British Longhair Cats – Breed Guide – Traits, Characteristics, History

a close up face potrait image of a bicolor orange and white british longhair cat with orange eyes

Cousins to British ShorthairBritish Longhair are the perfect kind of sweet-tempered, adorable pets you could want in a home. As their name indicates, they look just like Shorthairs, sharing the same elegance, but only with longer fur. Read on to learn more about these wonderful cats…

It is not hard to fall in love with these peaceful and playful felines. Even though their popularity is rapidly rising, they are still very rare in the United States. It is considered one of the newer breeds, having been recognized only a century ago. 

There are so many different reasons that make these cats great for families with children in them. If you are curious to know more about them, read this article to know all there is to know. 

Breed Temperament

A British Longhair is lovely to look at, with many unique features making it stand apart from others. Because of their docile, easy-going nature, this cat breed is very peaceful and barely shows any sign of aggressiveness. 

It makes them not only suitable for families with young kids but also the elderly. They can become the perfect companion, happily attached to their masters. 

Not only humans, but British Longhairs also cohabit happily with other pets, both felines and canines. They can be very assertive and independent. Their aversion to loneliness makes it easy for them to assert themselves amongst others. 

However, these cats like to have boundaries; they want to be respected. That means having personal space, not being held tightly, choosing when to receive affection, etc. But it is also important to encourage movement and playtime with keen monitoring of their food intake as they easily gain weight. 

a close up grey british longhair cat with copper colored eyes relaxing in sphynx pose

Overall Appearance

As a mix of British Shorthair and Persian, they have a medium build, with a short neck, muscular back, and a broad chest. 

Their legs are straight and short, extending to solid round paws. But their most adorable feature is their round head, with a large muzzle and tiny nose. They resemble living, breathing teddy bears with their full cheeks and an endearing charm that you cannot help but adore.

British Longhairs have beautiful large, round eyes. The colors, however, may vary from blue, green, deep gold to copper depending upon the pattern and color of their coat. This is saying something since there are over 300 different coats and patterns available.   

Their coats are dense and straight, giving the coats added volume to make them appear bigger than they are. The patterns can be bicolor, ticked, or colorpoint but with a thick undercoat. 

Fortunately, they only occasionally shed, so it is easy to groom them. Longhair cats can be quite intelligent and slightly vocal, voicing out their opinions on different matters. 


After World War I, British Shorthairs were facing a development recession. They had all but disappeared, but that did not stop their demand from growing across the entire UK. So, to save them, they were bred with other kinds of felines, such as Chartreux, Russian Blue, Burmese, etc. 

But the most popular one was the traditional Persian breed. The breeders wanted a stouter and round-face stock while keeping the characteristic short coat. 

However, their attempts failed, which created many kinds of semi-long-haired specimens of feline litters. These animals were unwanted and excluded and were given off as castrated collector’s pets. 

When the population for British Longhair again dropped dramatically after the Second World war, breeders had to begin hybridization again. Even then, medium to long hair kittens were abandoned and discarded, unaccepted for the registry. 

Fortunately, TICA accepted the British Longhair as its independent breed in 2009. After being recognized by multiple other breeding associations, they are now being purposefully bred to increase the gene pool. 

However, the gene for long hair can be quite recessive and is transmitted and carried in an obscure way. This can cause long generational gaps between the production of longhaired cats. 

On the other hand, shorthair cats can also carry this recessive gene and give birth to cats with long fur, even though both parents have short coats. 

a tortie british longhair cat with green eyes walking across a grass lawn


If you want a docile cat, you can never go wrong with a British Longhair. Their personality is just as sweet as their face, resembling living teddy bears. Furthermore, their demeanor is calm and mild, and their attitude is much more tolerant than that of any other feline breed. 

Their tendency to be meek and avoid getting worked up has even gotten them a reputation for being lazy. And while they do not zoom around and destroy everything in their path like other cat breeds, they do like to engage in occasional playtimes. However, this activeness decreases with age. 

You may find British Longhaired cats sitting by their owners, not too far but not too close either. They would most likely be asleep, as this cat breed is known to sleep a lot, even by cat standards. 

But there is more to them than being mere couch potatoes. They are adaptable and friendly and can mostly entertain themselves if you are too busy to give them attention. As they are only slightly vocal, you will not hear them scream or be loud and get in your way. 

Just give them some toys or other felines for company, and they will happily amuse themselves. They are extremely intelligent and curious and often like to embark on their private adventures and investigations. Do not be surprised if you find them overseeing your activities or going through your stuff. 

But that does not mean they don’t enjoy occasional pets and cuddles. When they choose to receive affection, they will approach you themselves. They might sit nearer than usual or meow softly. 

You must think of their needs and be available for them during these moments. If you have children, teach them to be respectful of the cat’s space as they do not like to be picked up. But they love it if you meet them on the floor to play with them instead. 

General Size

British Longhair cats, like their cousins, have medium to large, with robust and muscular bodies. The male cats have a slightly larger build than the females. The latter usually weigh around 8 to 16 pounds, with the males being a little heavier.

