10 Unique Bobtail Cat Breeds

Kurilian bobtail cat outside

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Bobtail cat breeds stand out for their unique tail—or lack thereof. Resulting from a naturally occurring genetic mutation, these cat breeds don't have the long, expressive tail of most domesticated cats. Instead they either have some or none of that full tail length. What little tails they do have may be straight, kinked, or bent. And some are extra fluffy. Besides the tail, these cat breeds range in appearance, size, and personality.

Learn more about 10 of the most captivating bobtail cat breeds.

Tip

In general, having a gene for a bobbed tail doesn't negatively impact a cat's health. It's true bobtail cats won't have the benefit of a long tail to help with balance and agility. However, they still can be quite athletic in spite of this.

  • 01 of 10

    Japanese Bobtail

    Cream Japanese bobtail cat portrait

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    Sporting a bunny-like tail that's often called a "pom," the Japanese bobtail is a fairly small cat breed. Its tail may be straight or bent. As its name suggests, this breed is closely associated with Japan, though it also might have originated in other parts of Asia, including China, Korea, and Tibet. These cats tend to have an affectionate and playful personality.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 9 inches

    Weight: 5 to 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium length coat; comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including white, black, cream, lilac, red, blue, bicolor, and tricolor

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 18 years

  • 02 of 10

    American Bobtail

    American bobtail cat breed portrait

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    The American bobtail breed was developed in the 1960s. A couple adopted a stray cat with a short tail and bred him to their female cat with a typical long tail. The resulting kittens had the distinctive short tail, and the trait was selectively bred for in future generations. American bobtails are generally sweet and playful with their families.                   

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 10 inches

    Weight: 7 to 16 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short to long coat that is typically shaggy; comes in many colors and patterns

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

  • 03 of 10

    Pixie-Bob

    Pixie-bob cat breed portrait

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    With the appearance of a miniature bobcat, the pixie-bob is one of the most wild-looking bobtail cat breeds. But rest assured this domesticated cat is an easygoing and affectionate feline friend. Pixie-bob tails can range in length from nonexistent to a few inches to a full tail. Another interesting feature is many are polydactyl, meaning their paws have extra toes.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: 11 to 22 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short to shaggy coat; comes in many colors and patterns including stripes and spots

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 04 of 10

    Manx

    Manx cat breed portrait

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    Some Manx cats have no tail while others have a very short tail. A Manx with no tail is referred to as a "rumpy" while a Manx with some tail bone protrusion is called a "rumpy riser." Regardless of which category a Manx falls into, these cats have a stocky, athletic build with a short back. They’re known to be powerful jumpers and an active member of the family.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 9 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, dense coat; comes in a variety of colors and patterns

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 14 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Kurilian Bobtail

    Kurilian bobtail cat outside

    Vershinin / Getty Images

    This bobtail cat breed lived for centuries on the Kuril Islands between Siberia and Japan. Its bobbed tail is a naturally occurring trait and can range in length. In fact, no Kurilian bobtail cats have tails that look exactly alike. These cats are quite muscular, and they love to play. They also are intelligent and social, and they typically get along well with people and even other pets. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 12 inches

    Weight: 11 to 15 pounds

    Coat and Color: Soft, silky, short or semi-long coat; colors and patterns include red, gray, tabby, bobcat stripes, and more

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years

  • 06 of 10

    Cymric

    Cymric cat outside

    Angie Selman / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The Cymric is essentially a longhaired version of the Manx. Some but not all breed registries recognize it as a separate cat breed. These cats have a dense double coat. They typically lack a tail altogether, though some are born with a bobbed tail or even a full-length tail. A litter may include both Manx (shorthaired) and Cymric (longhaired) kittens because cats can carry the genes to produce either coat type.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 9 inches

    Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium to long fur; comes in many colors and patterns

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 14 years

  • 07 of 10

    Highlander

    Gray British Longhair cat with yellow eyes lying on bed
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    The highlander is a new type of cat, originating in 2004 from a cross between a desert lynx and jungle curl—two hybrid cat breeds. It used to be known as the highland lynx. These cats have a wild look, but they are typically gentle and loving. They have a naturally occurring bobbed tail that ranges from around 2 to 6 inches long, though some kittens are born with full-length tails.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches

    Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short or long coat; comes in a variety of colors and patterns

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10

    Mekong Bobtail

    young cat, kitten of Siam oriental breed, bobtail Mekong, lies on bed
    Konstik / Getty Images

    The Mekong bobtail originated in Thailand centuries ago. It has a naturally bobbed tail that can vary in length and can be curved or kinked in different ways. Thus, every tail on a Mekong bobtail has a slightly different look. These cats don’t need a tail to help with their athleticism. They’re quite agile, and they love to climb and leap. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 9 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, glossy coat with barely any undercoat; comes in a variety of colors

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 18 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Karelian Bobtail

    The Karelian bobtail hails from the Republic of Karelia, located between Finland and Russia. Its bobbed tail is a naturally recessive gene, so both parents must have it for the kittens to have it. The tail can be bent, kinked, and twisted. And it sports longer fur than the rest of the body, giving it a pom-pom look. Overall, these cats tend to be quite friendly and easygoing companions.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 12 inches

    Weight: 10 to 15 pounds

    Coat and Color: Silky, dense, long or short coat; comes in several patterns and colors

    Life Expectancy: 15 to 18 years

  • 10 of 10

    Desert Lynx

    The desert lynx is said to have some bobcat DNA in it. But several domestic cat breeds also are in its genetic makeup, including the Maine coon, Manx, American bobtail, and pixie-bob. Still, these cats do look like bobcats with their muscular body, short tail, and spotted coat. Despite their wild appearance, they tend to be social and affectionate, even with somewhat of a dog-like persona.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 16 inches

    Weight: 8 to 16 pounds

    Coat and Color: Bobcat-like appearance; spotted or ticked coat that is commonly chocolate, silver, black, or blue

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years