Bobtail cat breeds stand out for their unique tail—or lack thereof. Unlike most domesticated cat breeds, this group of cats feature a short, naturally docked tail. Resulting from a naturally occurring genetic mutation, these cats lack the long and expressive tail familiar to most cat fanciers. Don’t let that fool you, though, each of one of these 6 bobtail cat breeds have unique features and captivating personalities that more than make up for any shortened tail lengths.
For most bobtail cat breeds, the tail may be straight, kinked, or bent. Some breeds, like the Japanese bobtail and Kurilian bobtail, have a fluffy pom-pom like tail. Others, such as the Manx, typically have no tail at all! Learn more about the looks and origins of the most popular bobtail cat breeds.
01 of 06
Sporting a bunny-like tail that’s often called a “pom” by breed enthusiasts, the Japanese bobtail is a smaller bobtail cat breed with fine features and a tail that may be straight or bent. As its name suggests, this breed has been closely associated with Japan, though its origins may be from other parts of Asia, including China, Korea, or Tibet.
Once a common feral cat in the streets of Japan, the breed is today a beloved pet in many parts of the world. It has an affectionate and playful personality that endears it to its owners. Today, this bobtail is breed is recognized by the majority of international cat registries, including TICA, CFA, and the ACFA. A calico coat is the most common look for Japanese bobtails, though they come in an array of other colors as well.
Height: 8 to 9 inches
Weight: 8 to 10 pounds for males, 5 to 7 pounds for females
Physical Characteristics: Petite; docked, fluffy tail; coats can come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including white, black, cream, lilac, red, blue, bi-colored, and tri-colored, among others
02 of 06
This friendly feline is immediately recognized for its shortened tail, but is often known for its sweet and playful personality. Like other bobtail cat breeds, this breed gets its distinctively short tail as a result of a natural genetic mutation.
The American bobtail breed was specifically developed in the 1960’s, after a couple adopted a stray cat with a shortened tail and bred him to their female cat with a typical long tail. The resulting kittens had featured the distinctive shortened tail, and the trait was selectively bred for in future generations, along with the pleasant disposition and muscular body these cats are known for today.
Height: 9 to 10 inches
Weight: 7 to 16 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Shortened tail that may be straight or curved; short to long coat that is typically shaggy and comes in many colors or patterns
03 of 06
With the look of a miniature bobcat, this is one of the most wild-looking bobtail cat breeds. But rest assured, this domesticated cat is an easy-going and affectionate feline friend.
This large cat carries the gene for a naturally docked tail. Together with a brown spotted tabby coat, these cats do look like household versions of the wild American bobcat. However, this breed has been recognized by TICA since 1995 and the ACFA since 2005, with new registrations today resulting from breeding between purebred pixie-bob cats.
Height: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 11 to 22 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Bobcat-like appearance; shorthaired to shaggy coat; various tail lengths
04 of 06
This cat breed often has no tail at all. However, some Manx cats do have a very short tail, earning the breed a rightful spot on our list of bobtail cat breeds. Like other cats without a full tail, the breed stands out for its unique physical characteristics. The breed originated on the Isle of Man, located between Great Britain and Ireland.
A Manx with no tail is referred to as a ‘rumpy,’ while a cat with a bone protrusion where the tail should be is called a ‘rumpy riser.’ Occasionally, a Manx may be born with a tail but wouldn't be eligible to compete in cat shows. 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.
Height: 8 to 10 inches
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Physical Characterisitics: Medium-sized body with short fur and no tail (though a short or long tail sometimes occurs); open, almond-shaped eyes in bright hues like aqua, gold, and blueContinue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
This Russian cat breed features a cobby body and a bobbed tail. Like other bobtail cat breeds, this feline’s unique tail is the result of a naturally occurring genetic trait. The cats originated in several remote islands and areas of Russia, such as the Sakhalin Island and Kamchatka peninsula. Interestingly, they also were found on the Kuril Archipelago—which connects Russia to Japan, the home of another popular bobtail cat breed. Cat fanciers may note that both the Japanese bobtail and the Kurilian bobtail have a tail frequently described as ‘pom-like.’
However, the Kurilian bobtail is a robust and sturdy cat breed, unlike the more svelte and petite Japansese bobtail. These cats have powerful hindquarters and a look that resembles the wild, although their sociable nature has earned them a reputation as a lovable house pet.
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Weight: 11 to 15 pounds
Physical Characteristcs: Soft, silky short or semi-long coat, distinctive bobtail; colors most commonly seen are red, to grey, to bobtail stripes
06 of 06
Essentially a longhaired version of the Manx, the Cymric is another bobtail cat breed. Different cat registries recognize this longer-coated bobtail cat in various ways. The CFA, refers to it as a longhaired Manx and the breed standard is the same as the Manx. However, TICA and the Canadian Cat Association (CCA) recognize it as a separate breed that adheres to its own standard. No matter what you call it, this cat with a dense, double coat typically lacks a tail altogether, though some kittens are born with a bobbed tail or even a full-length tail.
A litter of this breed may include both Manx (shorthaired) and Cymric (longhaired) kittens, since the difference is related to the length of the fur and both cats carry the genes to produce either coat type.
Height: 8 to 10 inches
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized body with medium to long fur; open, almond-shaped eyes in bright hues like aqua, gold, and blue; typically lacks a tail