How Many Japanese Cat Breeds are There?

Japanese Bobtail

Cats are amazing pets for many households. Japanese have been keeping cats as domestic pets for thousands of years. Today, there are around ten million cats in Japan, which makes them more famous than dogs. Cats are very famous among the Japanese, such that there is a market for cafes. You can enjoy a delicious meal while playing with the cats or watching them. Japanese culture and folklore also feature a lot of cats, often depicting them as bringing good fortune to the owner. Hello, kitty is a cat that acts as a Japanese pop culture icon. So, how many Japanese cat breeds are there? There is only one cat breed that is native to Japan. However, there are other popular cats bred in Japan. Here is an exclusive guide on the Japanese cat breed and the most popular cat breeds in Japan.


15. Bengal

Bengal is another popular cat breed in Japan for its elegant appearance. The cat is a cross breed of the Asian leopard cat and the domestic cats such as American shorthairs, Abyssinians, or Egyptian Maus. According to Petfinder, the feline is known for its elegant and exotic leopard print patterns on the short, thick fur. The breed is also popular for its black-rimmed, almond-shaped eyes and unique whisker pads. Bengal cats grow to 18 inches and weigh up to 15 pounds. Bengals are bred to have the exotic look of a wild, large cat but the personality of a house cat. These friendly cats are playful and energetic, which is why they are commonly kept in Japanese families. They are often very affectionate towards their owners.

American Shorthair

14. American Shorthair

American Short-hair is a domestic cat breed claimed to be derived from European cats and among Japan’s most popular breeds. This cat breed was first brought to North America by an inhabitant to protect the shipment from rats. American shorthairs have a multicolored, beautiful, and varied coat, making them easy to care for and are charming cats. These cats are friendly but often enjoy some lonely time. This makes them a perfect choice for pet owners searching for a pet that is affectionate and less demanding. Most people appreciate the breed for its beautiful fur and intelligence.

Russian Blue

13. Russian Blue

Russian Blue is a distinctive cat breed that often becomes a fiesta stopper with its beautiful gray-blue coloring and silvery coat. The Russian blue cat is extremely faithful to its owner, although shy around many people. This unique cat breed enjoys play and needs attention when you come home, which has seen it increasingly bred in Japan. They often accompany their owners around the house and wait for them to return home when they are away.

Somali Cat

12. Somali Cat

The Somali Cat is a relative to the Abyssinian cat breed. This breed has gained tremendous popularity in Japan for its large ears, long hair, and fluffy tail. It is claimed that Somali cats originated from the cross-breeding of Abyssinian cats with long-haired cats in the early 1900s. These cats are energetic, playful, curious, and intelligent. You will often find them lying around. They offer a great match for individuals at home most of the time.

Maine Coon

11. Maine Coon

The main Coon is a cat breed popular for its daunting looks and big stature. According to, initially, these cats were used in hunting mice and stayed on ships. Their look is attractive to many cat enthusiasts, including Japanese, and the cat breed is now being bred in Japan. Despite their size and look, Maine coons are adaptable and affectionate cats. They are also great at hunting rats.


10. Persian

Persian cats are best known for their elegant, long, silky fur, stubby nose, and glamorous looks. They have big, round eyes with round faces and smaller ears. Their beautiful look and calm, sweet demeanor have made them one of the most famous cat breeds in Japan. Although their background is a bit unclear, Persians are believed to originate in Persia, modern-day Iran, or Turkey in the early 1600s. They later spread in Asia and moved on into Europe and the rest of the world. They are also remarkably famous among the nobles, including Queen Victoria. The Persian cat breed is medium-sized, growing to around 14 to 18 inches and weighing up to 12 pounds. Their long, silky fur comes in several solid colors, including black, white, cream, and gray. Other color variations include calico, tabby, Himalayan, and tri-color.


9. Ragdoll

The Ragdoll is one of the largest feline breeds, which is one of the reasons it is becoming increasingly popular among the Japanese. They are affectionate cats that often go with the flow. This breed is relatively new, developed as late as the 1960s in California by cross-breeding a domestic long-haired white cat ad Burmese cats. Ragdolls grow to a length of up to 40 inches, weighing up to 20 pounds. Don’t be intimidated by their size. Their large blue eyes and throaty, loud purr will show that they are soft felines. Ragdolls are extremely social, making them a perfect fit for bustling homes with other pets and kids. Their social temperament makes them ready to make friends with just anyone. These cats flop across your legs and often need an enthusiastic rub and snuggle.

Norwegian Forest Cat

8. Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an ancient cat breed dating back hundreds of years, developed in the forest of Norway. Today, there are many Japanese Norwegian Forest cat breeders for their unique looks. Also known as ‘Skogkatt,’ meaning forest cat, this is a big, wild-looking cat with a long, dense coating and furry ears with lynx ends. The Norwegian Forest cat comes in almost any color pattern with or without white markings.

It grows up to 36 inches long and weighs around 18 pounds. Affectionate but independent, the Norwegian Forest cat won’t lay on your side the whole day but will hop for a cuddle once in a while. However, this doesn’t mean that the cat has a standoff personality. They want to be involved in all aspects of human life, just that they prefer being nearby rather than always on you. They are playful and curious and get along well with other pets.


