Although the breed has a distinguished history stretching back to the sixteenth century, and was one of the first to be given official recognition, the Black Longhair is a relatively rare animal. The difficulties of producing a pure black, unadulterated by any rustiness or smokiness, has made good specimens much prized. The coat needs particular care and attention: damp may lend the fur a brownish tinge, and over-exposure to the sun is likely to give a bleached appearance.
Early Blacks frequently exhibited Angora traits, which have now been successfully bred out. World War II interrupted breeding programs in Europe, but not in the US, where a Black Longhair has been voted Cat of the Year a record three times.
The Black Longhair makes a loyal and affectionate companion, although it can be suspicious of strangers. It is said to be more lively than its white counterpart.
There are no varieties of Black Longhair.
Small and round-tipped
Should be large, round, and deep orange or brilliant copper in color.
Round and broad, with a snub nose that should have a black nose pad.
Solid and stocky, with a low carriage
Short and fluffy, carried straight and low
The fur must be a gleaming coal-black, without a single white hair, rustiness or any kind of marking. Kittens may legitimately have temporary shading or white speckles; these should disappear after eight months or so.
Short, thick and well covered with fur
The paws should be large and round, with black paw pads in Great Britain and black or brown in the US.