Cat Breeds (Recognized/Unrecognized, Common/Obscure), Variants, Mutations, Hybrids, Archaic/Alternate Names.

Copyright 1994 - 2008 Sarah Hartwell


About the Messybeast Breed List

A - Z Breeds Index


With so many different registries with different views, the exact status of some breeds is hard to define. I have used the following terms:

Alternative Name: An alternative name still in use; might have been a proposed name while breed was being developed.
Archaic Name: Historical name no longer used.
Crossbred: Informal variety always created by crossing 2 other breeds.
Current: A currently recognised breed (means recognition by at least one registry in the world)
Experimental: Early stages of development. Some have provisional or preliminary recognition, but others do not seek or achieve registry recognition.
Extinct: No individuals of the breed exist e.g. Mexican Hairless
Fake: An attempt to decieve the public by representing a cat as something it is not.
Fictional: "Breeds" such as cabbits, squittens, Chinese Hairless and Egyptian Hairless that exist only in fiction or folklore (but people believe they are real).
Local Variety: Unrecognised distinct strain of cats found in a particular locality e.g. Buckfast Blue.
Mutation: Distinct strain that occurred through mutation; some are incorporated into similar-looking breeds (e.g. different Rex strains with the same gene mutation).
Proposed: Not even off the drawing board!
Unknown: Reported by reputable source, but with no other information, possibly a one-off.
Variant: Purebred cats that do not meet the breed standard due to hidden genes e.g. longhaired Bengals. Some are recognised in other countries under a different name.

A further region-specific classification is out of the scope of this list: Banned. In parts of Europe certain breeds are prohibited because their breed traits are considered harmful deformities. These include Manx/Cymric (spinal problems related to tailless mutation), Munchkin (dwarfism), Scottish Fold (skeletal problems), Sphynx (hairlessness is considered detrimental to the breed) and Blue-Eyed Whites in any breed (deafness).






Agouti (ticked) coat plus facial markings, believed to originate from Egypt via Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Has been known as Algerian Cat and Ethiopian Cat. Silver Abyssinians (color on silver background) recognised in the UK. Longhaired Abyssinian variants became the Somali breed. Solid-colour Abyssinian variants exist but are not recognised. See also British Tick, Somali, Wild Abyssinian.

Abyssinian Bobtail

Local Variety, Crossbred

Abyssinian with bobtail mutation (naturally occurring mutation seen in feral cats). Also Abyssinian x Japanese Bobtail.

Abyssinian-Oncilla Hybrids

Extinct, Crossbred

Spotted hybrids from a male Oncilla (margay-like wild cat) and Abyssinian cats. Bred in the 1960s by Dutch breeder.

Abyssinian-Persian Crossbreds

Extinct, Crossbred

Result of experimental cross-breedings (1950s or 1960s) to introduce Abyssinian "red" gene into Persians to produce a solid red Persian without the tabby markings. No more has been heard since.

Abyssinian Variant


Longhaired cats of Abyssinian parentage. In some registries these are registered as Somalis. See also: Serenti, Somali


Alternative Name

See Ocicat

Aegean Cat


In development by breeders in the fledgling Greek Cat Fancy since early 1990s. The only native Greek breed. Originates from Cycladic islands. Semi-longhaired, light European/Continental type i.e. neither cobby, nor oriental. Coat is semi-long, less profuse than Turkish Angoras. All colours, especially bi-colours with white predominating.

African Shorthair

Alternative Name

An alternative (outdated) name for the Sokoke.

Alaskan Snow Cat

Experimental, Alternative Name

See Snow Cat.

Albino Siamese


Completely white Siamese-type cat with bluish-pink eyes (true "pink eyes" seem to be impossible due to the physical structure of a cats' eyes). This is true albinism (unpigmented eyes) as opposed to ordinary white colour.

Algerian Cat

Archaic Name

Old term for Abyssinian Cat.

Allergen-Free Cat


There are early-stage proposals to genetically modify cats to remove the gene that produces the allergen in cat dander. Since it isn't known whether removing the gene will have detrimental side-effects (e.g. on the cat's immune system), no Allergen Free cats have been created. This will not be a conventional breed with a breed standard, but will be a strain created in a research laboratory (and likely to be patented).

