Recognized as breed in Brazil, the Brazilian Shorthair gets ready to become the first cat from this country to have international recognition.

It is the popular street cat, inhabitant of roofs, city squares and gardens, which has become an eminent feline recognized as a breed 10 years ago by the Brazilian Cat Federation, located in Rio de Janeiro.

Everything started in 1985, thanks to a breeder's idea, Paulo Ruschi, at the time president of the Federation. His project was based on the work done by the British and Americans, who transformed street cats in pure bred cats, the British Shorthair and the American Shorthair. Besides, our cat had a characteristic tipology, deserving, therefore, recognition of its own race standard.

The struggle started that same year. Three or four member breeder committes, were organized to analize the characteristics these cats had in common, and to establish a standard for them. In a research developed in Ceará, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre, around 40 cats were registered. The breeders searched the streets, and wrote down a description of the characteristics of the cats: shape of the body, head, paws, nose, muzzle, coat, eyes, tail... "It was surprising. In despite of the distance between these cities, there was a great similarity between the cats analized," says Ruschi. From the similarities, a breed standard was created, and it was named Brazilian Shorthair. At the time, this was made known by newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, and all the members of the entity, around the country, were informed of the recognition of the breed, and people who had such cats were called to get their initial registration at the Federation. A request for recognition was also made at the World Cat Federation, located in Germany, entity to which the Brazilian Cat Federation is affiliated, along with entities from 17 other countries. The president of WCF, Annelise Hackmann, came to Brazil, saw the cats, and took part on a meeting about the issue with the directors of the Brazilian Cat Federation. The standard was examined in Germany. In 1994, the cat was recognized as the Keltic Shorthair, a breed which comes from ancient European cats (known as European Shorthair in other cat entities), because they concluded both had similar characteristics.


The Brazilian Shorthair has, in fact, originated from cats that were brought here by the Europeans, at the time of the country's colonization. However, Ruschi comments that, through the years, they have gone through changes. "The Keltics I saw in expositions in Germany, for example, are clearly different from the Brazilian Shorthair: more robust, bigger and wider head, the length of the muzzle is equal to width of skull. Our cat is lighter, thinner, with a head longer than wide."

Ruschi's observations agree with the differences existing in the standards of the two breeds. In the Keltic, the body must be medium to large, and well muscled; in the Shorthair, only medium. In the Keltic, the head is really wide, while our cat's head must be longer than wide. For our cat, any color is acceptable, while for the Keltic there are restrictions (colors accepted are the same as the ones in the British Shorthair). The Brazilian Shorthair's coat does not stick up, rather it is tight to skin, according to the standard, a characteristic which is not mentioned in the standard of the Keltic. Due to these comparisons, Ruschi, who is also a senior international judge for the World Cat Federation, as well as the Govern Concil of the Cat Fancy, in England, says it will be necessary to make a new proposal to this entity - documented with photos, videos of the cats, and so forth - in order to create a separate standard for the Brazilian Shorthair, recognizing it as a specific breed.

The Brazilian Cat Club, affiliated to FIFE, Federazione Internazionale Felina Europeia, has also taken a first step toward the international recognition of our cat. "We have asked FIFE to specify the demands to recognize the Brazilian Shorthair. We proposed to photograph or show 5 generations of these cats," informs Celso Tirlone, president of the Club.

The Brazilian Shorthair is a strong and medium sized cat: neither compact, with round and flat lines as the Persian, nor thin and elegant as the Orientals, such as the Siamese. The coat is short, and eyes preferably matching the color of the coat. The temperament is playfull, gay, active and very attached to the owner. For Rose Marie Lynch, from Cattery de Lynx, in Rio de Janeiro, president of the Brazilian Cat Club in Rio, and breeder, "it is intelligent, and learn things easily. It is also an accomplished hunter, extremely healthy and very envolving, demanding our attention all the time. Without love, however, it can become peevish, suspicious, and end up choosing a friendlier owner."


The Brazilian Shorthair, if not bred profissionally, may become extinct. "There is an indiscriminated mating both in the streets and in the homes, for many owners of this breed breed them with furrier cats, thinking kittens will be more valuable that way," states Rose Marie.

One of the goals of the breeders, is to preserve this cat, always seeking to improve its characteristics. In order to do this, the Brazilian Cat Federantion is issuing an initial registration for the cats which are close to breed standard, as well as a definitive registration, for the ones who have a certain number of titles in expositions, or come from breedings which followed certain rules. So far the Brazilian Shorthair has very few breeders, and little genetic improvement. Possibly, the main factor for this is the enormous disponibility, in the streets, of cats which present the characteristics requested by the standard. To obtain a registration, the cats just have to be presented for examination at the Brazilian Federation of Cats. However, there is genetic work to be done, such as obtaining the combination of the eye color and coat, something hard to find in the streets, where mating in random.


Breed Standard: Strong and medium sized body, neither compact nor elegant; strong, wide and round chest; strong and medium sized legs, separated in the chest; medium tail, thick at the base, narrowing into a round tip; medium sized head, slightly longer than wide; medium nose, with no stop, and with same width in all its length, and a slight curve at the base; strong and slightly prominent chin; medium sized ears, with round tips, frequently having tufos and inserted separated, with height identical to width of base; round and opened eyes, slightly oblique and almond-shaped, distant from each other, green and yellow in the silvers, blue or different colors in the white cats, and in the tones going from yellow to copper in the others; silky, short, dense, and tight to skin coat, accepted in all colors.
Registration: initial registration in Rio given by 2 judges of the Brazilian Cat Federation for exemplares which fulfill standard's requisites. If cat has the initial registration, plus 3 indications to be canditate for championship given in three differente expositions by three different judges, it will obtain permanent registration (known as LO). It it is bred with LO cats, and their descendants with other LO's, kittens from the 4th generation will be automatically considered LO.
Institution: Brazilian Cat Federation
Special Care: No special care required.
Reading Material: No specific literature available.
Data Source: BCF's standard of the Brazilian Shorthair

We would like to thank Paulo Ruschi, director of the World Cat Federation, both for his assistance and editing of this text.
Research and text: Carmen Olivieri

Owner/picture:Gatil Syarte

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