Their heights range from 12 to 14 inches, but their actual height may vary because of their coats. Because the hairs are straight and outwards, it may add in more fake volume. But they are still quite compact compared to other breeds. 

Coat Colors And Patterns

British Longhair cats are available in more than 300 shades of coat colors and patterns. They can be of mono-color or multicolor varieties. 

a bicolor orange and white british longhair cat with orange eyes lying on a lawn watching the world go by

The stunning colors can range from classic or grey-black to chocolate brown, sable, cinnamon, lavender, red to even lilac, silver fawn, ebony cream, and different shades of blue. You may see them in other colors like tan, lilac white, beige, orange, etc. 

Usually, longhaired domestic felines are black and white or tricolored, but they also are popular in blue besides cream, tabby, tortie and white, tortoiseshell, etc. 

A tabby longhair can be a mackerel, blotched, spotted, ticked, or just classic. A Tortie, on the other hand, is tricolored and usually called a tortoiseshell. Torties are mostly females due to genetic depositions. And Torbies are a mix of both. 

One unique pattern is called the Chinchilla, consisting of one-eight basic black coloring and the rest being silver, white from the roots. Another pattern is colorpoint, which is when only the hair-ends of certain parts of the body are tinged with basic colors. 

If the cats seem shaded, it would be evident only on the tips or hair ends. These kitties also have a range of gorgeous eye and paw colors that complement their coats. 

Health Issues and Care

The average lifespan of these cats is usually around 12 to 16 years. They are susceptible to the same illnesses that their shorthaired relatives undergo and suffer through during these years.

One of the most prominent problems is obesity. Because British Longhairs would rather lounge on your lap or couch all day and are not interested in moving around as much, they are prone to gaining weight.  

Another disease that they tend to develop is polycystic kidney disease. This is hereditary and is common within both parent breeds, British Shorthair and Persians. Due to this disease, kidney cysts may develop within the early years. Fortunately, it is easy to detect through an ultrasound. 

British Longhair cats may also develop cardiac and heart diseases. One of the common ones is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which is untreatable and often fatal. 

It is also detectable through ultrasound, but even early diagnosis cannot relay in a treatment plan. They are excluded from breeding, and the best vets can make an attempt for these cats to still live a long life. 

These are some of the care routines that you should know when owning a British Longhair cat: 

a grey and charcoal tabby british longhair cat yawning

Nutrition Requirements

While these cats do not have any specific food and diet requirements, they still need to maintain a balance of everything. Croquettes containing high proteins, fats, small amounts of carbs, and essential vitamins and minerals are great additions. It can nourish and maintain the beauty and health of their coats. 

Since these cats are prone to ingesting hairballs, you may give them kibbles to help eliminate them. Instead of kibbles, you may also try catnips. 

All of the foods should not be rich and be given in moderation, considering the age and level of daily exercise. If there are health risks of kidney cyst or HCM, this routine should be specially adhered to.

You should contact your vet to resolve any specific queries. 

Exercise and Training

British Longhair cats should have ample exercise and playtime like any other breed. You can encourage them through different stimulations since they can be quite averse to it. Instead of getting picked up, they are more comfortable when you meet them on the floor. 

You can use their favorite play accessories and toys, such as balls, false preys, or even laser pointers. If they had any favorite activities as a kitten, you could pick it up again to make them feel relaxed, familiar, and less reluctant. 

These cats are very intelligent and can be trained as well. By consistently educating them and reproaching them when needed, you can instill certain behaviors and manners. 


Like with any other longhair breed, you would have to spend a little more time in grooming. Make sure to brush out any hairballs and knots from an early age so that your cats get used to it. A soft brush that does not pull the thick coat or scratches the skin harshly should work best. 

You can try out different hygiene products and cat grooming kits available. Ask your vet recommendations if there are any certain requirements. 

Since cats mostly groom themselves, you do not have to worry much about them being clean. However, what you must worry about instead is ingesting hairballs and ways to eliminate them naturally. But that is a simple process too. 

After each grooming session, remember to treat them only with high-quality, sugar-free, or plant by-products. 

How Much Do British Longhair Cats Cost?

Since British Longhair is prone to some hereditary diseases, it is best to buy them from a reputable breeder. They would know what to screen for when to follow up or perform check-ups. 

Professional breeders would only mate cats under the guidelines of a breeding association, trying their best to mitigate the risks of any diseases. They would also provide the best food, vaccinate the cats, and provide information on how to care for them in general properly. 

Therefore, purebred cats can be very expensive and may cost you an amount between $1,000 to $2,500. You may also look around in shelters and welfare associations in hopes of adopting one. This option would be much cheaper. 

Final Words

If you are looking for an adorable, cute-faced, affectionate little cat with long fur, then a British Longhair would be the best for you. They are perfect companions to have around if you want a pet that can fend for itself during most of the day but still want occasional love and affection. 

So, if you have small children or an elderly in the family, a British Longhair would be a great addition to your family.