Breed Focus – The Maine Coon

15th July 2015

An American giant and a gentle wild catmainecoon_1116

According to legend, the Maine Coon is the result of the mating of a wild cat and a racoon, a genetic impossibility imagined because the coat and tail of the breed resemble those of the racoon.

The Maine Coon originated in the United States, in Maine. It is thought to have arisen from crosses between Angoras brought from the Middle East by Sailors, English cats brought by the first colonists, Russian and Nordic cats, and shorthaired American farm cats. The harsh climate of this region of the United States produced this large, hardy cat which may be considered the first American feline breed. Captain Jenks, a black and white cat, was the first Maine Coon successfully shown at cat shows in Boston and New York in 1861. The breed also caused a stir in 1895 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Persians and Siamese stole the stage from the Maine Coon for half a century. Interest in the breed was renewed around 1950 and has been growing rapidly since 1980.

A standard was published in 1960. The C.F.A. and the F.I.Fe. recognised the breed in 1976 and 1980, retrospectively. Although the Maine Coon is one of the world’s most significant breeds, it is fairly uncommon in Europe and rare in France, where it was introduced in 1981.

The Maine Coon Feline Association breed club was created in 1987. The breed has changed greatly in recent years. It is larger, taller, and more wild.

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Characteristics of the Maine Coon

Well-balanced and calm, this “gentle giant” with quiet strength is sociable and non-aggressive, albeit dominant. He is affectionate and very attached to his owner.

Playful, athletic and good hunters, Maine Coons need space. A large yard is better than an apartment. These hardy cats can tolerate the harshest winters. Females enter puberty late. Kittens grow slowly and do not reach adulthood until three or four years old. They are easy to groom, as a good weekly brushing is sufficient.

General: Very large in size. Weight 4-10kg. Medium Limbed. Very muscular body. Solid bone structure. Appearance of power and hardiness. Long, harsh hair.

Head: Medium sized, typically wedge shaped. Slightly domed forehead, slight concave curve in profile, high prominent cheek bones, angular muzzle, broad nose, sometimes slightly domed at the tip, firm chin, powerful, fairly long jaws.

Ears: Large, broad at the base. Moderately pointed, set high on the head. The inside is well-finished with long, fine hair growing outward. Lynx tips desirable.

Eyes: Large, well-spaced, slightly oval but appearing round when wide open. Set at a slight slant. All colours are allowed.

Neck: Moderately long, powerful, slightly arched.

Body: Long, rectangular, large in size. Heavy boned, powerful muscles.

Coat: Coat adapted to all seasons. Dense, silky, short on the head, shoulders and legs, longer on the back and flanks, with considerable, well-furnished britches. Long hair on the belly. A ruff is desirable. The undercoat is soft, fine, and covered with smooth, waterproof, slightly oily hair.mainecoonpackshott-botw

All colours are allowed, except chocolate, lilac and colourpoint, as well as cinnamon and fawn. Any amount of white is accepted. The main categories of coat colour are:

  • Tabby
  • Solid colour
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Silver
  • Smoke
  • particolor

Legs & Paws: moderately long, strong, heavy boned and muscular. Large, round paws, well-furnished interdigital regions.

Tail: Long, broad at the base, tapering towards the tip with long, abundant, fluttering hair.

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Category: Breed Focus