7. Abyssinians

Commonly known as the Abyss, these cats are popular for their short, tickled hair. According to Hills Pet, this breed has a length of up to 28 inches and weighs up to 12 pounds. Abyssinia cat breed got its name from Abyssinia, present-day Ethiopia. This breed spread throughout the world, finding its way into Japan. Most Japanese families keep it for its high intelligence, friendliness, and playfulness. Although independent, this feline breed won’t hesitate to rest with its owner. It’s recommendable to offer them a companion cat as they can be bored when left alone for long.

British Shorthair

6. British Shorthair

Like the American Shorthair, the British Shorthair is a popular cat breed in Japan. This medium to large cat breed features a short, dense coat and a distinctive rounded face and head, making it seem like a cuddly teddy bear. As the name suggests, this breed originates from the United Kingdom, where it was established naturally. Initially, most British shorthairs had a blue color with a gray hue but now come in varying patterns and colors. The British shorthair cat is large but not as big as the Siberian cat or Maine Coon. These cats grow to a length of up to 25 inches and weigh around 7 to 17 pounds. Regarding personality, British shorthairs are easy-going and often get along with kids, other pets, and anyone. They are active but not hyper and can live comfortably in any house size.


5. Siberian

Next on our list of popular Japanese cat breeds is the Siberian cat. This cat is medium-sized and semi-long-haired that is affectionate and breathtaking to behold. They have a length of 18 to 25 inches and weigh around 15 to 20 pounds. These cats are native to Russia, where they used their luxurious triple coat to protect against the cold climate. According to Statista, these cats are becoming significantly widespread in Japan as of 2021. Siberians have outgoing and delightful personalities. They are friendly, affectionate, energetic, and enjoy the companionship of other felines. Even better, Siberian cats are slow to mature, taking up to five years to mature from the kitten antics, making them more fun to be around. They are exceptionally playful and intelligent.


4. Munchkin

Munchkin is named after the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz. It’s often claimed that the cat was discovered by a Louisiana teacher that found two short-legged, pregnant Munchkins under her vehicle in the early 1980s. The cat breed is a relatively new breed characterized by very short hair and legs. Short hair results from a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Although this cat was bred in 1980 in the US, it has become popular in Japan. Most people say that their short legs make them adorable when playing and are also very social, making them one of the ideal pets in Japan. According to Base Paws, munchkins have a good reputation for their cute short legs, affection, friendliness to people, playfulness, and cleverness.

Mixed Breed

3. Mixed Breed

This cat is a mixed gent, popularly attracted by the Japanese. It has been cross-bred with cats from other countries, resulting in non-selective breeding. They are believed to have originated in the Middle East when humans domesticated wild animals and developed agriculture. They spread throughout Asia and Japan, as well as Africa and Europe. However, this has not prevented them from being beautiful and friendly cats.

Their varied sizes, shapes, personalities, and coat colors make them amazing and depend on their lineage. Mixed breed cats are available in various weights and sizes, from as small as seven pounds to double-digit sizes, again based on the dominant genes of the cat’s lineage. The cats are friendly, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind felines that make the perfect addition to a big family home or a single-person apartment.

Scottish Fold

2. Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold is one of the most popular breeds in Japan. The cat has a dominant gene mutation that results in folded ear cartilage. This is why its ears bend forward and backward. The cat breed is known for its grey, thick fur, gentle nose, and round face. According to The Spruce Pets, they grow to 30 inches and weigh up to 11 pounds. The Scottish Fold also has great behavioral characteristics and temperament. The cats are playful, affectionate, and easily adapt to other households and pets. Scottish Fold does not require plenty of active engagement or strenuous exercises to remain happy. They will be okay in households with balanced casual play and lots of cuddle time.

Japanese Bobtail

1. Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail has lived in and around Japan for thousands of years and is the only native cat breed from Japan. This loving and friendly breed originated in Japan as early as the 1600s. The breed is the only cat native to Japan, although it’s now found worldwide. The cats are available in shorts and long hair varieties and are renowned for their dog-like antics. The Japanese Bobtail has a shortened tail, often known as a ‘pom,’ their most unique characteristic that results from a genetic mutation.

The shortened tail can be bent, straight, or kinked. Their coats come in various colors, including; black, white, lilac, cream, blue, red, bi-colored, and tri-colored. Besides their distinguishing short tails, the Japanese Bobtail has an incredible history dating back to Korea or China, more than 1000 years ago. It’s believed that the cat breed first entered Japan through Buddhist monks who used them to keep away rodents from scrolls. Later on, the Japanese bobtails were used in hunting rodents that endangered the Japanese silk trade in 1602. The cats are active, playful, social, and intelligent.

Bottom Line

The Japanese Bobtail is the only native Japanese cat breed. However, there are other cat breeds bred in Japan that you are likely to find in a Japanese family easily. The three top breeds in Japan are Mixed breed, Munchkin, and Scottish Fold. All these cat breeds are beautiful and friendly, ideal for great family pets. What’s your favorite cat breed among the ones reviewed above? Feel free to choose one or a few for a pet.

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