If you’re thinking about getting a pet cat, your options are never-ending, from Persians to Peterbalds, Burmans to Balinese. However, two of the most popular – and affectionate – cat breeds are the Ragdoll and British Shorthair.
But how are they different from one another? This article will address that question, looking at a range of differences between the two, including temperaments, physiques, and life expectancy, among others.
Hopefully, this will leave you better informed to ensure the cat you choose is a good fit for you and your circumstances.
So what’s the difference between Ragdoll and British Shorthair cats? The main differences include physiques: with ragdolls being the stockier of the two. There are also subtle differences in temperament, with Ragdolls being more of a lap cat. Meanwhile, British Shorthairs have a longer life expectancy.
The British Shorthair’s history goes far further back than the Ragdoll. The story of the British Shorthair can be traced to a 19th Century mix between Egyptian cats and European wildcats, and, when they emerged, they were instantly popular. Indeed, they were a massive hit at the first-ever cat show, held at London’s Crystal Palace.
After later becoming endangered, the British Shorthair was bred with Persian cats to preserve a healthy bloodline, and the result is the sturdy, healthy, and much-loved cat breed we find today.
The history of the Ragdoll, on the other hand, only goes back to 1960. A long-haired cat named Josephine had a litter of kittens with unusual markings and beautiful coats. Not only that, but the cats were incredibly affectionate. They shared one more significant trait, too – the tendency to relax their muscles and go limp while being held, hence the name Ragdoll.
Temperament and Character
Both the British Shorthair and Ragdoll are affectionate and loving cats, making them a hugely popular choice for cat lovers. However, some significant differences in their temperaments are worth considering.
The British Shorthair loves to be petted and stroked and is not opposed to the occasional belly rub with someone they trust. However, if you have visions of sitting on the sofa with him curled up on your lap, you’re likely to be disappointed, as they are unlikely to indulge you for long, preferring to keep people at arm’s length.
Having said that, they’re likely to get into the habit of following you around the house, so don’t be surprised if you have an almost constant companion if you opt for a British Shorthair.
Ragdolls, on the other hand, go the extra mile in the cuddles department. These cats love nothing more than being carried – many of them will even relax their muscles completely and flop into your arms as you hold them. Not only that, but they’ll be more than happy to lay on your lap for hours at a time.
Also, your Ragdoll will more than likely greet strangers as though they’ve known them all their lives, so make sure any visitors you have are happy getting attention from your cat!
Because they’re so affectionate and gentle, some people have suggested that this can place them in danger in outdoor settings. That’s because they’re likely to be curious and without fear, for example, in approaching vicious dogs. Because of this, it is often recommended that Ragdolls are kept as an indoor cat.
To learn more about Ragdoll’s characteristics and temperament, you can check out this article here.
Even though British Shorthairs are somewhat less affectionate than Ragdolls, they are still an extraordinarily loyal cat. They’re also more low maintenance than Ragdolls, as they don’t need as much attention.
British Shorthairs, unlike Ragdolls, are incredibly adept at catching prey, so if he’s going to be an outdoor cat, don’t be surprised to receive regular “presents.” With that in mind, if you have smaller pets, the British Shorthair might not be the best choice as they can bring out their predatory instincts.
As well as being an extremely docile cat, Ragdolls are also very quiet. British Shorthairs, on the other hand, are not shy about meowing for attention, and don’t be surprised if they become more vocal as they get older!
Despite these subtle differences in temperaments and character, you should be reassured that both breeds are excellent with children – and even dogs!
Physique and Appearance
Both British Shorthair and Ragdoll cats are large breeds – but in slightly different ways.
British Shorthairs have stocky builds. They average 12-14 inches in height. Weight-wise, females are generally between 7 and 12lbs, with males coming in at between 9 and 17lbs.
Ragdolls, on the other hand, are slightly shorter, reaching between 9 and 11 inches. However, despite this, they are heftier, with females weighing between 10 and 15lbs and males a substantial 15 to 20lbs.
With a stocky body and short legs, British Shorthairs are commonly nicknamed the teddy bear. They also have big heads and round faces. Meanwhile, Ragdolls are known for their long and furry tails. They’re also muscular, hence their heavier weight.
Another significant difference is in the two breeds’ eye colors. The British Shorthair has gold/copper colored eyes (although specific fur colors also show tints of green in the eyes), while the Ragdoll has blue eyes.
There is one area in the physique in which the British Shorthair and Ragdoll are similar, and that is the time it takes them to reach physical maturity, with both breeds getting there within around four years.
There are six varieties of Ragdoll – flame, chocolate, seal, blue, cream, and lilac. Meanwhile, British Shorthair variations include red, cream, white, black, blue, lilac, and chocolate.
The Ragdoll also has longer fur than the British Shorthair, enhancing its reputation for being one of the more cuddly cats.
Finally, neither the British Shorthair nor the Ragdoll has an undercoat, which means for people who suffer allergies when cats are around, these two are among the least likely to trigger them.
British Shorthairs are a breed that generally enjoys long periods of good health. Despite this, there is a chance that he could develop a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The condition causes a thickening of the heart muscle over time that can result in heart failure. Thankfully, though there isn’t a cure, it can be managed so that your cat can live an active life.
Another condition that can affect the British Shorthair more commonly than other cats is Hemophilia B. This leads to disordered blood clotting, which means that life-threatening bleeding can occur in the event of an injury. More prevalent in males than females, this condition will typically be present by the age of six months if it’s going to develop at all.
Ragdolls are a little more likely than British Shorthairs to develop health issues. They’re also somewhat prone to developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, as well as this, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and crystals can also affect the Ragdoll.
Digestive issues, including inflammatory bowel disease, vomiting, and diarrhea, can also afflict the Ragdoll. If any of those symptoms develop, have your cat checked over by the vet.
To maintain health in both breeds, wet food (particularly for the Ragdoll, where even dry food should be moistened beforehand) high in animal protein is generally recommended. Avoid dairy and grains too.
One of the biggest differences between the Ragdoll and British Shorthair is the length of time they’re expected to live.
The British Shorthair can live between 15 and 20 years, making it a breed with one of the longest life expectancies. Ragdolls, however, only usually live between 12 and 15 years.
As this article has described, both the British Shorthair and Ragdoll can be excellent choices as pets – particularly for first-time cat owners – as they are incredibly loyal and affectionate (albeit in subtly different ways).
They’re both remarkably placid cats, too, so if you’re introducing either to a household with children or dogs, the chances are they’ll still settle in seamlessly.
Not only that, but both breeds are very beautiful, with a variety of colors.
However, of the two, the British Shorthair is probably the breed that is most suited to those who have neither experience of keeping cats nor the time to devote large swathes of attention to them.
That’s because although friendly, they’re less likely to want your attention than the Ragdoll. They also have a longer lifespan and generally develop fewer health conditions as they grow older.
Nevertheless, there are still considerations that might make a Ragdoll best suited to you, depending on your circumstances. For example, the Ragdoll’s nature isn’t as predatory as the British Shorthair, so they’ll give you fewer issues with bringing catches into your home or bothering smaller pets.
The Ragdoll is also so sweet-natured that if you’re looking for a lap cat – or a constant loyal and loving companion – they’re hard to beat.
Despite their differences, in reality, both the British Shorthair and the Ragdoll are excellent pets to keep and your love for them will be more than returned, regardless of which one you decide on.