British Shorthair Silver Tabby - Spotted or Classic

Publicity of food-advertising has made them well known and popular, but the breed existed long before this. Breeding never was as easy as it seemed. Only a few breeders persevered. The new popularity now lures new breeders to accept the challenge.

Silver tabbies exist in several colours, with either mackerel, classic or spotted, patterns but the most important feature is the contrast. Markings can be black, blue, chocolate, lilac or red, and have to be a clear contrast to the silver. In the past the eyecolour had to be green; later on the standard changed, allowing yellow eyes as well.

Breeders have to pay attention to the side ring like markings (like an oyster). These have to be closed, clearly visible on the silver background. Also important are stripes on the chest (two or more) and rings at the tail (four or more). Deviations from this recommendation are minor faults.
Breeding of good silver spotted tabbies is difficult. They should have clear spots, round or oval, but obviously different from mackerel markings. Very often there are mixed markings, some mackerel like stripes, some spots. Only diligent selection for good spots makes for successful breeding. The spots on the back form a line to the tail. Spotted tabbies always have many rings at the tail with a stripe through them, this was what nature intended.

Common to both classics and spotties, often the stripe runs lengthways over the tail. It's not ideal, but not a major fault. Good patterns have to be carefully observed and selected. Spots are dominant features over classic markings, but I don't think breeding is easier. The problem is that there are only a few spotted tabbies with very lovely, correct markings. So the breed is a great challenge. Nice spots come not by coincidence but by using cats with very good spots. If a breeder has no tabbies with good markings in his lines he cannot get a lovely pattern.

Markings have to be carefully observed, because using cats with incorrect markings or solid colours results in losing the good pattern. Not to be recommended is using colour point cats. Colour point genes destroy the correct pattern
Breeders have to maintain a clear silver, without rufism (brownish parts in the silver). This results often from using British Blue or Red tabbies. The silver looks dirty. Crossing with blue also produces smoke kittens with ghostmarkings. The smokes pursue breeders for some generations. Only selection helps.

A silvertabby should be have clear colours, clear silver, black or blue markings-- and green eyes! I think only green eyes give the tabby face the very special charm.

All these factors make the breed difficult. Beside the points breeder of solids have to watch (body, coat, and type), tabby breeders have also to pursue the standards of markings and colour