Shorthair

These Shorthair cousins confuse many cat-buyers or adopters out of their wits. Deciding which one of these pets you want to get can become quite a baffling affair!

American Shorthair vs. British Shorthair – Which cat makes a better feline companion?

American Shorthair and British Shorthair are astoundingly similar cats in terms of their demeanor and character. They both have thick and muscular bodies, round eyes, and lovable personalities. They even have similar lifespans! They have, however, a few striking differences in terms of their personality that set them apart.

Indulge in this furry guide of these two fluffballs to find out which one of these cousins suits you better.

Comparison Guide

TraitsBritish ShorthairAmerican Shorthair
ColorSolid grey fur with amber eyesComes in 80 different colors and patterns
Height (adult)12 to 14 inches13 to 14 inches
Weight (adult)9 to 17 pounds6 to 15 pounds
Price$1500 to $2500$800 to $1500
DiseasesHave a risk of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and hemophilia BHave a risk of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
GroomingWeekly combing and nail trimmingWeekly combing and nail trimming

Shorthair versus British Shorthair: Your Ultimate Guide

The British Shorthair is your average “Britisher”.

It is quiet with occasional spurts of excited activity and likes to stay undisturbed but isn’t devoid of love and affection. This cat is as loyal as it gets.

And then there is its cousin, the American Shorthair.

American Shorthair cat is truly American.

Here’s why:

It likes company, and it likes to party. These wonderful cats are energetic, friendly, and want constant attention.


A British Shorthair cat is your happy-go-lucky, rather quiet, and dignified companion who occasionally surprises you with random spurts of excitement and crazed activity.

There’s more:

British Shorthair loves your attention but doesn’t demand it; it likes being on its own. They don’t need constant stimulation, and they don’t get bored a lot. These cats can keep themselves busy in their own fluffy heads.

Then there’s the bubbly American Shorthair.

American Shorthair is a crazy ball of excitement, always running high on energy. While they can remain satisfied being on their own, American Shorthair does enjoy the attention.

And worry not; it will let you know when it wants your attention! It will smother you with affectionate nibbles and kisses when it demands your attention. Unlike their British cousin, these playful cats enjoy interaction and constant stimulation.

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Here’s what you need to know about a British Shorthair’s nature: They are laid-back, calm, and unperturbed.

These cats are not precisely active cats. So, you can expect your British Shorthair to lounge around as a solid blob at its own favorite spot on the floor.

Make no mistake; this is a very smart cat. They love interactive games and toys and are quick to learn. They’ll find joy in puzzles and games that involve rewards. Planning playtime for them is simple – they’re quite self-entertaining!

With American Shorthair, on the other hand, be prepared to find it on the refrigerator, below the tables, up and around the furniture, and on your bed. These energetic cats will wake up, run around the house, and choose a new spot every other hour!

As an American Shorthair owner, you must be mindful of one thing: You need to take some time out for your pet every single day. You will have to schedule playtime on a regular basis where your cat can interact and play with you.

American Shorthair is not too demanding, though. It will be completely satisfied with its scheduled playtime. The rest of the day, it will keep to itself and won’t be depressed either if left alone at the house.

Friendliness and Affection

A British Shorthair is an easy-going pet, and it is rarely hyperactive. If you are not at home for the majority of the day, your British Shorthair cat won’t really mind – it loves having alone time.

One thing that you need to know: These cats hate being picked up. It’d rather stay put solidly on the floor in its favorite spot.

However, this doesn’t mean that it is not affectionate. True, this cat is not your average “lap cat,” but it is very loving (and lovable!). Not to mention extremely intelligent and calm.

Once you bond with your British Shorthair cat, it will thrive in your company and even follow you around the house when it is in the mood for some attention.

British Shorthair cats get along pretty well with children and pets, including dogs, rabbits, rodents, and even birds.

British Shorthair is a calm cat breed. It rarely ever retaliates. If something disturbing happens, it will absent itself from the situation – you can hardly ever get a strong reaction from this cat.

American Shorthair, on the contrary, is your true cuddle buddy. These cats will bond with each and every member of the family. They will hang around them, run all around the house, and demand their share of attention

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American Shorthair loves attention and craves it but is never clingy. It can keep itself busy if it’s left alone.

You must schedule regular interactive playtime for your American Shorthair as it tends to get depressed if left alone for long stretches of time. American Shorthair gets along pretty well with other pets except for rodents.

They hunt rodents!

This trait traces back to their history. American Shorthair cats were originally employed to hunt rodents and insects for their owners. So, your cat, while being affectionate and cuddly, also has the instinct to keep your basement free from pests!

Quick Facts about British Shorthair

Here are some interesting facts you shouldn’t miss out!

  • Romans brought Egyptian domestic cats to Great Britain when they invaded it centuries ago. These Egyptian cats interbred with the local European wildcats to make a new breed- the British Shorthairs.
  • They have relatively low exercise needs. Just play regular games with them to keep them in shape.
  • They don’t need your constant attention.
  • They are pretty calm and placid.
  • They enjoy intellectually stimulating games.
  • They have fairly low grooming needs as well – just brush them once every week, and you will be good to go!
  • They like hunting; you might find them hunting down a rodent or two once in a while.
  • British Shorthair doesn’t have any major health problems.
  • They are often referred to as the Cheshire Cat for their goofy smiles.

Quick Facts about American Shorthair

And we have some facts for American Shorthair too. Check them out!

  • The American Shorthair are said to be the descendants of European cats who were brought to America by early settlers.
  • They used to serve as the “protector” cats of cargo – they would protect valuables from rodents.
  • They are very affectionate physically, unlike British Shorthair.
  • They are quite social as well – they will get along with all the family members and pets.
  • They don’t like being left alone all the time, but they won’t get clingy either.
  • They are natural hunters – they enjoy hunting games and toys like the fishing pole.
  • They are also quite smart and can be trained too!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there specific health concerns associated with each breed?

British Shorthairs can be prone to obesity, while American Shorthairs might be susceptible to certain hereditary health conditions, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Which breed is more likely to get along with children and other pets?

Both breeds are known to be good with children and other pets, but American Shorthairs might be slightly more outgoing in social situations.

Are there notable size differences between the two breeds?

British Shorthairs are usually larger and heavier than American Shorthairs.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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