White British Shorthair: Full Guide To This Pristine Cat

The White British Shorthair is a British Shorthair characterized by its beautiful coat. Most people who see this magnificent animal immediately fall in love with its striking appearance: Their flawless coat in combination with copper or blue eyes truly makes these animals something special to behold.

white british shorthair

Today, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about the White British Shorthair. We’ll discuss if British Shorthairs can truly be white in color, whether this is a rare color for them to have, a short history of the breed, and much more. Let’s get started!

A brief history of the white British Shorthair

The British Shorthair is the pedigreed version of the British domestic cat. They’re characterized by their stocky body, broad face, and dense coat. This coat can come in many colors, ranging from blue to black, and of course, white. In addition, they can have many different patterns, such as tabby and colorpoint.

The breed is very popular in its home country of the United Kingdom but has also been rapidly increasing in popularity in the rest of the world because of its good-natured appearance and calm temperament.

Can British Shorthairs really be white?

image credit: gandalf_the_white_bsh

Yes, British Shorthairs can be white. However, while you might think that they are quite common due to how often they appear in videos, pictures, and media, this is actually not the case. White is among the rarer colors for British Shorthairs to have. Only around 5% of British Shorthairs have this color.

The genetics responsible for white British Shorthairs

So, now you know that British Shorthairs come in white and that they’re quite rare. By now, you might be interested in how they get this color. What I mean by that is that you might be curious what causes a British Shorthair to be white, black, blue, or any other color.

The answer to that question is genetics. Almost every characteristic a cat has, ranging from their eye color to their height, and indeed, the color of their coat, is determined by their genetics. The gene that is responsible for giving a British Shorthair its stunning coat is known as the “W” gene. If a British Shorthair has a dominant “W” gene it will hide every other coat color and pattern, which results in them having a beautiful, snowy, white coat.

However, the dominant “W” gene only causes solid white cats. British shorthairs can also be partly white and partly another color. More on that later.

White British Shorthair appearance

Solid white British Shorthairs are characterized by their snowy, flawless, white coat. In order for a British Shorthair to be classified as “solid” according to CFA standards, their coat has to be pure white, untipped with yellow. Furthermore, their eyes need to be a deep sapphire blue, gold, or copper. British shorthairs with heterochromia (where one eye is blue and the other is gold/copper) are also accepted.

The cats that adhere to the characteristics above are the only “real” White British Shorthairs. However, there are many other types of colors that have some white in their coat, even though they’re not solid.

Besides the color of the coat, the appearance of these cats is much the same as that of British Shorthairs with a different color coat. Their height, weight, and general appearance are not affected by the color of their coat. On average, they weigh between 7 and 17 pounds and are between 12 and 14 inches in height. They’re known for their compact, strong, and well-balanced body with a full, broad chest, rounded paws, and a tail that’s thick at the base with a rounded tip. They have a rounded head, round cheeks, a strong chin, and medium-sized ears.

White British Shorthair Types

The Cat Fancier’s Association recognizes several different types of White British Shorthairs. However, as previously mentioned, only one of them can be classified as solid. Below, you’ll find a list of all the British Shorthair colors that have at least some white in their coat.

  • Solid White
  • Tabby and White
  • Blue Patched Tabby and White
  • Brown Patched Tabby and White
  • Silver Patched Tabby and White
  • Van Tabby and White

Things to consider before adopting a white British Shorthair

While most people can agree that white cats are very eye-catching and nice to look at, there are some downsides to owning one of these beautiful felines.

First of all, they have a higher likelihood of being deaf, especially the ones with blue eyes. Now, this does not mean that every white British Shorthair you encounter has hearing problems, but the odds of a British Shorthair being deaf increases if their coat is white. According to iCatCare: “In cats, inherited congenital (present from birth) deafness is seen almost exclusively in white-coated individuals. The deafness is caused by degeneration of the auditory apparatus of the inner ear and may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).”

Secondly, they are more prone to getting sunburned. Because of this, these cats are best kept indoors and away from the sun. If you do let them lay in the sun for a little bit it’s recommended to not let them stay in the sun for too long and to apply cat-friendly sunscreen.

Lastly, while it’s not true that cats with lighter-colored coats really get dirtier, it is true that it’s more visible when they are dirty because of the contrast on their lighter coat. Because of this, you might have to spend more time grooming a white British Shorthair than a cat that has a less contrasting color.

The difference between white British Shorthairs and Albinos

Many people believe that if a cat is white it automatically means that it is albino. This is not the case. There are very distinct differences between albino and white cats. The full genetic explanation is out of the scope of this article, but the short explanation is that white cats simply have a gene for white fur while albino cats have a genetic condition that results in a complete lack of skin, fur, and eye pigmentation. Because of this, albino cats will have pale fur, but they also have red/pink eyes, a feature that white cats do not have. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is by taking a look at their eye color.

Are White British Shorthairs good pets?

Surveys have been conducted that revealed that many people are under the belief that the color of a cat’s coat affects its personality. More specifically, these surveys revealed that people attributed the characteristics of shyness, laziness, and calmness to white cats. However, scientific studies however have shown no such connection.

Nevertheless, one factor that without a doubt does affect the personality and temperament of a cat is its breed. British Shorthairs are known for being calm, easygoing, and dignified. They’re not quite as playful and active as many other breeds but are sweet-natured and very devoted to their owners. In addition, they’re often good with other pets and children because they tolerate a decent amount of physical interaction. However, they are not cats that enjoy being picked up or carried around. They’re also not really lap cats, preferring to sit next to their human rather than on their lap.

If these characteristics sound like a good fit for you then a white British Shorthair can be a great addition to your home. If you’re looking for a cat that’s more playful and also comes in this color, I suggest taking a look at the Siberian.

White British Shorthair kitten Prices

white british shorthair kitten

So, if after all this reading and looking at pictures you’re convinced that this is the cat for you, you might be wondering how much you’ll have to save to afford an adorable white British Shorthair kitten.

Unfortunately, British Shorthairs are not exactly cheap, no matter the color. On the low end, you can expect to pay around $1200 while an expensive white British Shorthair kitten can easily cost more than $3000. You do have to keep in mind that these prices are highly dependent on location, pedigree, the breeder you buy from, and the age of the cat you’re buying.

Before you buy, always make sure that the breeder you buy the kitten from is reputable by checking reviews and asking questions.

Adoption is also always a good option, but since British Shorthairs are purebred cats they’re not found in shelters very often.

White British Shorthair videos

To get the best idea of what a cat looks like I always recommend looking at videos. Sure, pictures give a decent idea, but a video says more than a thousand pictures. Below, I’ve curated some of the best videos of White British Shorthairs for your viewing pleasure.

Jesse A.