Alpaca Cat

Archaic Name

Alternative name for LaPerm

Alpine Lynx


White bobcat (speculative) x domestic. A pure white bobcat was sighted in the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota near the Manitoba border. A silver-and-white barn cat produced two large, wild-tempermented white kittens in spite of no white male domestic cats in the area. These were bred to Highland Lynx. Alpine Lynx are larger than average cats, solid white with curled or straight ears and preferably polydactyl paws.DNA testing has not confirmed bobcat ancestry and this breed is considered wholly domestic by registries

Altai / Altay


A blue-eyed breed from Kazakhstan; discovered in 1995. The fur can be any colour of pattern (except colourpoint) with blue eyes, greenish-yellow eyes or odd eyes. There are usually white markings. Homozygotes are either solid white or have a distinctive pattern (white front end, coloured hind end) and are generally deaf.

Altai Maine Coon


A dominant blue-eyed form of Maine Coon bred experimentally in Australia; the European conformation Maine Coon is used for this.

American Blue

Archaic Name

Early alternative name for Russian Blue; at the time (1890s) it was also called the Maltese Blue and was very popular in the USA. See: Russian Blue

American Bobtail


American Shorthair/Semi-Longhair with powder puff tail up to one third normal length, tufted ears. Some lines produce rumpies, stumpies and kink-tail cats. See also: Japanese Bobtail, Karelian, Kuril Bobtail, Pixie-Bob

American Burmese


Cobbier, rounder head, less foreign-looking than European Burmese. Recognises a subset of solid colours, but not torties. Unlike European Burmese, American Burmese have had cranial problems due to domed head shape. Two forms - a traditional unmodified style and Contemporary; the latter has a more domed head.

American Cornish Rex


Virtually a separate breed as it looks different, has different personality and has different genetic history fromBritish Cornish Rex breed; the breeds have diverged. American Cornish Rex began as Cornish Rex x German Rex x Oriental. Longer-legged and more delicate than British Cornish Rex; more vocal like Orientals.

American Curl


Shorthair/semi-longhair with ears that curve inward and away from face (like impish horns) giving a "devilish" expression.

American Straight


Shorthair/semi-longhair straight-eared variants of American Curl. These occur naturally because some American Curls carry the recessive gene for non-curled ears.

American Forest Cat Longhair

Alternative Name

Alternative name for the Maine Coon (naming convention same as Siberian Forest Cat, Norwegian Forest Cat).

American Forest Cat Shorthair


Shorthaired cat of Maine Coon type. Indicates hybrid with another breed because genetics determines that longhaired cats do not produce shorthaired variants.

American Keuda


Name derives from 1980's "Kitten Evaluation Under Direct Assessment" program in Texas, Oklahoma & New Mexico, studying 'type' of cat which survived as barn cats. Conformation resembles Egyptian Mau with silky coat, modified wedge head, slightly almond-shape eyes and medium to large-boned, highly athletic semi-foreign body. Loose skin and loose-jointed effect, noticeable skin flaps (apron) on belly and under elbows. All patterns and colours including solids, shaded colors, torbies and tabbies. Colourpoints may have ventral stripe (from belly flap to chest) in same colour as points. Only Texas/Oklahoma ranch cats from single, established gene pools (i.e. no new cats since 1980) can be used in foundation registry, no outcrosses to established breeds. Unknown if Egyptian Mau contributed to pre-1980 gene pool. Miniature versions are being bred.

American Longhair

Archaic Name

See Maine Coon. Confusingly some breeders are working on a longhaired version of American Shorthairs under this name. See Maine Coon.

American Lynx


Domestic x Bobcat (speculative), spotted shorthair, bobtailed. DNA testing has not confirmed bobcat ancestry and this breed is considered wholly domestic by registries

American Miniature Cat


Breeding ceased in 2015. Many different breeds wer used to create the REFR's American Miniature, including Manx, Siamese, Persians, and crossbreeds including polydactyl cats. It was approximately half the size of the average housecat, never exceeding 7 lbs at maturity. American Miniatures were not short-legged, but were perfectly proportioned. All colours, patterns and fur types were permitted, along with polydactyl and short-tailed cats. Miniature was defined as no more than 12 inches long (base of neck to base of tail) and no more than 10 inches tall (top of paw to top of shoulder blade) when mature (from 18 months). Cats exceeding these measurements were not bred, even if their parents were miniatures.


American Mystery Cat

Fake Hybrid

An attempt to sell black domestic cats using retouched photos of black leopards and a story whose veracity is equally dubious. Breeder avoids involvement with recognised breeders/registries. No defined breed standard, 3rd generation cats offered for sale will therefore not have consistent type. No DNA evidence of hybrid origin. Appears to be a money-making scheme.

