Projects of the British Shorthair BAC

A study of the Agouti Genetics of the Red and Cream cat.

Red Self or Red Spotted?
Red Self or Red Tabby?
Red Self or Red Tabby?

Project Introduction

Working with the Genetics Team at Langford, The British Shorthair BAC is undertaking a study of the Impact of the Agouti Gene upon the Red and Cream Cat.

The results will be available for discussion at the BAC seminar in October 2013, following which we will review the registration policy for the British Shorthair Red and Cream Agouti Cat.

The Current Assumption

(1)    The British Shorthair standard of points for red and cream tabby cats presumes that these red and cream cats that are Agouti cats (A/A or A/a) – will have a more distinct pattern than red/cream cats that are non agouti (a/a)

(2)    The red/cream tabby ‘show’ cat is an agouti cat

(3)    The red / cream self will be a solid coloured cat with no paling to the chin, albeit with some ‘ghost’ pattern

What if that is wrong?

Despite an international reputation for its registry based on genotype, the GCCF registered red/cream BSH tabby has been registered for over 70 years based upon phenotype.

Without any influence of genetic certainty a group of cats have been registered and shown as fine agouti specimens – But, are they?

Tell Tale Signs of Agouti

In black series cats, kittens born with the agouti gene are immediately obvious, breeders will not mistake a brown or blue spotty, for a black or blue, this is not due to any base pattern but due to other Agouti tell-tale signs, such as paling to the undercoat, chin, stomach and other facial patterns.

Irrespective of quality of  visibility  of base pattern – do agouti based reds show these tell-tale signs?

The Project

With the help of Langford University we hope to test the hypotheses:

1.) Red Cats with A/A or A/a will have a better pattern than red cats with a/a

2.) Irrespective of ‘quality of pattern’ red/cream Agouti cats will always show tell-tale agouti signs.

We will investigate the following groups with a mix of Male/Female and Well Marked/Poorly Marked

  1.) Solids: Reds/Creams

  2.) Agouti: Tabby/Spotted/Ticked

  3.) Domestic Shorthairs: non pedigree

  4.) European cats unrelated to UK breeds

  5.) Reds and Creams from breeds other then British Shorthairs.

If you have any cats which fit any of the above categories and are able to help with the project by submitting DNA swabs (Free of charge) then please fill in the form below and email to Lizz Benson

BSH BAC Project on Red and Cream cat Submission Form


The BAC has received kind donations from a number of from its constitute clubs and also individuals, however personal donations are also welcome as little as £10 we still have to raise an additional £300 details of our sponsors can be found on the Sponsors page.


The BAC will be holding a seminar showcasing some of the cats involved in the project and hope to report our findings of the project. The Seminar will be in October and more details can be found on the Seminar page.


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