Whenever someone sees a majestic grey-coated cat with beady eyes, the British Shorthair or the Scottish Fold comes to mind.
But while both of these breeds can be incredibly similar in appearance, they have unique personalities.
So how do British Shorthairs and Scottish Folds compare to each other? And which cat would be best for you?
Keep reading to find out!
History and Origins
The history of the British Shorthair breed can be traced back to when the Romans entered Britain and brought along Egyptian cats to protect their food supplies. Soon after, these cats were crossbred with the domestic European shorthair cats, giving birth to the breed now known as the British shorthair.
British Shorthairs were also amongst the first breeds to get pedigreed across Europe, but unfortunately, their popularity didn’t last long. During World War 2, most of the British Shorthair breed was wiped out due to famine. But with some efforts, the breed was revived by crossing them with domestic shorthairs and Russian Blues. The breed started going overseas and became officially recognized by the American Cat Association in 1967.
In comparison, the Scottish Fold is a much more modern breed with an even more interesting history. The breed originates from a single cat named Susie and her litter, all of whom had a deformity in their ears that caused them to develop the signature ear fold the breed is recognized with.
After that, those lop-eared cats were crossed with different shorthair breeds and Persians to create a breed now identified as the Scottish Fold. While the breed isn’t officially recognized by major registering bodies such as ACA, it’s still certified by The International Cat Association.
If you sum up the British Shorthair’s personality, they would be defined as calm and independent yet affectionate. They enjoy spending time with their family members but aren’t too fond of cuddling and prefer sitting alongside their owners instead. Their independent personality allows them to enjoy their own company, but they aren’t very receptive to isolation and being left without interaction for too long.
While these traits make the British Shorthair an excellent pet for busy families, they aren’t the best choice for small toddlers and active owners. You will occasionally find these cats interacting with toys and puzzles, but on most occasions, they’ll either be relaxing or sleeping. British Shorthairs are very smart cats, so make sure that they get sufficient mental interaction.
Scottish Folds, on the other hand, are much more playful cats and love attention. You’ll occasionally find them stalking you around the house and trying to participate in everything you do. But unlike Shorthairs, Scottish Folds don’t do so well in isolation and get lonely if left alone for long periods. That’s why these cats are happier with outgoing families and owners that can give them constant attention.
Playing and exercising is also a fundamental part of the Scottish Fold’s personality. This cat loves interactive games, puzzles, and almost every single outdoor activity. Their clever nature also makes them a little mischievous, and they’ll often rummage through cabinets and drawers for toys and snacks.
British Shorthairs are medium to large sized stocky cats that have pronounced roundness in almost every part of their bodies. Their head, paws, eyes, and even their tail’s tip has a distinct roundness to it. Ironically, these cats are quite muscular and have a wide chest with thick and strong legs. Their short and plush bluish-grey coat further adds to their ‘burly’ appearance.
Though bluish-grey is the trademark coat color of this breed, they’re also available in many other shades like cream, black, white, and different tabby patterns. Rich gold is the most common eye color in British Shorthairs, but you can also find ones that have blue, green, and even copper eyes.
Scottish Folds share lots of resemblance to British Shorthairs in terms of body shape. They also have a distinguished roundness in their face and paws, and have round and wide eyes. Their body is burly, and their legs are thick and strong. However, the most notable feature of this breed is obviously its folded ears. These ears give the Scottish Fold’s face an owlish and spherical appearance, a feature that has become the reason for the breeds’ popularity.
But unlike the British Shorthair, you can find Scottish Folds in a variety of coat colors, patterns, and lengths. Aside from lavender, chocolate, and white, these cats can sport every other color and pattern. The long-coat version of the Scottish Fold is known as the Highland Fold.
British Shorthairs have a solid reputation when it comes to overall health and are immune to most diseases common in other felines. The only major health issues faced by Shorthairs are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition affecting the heart’s muscles, and hemophilia B, which can be identified through DNA testing.
Male Shorthairs are more susceptible to HCM compared to females. Unfortunately, there’s no way of identifying HCM before it occurs as of yet. So don’t trust a breeder who claims that their kitten is HCM-free. However, do make sure that your British Shorthair is tested for hemophilia B.