American Polydactyl


Polydactyl (extra-toed) cats; no other info at present. Polydactyly is seen in Pixie-Bobs, Poly-Bobs and was once common in Maine Coons.

American Ringtail


The registration name chosen for the Ringtailed Sing-a-Ling. American Ringtails carry their tails arched over their backs (like Siberian Husky dog) or looped onto one or other flank. The tails appear very muscular but have full range of motion and the bones are not fused. Muscular foreign to oriental looks, back legs longer then front, loves to climb and has excellent balance.

American Satin


Satin-coated breed originating from a stray female in Oregon in 2014 (previously called Courtney cats). A medium-size, athletic cat with 4 accepted degrees of satin: 1. Shine: Shiny, glossy fur without downy udercoat; 2. Sparkle: shiny matte fur; 3, Frost: White/translucent tipped agouti hairs on part or all of the body; 4, Shimmer: combination of Shine + Frost + downy undercoat that obscures tabby markings when the cat moves. These Frost and/or Sparkle may appear simultaneously with either Shine or Shimmer. Shorthairs may also have a raised dorsal stripe.

American Shag

Alternative Name

Alternative name for the Maine Coon. See Maine Coon.

American Shorthair


America's own Shorthair breed, derived from cats imported by early settlers and less cobby than the British Shorthair.

American Snughead

Alternative Name

Alternative name for the Maine Coon. See Maine Coon.

American Wirehair


American Shorthair type cat with short, coarse, wiry coat with a thick undercoat, similar to that of Wirehair Terrier dogs.

Anatolian (Turkish Shorthair, Anadolu Kedisi)


Natural breed, similar in type to the Turkish Van. It is allowed to outcross with the Turkish Van. Like the Turkish Van & Turkish Angora the Anatolian occurs in all natural colours, with and without Van markings. Eye colour ranges from green, blue, yellow through to dark amber and odd/eyed. According to Turkish folklore"eyes must be as green as the lake and as blue as the sky". Many Anatolian longhaired variants (due to recessive genes from outcrossing) have been exported and registered as Vans or Angoras. Dutch and German breeders are striving for purebred Anatolians. They are said to like water even more than does the Turkish Van.


Archaic Name

See Angora, Turkish Angora

Anglesey Bobtail


No information available. Listed as new/experimental in 1996.


Archaic Name

An alternative name for the Angora, used in the 1800s. See Angora, Turkish Angora

Angora (British Angora)

Archaic name

Old British name for Oriental Longhair (European Javanese, Dutch Mandarin). In addition to the US Oriental Longhair standard, the self white British Angora may have green eyes or odd eyes. Original mating was Sorrel Abyssinian x Siamese Seal point, to introduce gene for white cats. The Abyssinian carried longhair gene; Longhaired Oriental Cinnamons and Fawns resulted (carrying recessive white). These were later bred to re-create the Angora type cat which was predecessor of the Persian breed. Not to be confused with the true Turkish Angora. In 2002, British fancies adopted the name Oriental Longhair. See also: Javanese (UK) Mandarin, Oriental/Foreign Longhair, Turkish Angora, Russian Angora.

Angora German Rex


See Longhaired German Rex.



Possible ancestor of modern Siamese, from Vietnam. It was considered that the Siamese cat was a result of interbreeding Birman and Annamese cats.



Previously called New Zealand Shorthair, the Antipodean is the "New Zealand" or "Australian" Shorthair/Longhair Domestic Cat descended from early European settlers' cats. Medium bodied, solidly built, muscular cat, neither foreign nor cobby in type. Well rounded ample chest, well developed shoulders, straight level back, equally broad from shoulder to hip. Medium long to medium short legs, proportional to body, medium boned, heavy muscle. Legs straight, paws firm and forward facing. Medium tail, proportional to body, heavier at base, tapering to gently rounded tip. Muscular neck. Medium to large head, slightly truncated triangular wedge, gently rounded contours or angular contours complementing bone structure. Full cheeks, well developed jawline, gently rounded forehead, obvious dip and straight or slightly downwards curving nose (marked nose break or absent nose break is a fault). Rounded muzzle, firm chin, broad jaw indicating powerful bite. Open expression. Medium size ears, slightly rounded at tips, not unduly open at base. Flared, pointed, cupped or small ears are faults. Large, lustrous wide-set eyes intermediate between round and almond shaped (slightly flattened top-line), at slight angle, but no oriental slant. Intense eye colour complements coat colour, all eye colours accepted including green, aqua, yellow, gold, copper; includes blue/odd eyed whites. Shorthairs have short, lustrous, moderately thick coats; dense but not plush or double coated. Semi-longhairs have soft, silky coat with moderate "lift". Longhairs have shaggy. Thicker fur with definite "lift". Accepted colours are traditional solids, tabbies, smokes, silver tabbies and parti-colours. Chocolate, sable, lavender, lilac, fawn, cinnamon and colourpoints not permitted.

