10 of the Best British Cat Breeds

Two British shorthair kittens, one gray and one tabby

Yulia-Images / Getty Images

Some popular cat breeds, along with some more rare felines, have their roots in England. While some of these British cat breeds are closely related, others vary widely in appearance and temperament. Moreover, some breeds are native to England while others were simply developed there but have ancestors from elsewhere. And many of these British cat breeds are now found in homes as companion animals around the world.

Here are 10 cat breeds that hail from England.

Tip

When considering a cat breed you're unfamiliar with, it's ideal to interact with a feline representative of that breed before acquiring one as a pet. That way you'll be able to judge whether the breed's tendencies are right for your lifestyle.

  • 01 of 10

    British Shorthair

    Gray British shorthair cat lying on couch with eyes open

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    The British shorthair is probably the most well-known British cat breed. These cats share the same ancestry as the American shorthair, though when the breeds split off they also took on some distinct characteristics. British shorthairs used to be called British blues for the silvery gray coat that’s common among the breed. Their unique look comes from their round eyes, broad faces, and plush coat. They tend to be laidback and loving cats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches
    Weight: 7 to 17 pounds
    Physical Characteristics: Broad face; round eyes in copper, green, gold, or blue; coat colors include white, black, red, cream, and blue (most common)

  • 02 of 10

    British Longhair

    Gray British Longhair sitting outside in front of flowers.

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    The British longhair sports a luxurious fluffy coat and a similar face to its shorthair cousin. The longhair is the product of breeding between British shorthairs and long-haired cats, such as Persians. This British cat breed is known to be quite loving, friendly, and patient but also doesn't mind a bit of alone time.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 9 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short neck; round eyes; long coat in a variety of colors and patterns

  • 03 of 10

    Devon Rex

    White Devon Rex cat looking directly into camera

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    The Devon Rex is a highly affectionate British breed with big ears, a small stature, and a short, curly coat. Unlike some other pedigreed British cat breeds, the lineage of the Devon Rex can’t be traced to distinct breeding efforts. Instead, the first Devon Rex was born in Devon, England, as a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation. These cats have since become quite popular for their friendly, relaxed nature.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Curly coat; long, skinny neck; big ears

  • 04 of 10

    Cornish Rex

    Cornish Rex cat sitting on floor with mouth touching the carpet

    Angela Emanuelsson / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Cornish Rex cats bring a dog-like temperament to their interactions with an affinity for play. Similar to the Devon Rex, this breed arose from a spontaneous genetic mutation—in this case between a shorthaired domestic cat and a stray tabby in Cornwall. The Cornish Rex is a true original in terms of personality. It has an innate humor and charm, as well as an affinity for a bit of mischief. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Slender body; curly coat, small head; large ears

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Oriental

    White Oriental cat with two different colored eyes

    Viktoryia Voinakh / Getty Images

    Their name may suggest otherwise, but Orientals actually originated in England where they were bred as an alternative to China’s Siamese cats. Orientals, also referred to as foreign shorthairs, have a very similar appearance to the Siamese but with a wider range of coat colors. These intelligent cats love to give affection and expect it in return.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 11 inches

    Weight: 9 to 14 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long and slender muscular body; triangle-shaped head; many different colors possible

  • 06 of 10

    Chinchilla

    White chinchilla cat lounging on couch

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    The Chinchilla is one of the oldest human-made cat breeds out of England. These cats may share a name with a rodent, but they're quite a regal breed. They tend to be extroverted and affectionate, and they love attention. Plus, their fluffy coat requires regular grooming to keep it tidy and prevent mats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 12 inches

    Weight: 9 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short, stocky body; bushy coat and tail

  • 07 of 10

    Burmilla

    Burmilla cat with light blue-green eyes sitting on floor mat

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    What do you get when you cross a Chinchilla with a Burmese? The Burmilla, a playful breed with a taste for adventure and a short coat that’s much easier to maintain than that of their Chinchilla relatives. Burmillas were introduced in the 1980s and quickly gained popularity. They're quite sweet and ideal for families, and they rarely say no to a lap cuddle. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; rounded ears, comes in wide variety of colors and patterns

  • 08 of 10

    Havana Brown

    Havana brown cat on pet bed at home
    Cavan Images / Getty Images

    The Havana brown was developed in England as a result of crosses between the Siamese and domestic black cats. The goal of breeders was to produce a feline with a lovely brown coat, and they certainly succeeded. These cats are quite social and chatty, and they’re pretty inquisitive too. They love to play but also enjoy a good nap.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 11 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; short hair; warm brown coat; green eyes

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Turkish Van

    Turkish Van cat and kitten

     LEMAIRE Stéphane / hemis.fr / Getty Images

    While the Turkish Van’s ancestors are native to Turkey, the breed actually was developed in England. In the 1950s, British breeders brought home a pair of Turkish Van kittens and continued to evolve the breed for its distinctive markings. These cats tend to be very active, athletic, and playful. They also are friendly toward people and even other animals. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 14 inches

    Weight: 8 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: White with colored markings on the head and tail; amber, blue, or odd-eyed (each eye a different color)

  • 10 of 10

    Asian Cat

    Also known as the Malayan cat, the Asian cat was actually developed in England starting in the 1980s. The breed originally was a cross between a Burmese and Chinchilla. These cats typically are very affectionate and quite chatty. They love to play, cuddle, and generally be around people as much as possible. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 13 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Broad chest; rounded head; silky, smooth coat; either long or short hair (long-haired variety called Tiffanies); comes in wide range of colors and patterns