Apart from that, take good care of your shorthair’s diet and make sure they get plenty of exercise. British Shorthairs are quite lazy cats, due to which they can easily become obese. And obesity is the root cause of all health problems in cats, including joint, kidney, and mobility issues.
Scottish Folds are generally healthy cats that don’t suffer from any major diseases or defects. They’re super-energetic and get tons of exercise every day, which keeps them safe from obesity and other health issues. But as with any other designer breed, the mutation responsible for the folded ears in Scottish Folds’ can become a source of multiple joint and cartilage related problems.
Spine and leg joint problems are particularly more common amongst this breed. Therefore, it’s important to take your Scottish Fold to the vet on a regular basis and keep a keen eye for limping, lameness, and any signs of pain while walking or playing. Early treatment can prevent the joint problems from deteriorating any further and reduce your cat’s chances of requiring any major surgery.
Aside from that, Scottish Folds don’t suffer from any major health concerns. Like other domestic cats, they’re still susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, UTI’s, and kidney diseases. It’s best to feed your cat a healthy diet and give them plenty of exercise. This will reduce your cat’s chances of sustaining joint damage and increase its lifespan.
British Shorthairs’ calm and independent temperament makes them a great companion for sedated households and mature owners. The cat thoroughly enjoys the company of its people just as much as they like spending time by themselves. You can easily leave them alone at home while you’re at work. After you return, the British Shorthair will automatically take as much attention they require from you.
The breed is also great with older kids and trained dogs. They enjoy games and occasional exercise. However, they might not be the best fit for toddlers that forcefully cuddle or play with them. They also won’t react well to a hyperactive or untrained dog, so don’t pair the two together. When you bring a British Shorthair to a home with children or other pets, properly introduce them to each member and make sure that no one is irritating the cat or invading their personal space.
The Scottish Fold is the perfect family pet for active households with lots of members. They’re much more energetic and interactive than British Shorthairs and thrive on attention from their people.
We don’t recommend this cat to busy owners as they can easily get depressed when left alone. If you still want to keep this cat, have someone sit them or leave them at a neighbor’s house if you’re gone for several hours. Otherwise, the cat’s cleverness can turn into mischief, and you’ll have a lot of mess at your hands.
The Scottish Fold is also a great companion for young children and dogs. They’ll thoroughly enjoy participating with your little ones and will love to play with friendly dogs. Just make sure that both parties have received proper training beforehand and the Scottish Fold isn’t forced into anything; otherwise, they might get themselves hurt.
Grooming and care
British Shorthairs are quite easy to care for. Their plush and short coat only needs a single brushing every week to stay in optimal condition. Aside from that, they require the same basic grooming as any other cat. This includes brushing their teeth at least once every week, trimming their nails after every 10 to 14 days, and cleaning their ears with a damp towel or cloth when they appear dirty.
Similar to the British Shorthair, Scottish Folds also require the same basic grooming and care. For short-coated cats, brushing once every week will suffice, while for long-coated cats, we recommend brushing them at least twice every week to control shedding. Apart from that, you should practice the same usual grooming routine on your Scottish Folds as for British Shorthairs.
How much do a Scottish Fold and British Shorthair cost?
A British Shorthair kitten from a reliable breeder can cost you anywhere between £500 – £1000 in the UK and $700 – $2000 in the US, depending on their color and pedigree. In comparison, a Scottish Fold will set you back at least £1000 in the UK and $1,000 – $2,000 in the US.
How big are Scottish Fold and British Shorthair?
British Shorthairs stand at 12”–14” in height, 22”–25” in length, and weigh between 3–10kg on average. Scottish Folds have an average height of 8”–10”, are 12”–14” in length, and weigh about 3–6kg on average.
How long do British Shorthair and Scottish Fold live?
British Shorthairs have an average lifespan of 12 to 20 years, while Scottish Folds have a lifespan of 11 to 14 years on average, depending on their health and fitness.
Why are Scottish Folds banned?
Scottish Folds are banned in Scotland due to their tendency to develop arthritis and other joint diseases. These cats are at a higher risk of joint and bone problems due to the cartilage mutation in their bloodline that causes their ears to fold down.
Do British Shorthair cats meow a lot?
Yes, most British Shorthair cats tend to be quite vocal, especially when they need something from you, like food. However, there are some relatively less vocal cats in this breed as well, but they’re not as common.