10 of the Best Russian Cat Breeds

Russian blue cat looking up

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There are some popular cat breeds, along with some rare felines, that hail from Russia. For instance, the Russian blue is a cat breed that's common around the world. But a rare breed, such as the Ussuri, is seldom seen as a companion animal. Russian cat breeds vary widely in appearance and temperament. Many were developed in different parts of Russia, so their ancestry is relatively distinct. 

Here are 10 cat breeds from Russia.

Tip

When considering a rare or unfamiliar cat breed, it’s ideal to interact with a feline representative of that breed before acquiring one as a pet. That way you’ll be able to judge whether some of the breed tendencies are right for your lifestyle.

  • 01 of 10

    Donskoy

    Donskoy cat face close up

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    The Donskoy originated in the late 1980s in Russia when a breeder crossed a cat carrying a dominant hairless gene with a local tomcat. Donskoys tend to be quite affectionate, smart, and sociable. They prefer to have company for most of the day. And due to their lack of fur, they need protection both from cold temperatures and sunburn.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 11 to 12 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; little to no fur; wrinkled skin

  • 02 of 10

    Kurilian Bobtail

    Kurilian Bobtail cat standing against a white background

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    The Kurilian bobtail is a naturally occurring breed that has not been selectively bred. These cats have lived on the Sakhalin Island and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia for over 200 years. They also have been found on the Kuril Archipelago, which joins Russia with Japan. They may have the look of a wild cat, but they're surprisingly mild-mannered and affectionate. However, given their feral heritage, they do have a high prey drive and energy level.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 12 inches

    Weight: 11 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Soft, silky, short or semi-long coat; distinctive bobtail; colors most commonly seen are red or gray with stripes

  • 03 of 10

    Mekong Bobtail

    Mekong bobtail close profile shot

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    The Mekong bobtail, which used to be called the Thai bobtail, was named after the famous river that runs through Southeast Asia. Although the breed occurred naturally in Asian countries located along the river, the Mekong bobtail wasn't formally developed as a breed until it was imported to Russia. Today, these cats are known for being friendly, playful, curious, and sociable.

    Mekong Bobtail

    Height: 7 to 9 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Athletic build; looks similar to a Siamese with a bobtail; short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of pointed colors

  • 04 of 10

    Russian Blue

    Russian blue cat sitting

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    This breed's definitive origin isn't clear, though it's widely accepted that it's native to Russia. With their athletic and graceful appearance, Russian blues were favored by the tsars of Russia during the 19th century. These cats tend to have rather reserved natures and can be wary of strangers, but once they get to know you they develop strong bonds. They're gentle, affectionate, and playful but still independent enough that they're usually content to be left alone for a few hours a day.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 7 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short, dense coat; comes in silver to dark gray shades; bright green eyes

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Siberian

    Siberian cat profile against blurred gray background

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    This breed hails from the Siberian taiga, a vast forested subarctic region in eastern Russia. The region has very long, extremely cold winters, which is why the Siberian cat has a very dense, semi-longhaired triple coat to keep it insulated. Known for being affectionate, Siberians love to be in the company of their humans. They're also playful, active, and intelligent and need plenty of enrichment to keep them from becoming bored.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 8 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; semi-long hair coat that ranges from coarse to soft; full collar ruff; comes in a wide variety of colors

  • 06 of 10

    Karelian Bobtail

    The Karelian bobtail is a rare Russian cat breed that was first recognized in 1994. It’s generally a friendly and easygoing cat that can adapt to many types of households, including those with kids and other animals. Karelian bobtails enjoy spending time with their family, but they’re also generally quite and not demanding of attention. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 12 inches

    Weight: 10 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Solid build; hind legs longer than front legs; bobbed tail; short to long dense coat in various colors and patterns 

  • 07 of 10

    Peterbald

    peterbald cat

     

    PetrMalyshev / Getty Images

    The Peterbald originated in Russia in the 1990s via breeding between a Donskoy and an Oriental shorthair. Other cat breeds since have been added to refine the look. These cats are quite smart and love attention. They often will follow their favorite person from room to room and won’t miss the chance to jump in your lap.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long, lean body; long tail; triangular head; large, almond-shaped eyes; can be hairless, have a light coat, or have a full coat

  • 08 of 10

    Toybob

    Toybobs were first seen in Russia in the 1980s, arising from a spontaneous genetic mutation. A cat with a short, kinked tail was bred with a bobtail cat, resulting in an unusually small kitten with a short tail. Toybobs may always stay roughly the size of an average kitten, but they have big personalities. They love to play and are quite agile while also being content to cuddle in someone’s lap.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 4 to 6 inches

    Weight: 4 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Petite build; short, kinked tail; large eyes; short to semi-long coat in a wide variety of colors

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Ussuri

    The Ussuri is a very rare cat breed with an uncertain origin. It’s likely that domestic cats bred with wild forest cats in the Amur River region of Russia, creating this hybrid that has quite a wild look. These cats tend to be athletic and active with a strong prey drive. They’re not the most social and outgoing cats, but they do typically form a strong bond with one person in the family.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 11 inches

    Weight: 11 to 15 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; short hair; wild cat-like coat with spots and stripes

  • 10 of 10

    Neva Masquerade

    The Neva Masquerade cat is a Russian breed that’s simply a longhaired version of the Siberian cat. These felines also tend to grow slightly larger than the Siberian. They generally are friendly and playful and can be quite vocal. And they need a fair amount of grooming to keep their coat tidy and free from mats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 12 inches

    Weight: 8 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long hair; colors can vary but often involve a light body with dark brown to black points (color on the paws, tail, ears, and muzzle)