Aphrodite's Giant Cat

Alternative Name

See Cyprus Mountain Cat


Alternative Name

One of the early names proposed for the Safari breed.

Apple (Round) head Siamese


Old-style Siamese, less extreme in type than modern (Classic) Siamese. Appleheaded (round-headed) Siamese are now making a comeback in the US and UK. In parts of Europe the "Thai Siamese" is comparable. The term "applehead" refers to a rounded head type of doll once popular in the USA.
See also: Colorpoint Oriental Shorthair, Colorpoint Shorthair, Opal, Siamese, Thai-Siamese.

Arabian Mau


Breed indigenous to the United Arab Emirates. Known for several centuries as the common "street cat" of the area. Recognised through efforts of Middle East Cat Society at a 2005 cat show in Dubai. "Mau" means "cat". There are 3 types: pure white, mackerel tabby and patched black-and-white. The cats are distinctive as they breed only among themselves and did not mate with other stray cats.


Archaic Name

See Russian Blue

Arctic Curl


Never developed. roposed breed using cross of Turkish Angora and Selkirk Rex (possible addition of Balinese later). Aim is curl-eared cat resembling Turkish Angora with curled semi-long coat, no woolly undercoat, and slightly rounder eye, preferably blue-eyed. Preferred colour white (hence "Arctic" name), but other Turkish Angora colours will occur because the dominant white colour masks other colours. In 2018, would-be breeder was banned for life from keeping pets.



Cross between Chinchilla and Somali. Appear similar to the now extinct (Alaskan) Snow Cat and to the Somilla (which was not progressed beyond initial crosses)



Overpriced ($22,000) rehash of the US Savannah (African serval/domestic hybrid) from the developer of the hypoallergenic cat. Claimed to be cross between serval and Bengal (Asian leopard cat hybrid); a tall cat with leopardlike spots and contrasting tiger stripes, weighing up to 30 lbs. Breeder (a convicted con-artist) claimed to have used gene mapping and artificial insemination, but DNA tests in 2008 proved them to be F1 Savannahs he had bought and sold on under new name.

Asian Longhair (Asian Semi-Longhair)


See Tiffanie.

Asian Miniature Cat

Unknown/One-off Mutation

Info received from a vet tech who believed it to be a discontinued breed due to health problems: mentally retarded, bad teeth formation, fused vertebrae and joints and resembled a bear cub when walking. Sounds like one-off genetic dwarf.Dwarf cats should not be mated together as their offspring are likely to have the crippling/lethal effects. See Dwarf and Midget Cats.

Asian Shorthair


Cats of Burmese type but various colors outside of the normal Burmese range. Asian Shorthair group includes the Bombay and Burmilla.



A mutation of the Siamese, similar to modern Oriental/Foreign (i.e. various colors). Oriental in shape with large ears and long nose and short or absent whiskers. Already rare in the 1940s and now extinct.

Australian Curl


Discovered 1996, as an abandoned injured kitten. It was hoped that she would be the founder of an Australian Curl breed. The Curl differs a little from that of the American Curl. The cat had one litter only (suffering serious illness as a result), none of the kittens were curl-eared. No back-crossing could be attempted and no breed was founded (1997).

Australian Mist


The breed name encompassing the Spotted Mist and Marbled Mist. Derived from Abyssinian x Burmese x Domestic Tabbies. Spotted or Marbled pattern on ticked "misty" background. Comes in Brown, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Peach and Gold varieties. Bred in Australia and currently not seen outside of Australia. See also Spotted Mist, Marbled Mist.

Australian Mist Longhair


Longhaired variant of Australian Mist. Some Abyssinians carry a recessive gene for long hair which shows up in their descendants.

Australian Tiffanie


Depending on information source, the Australian Tiffanie (Oztiff) derives from either Chinchilla x Burmilla crosses (Burmilla are derived from Chinchilla x Burmese crosses) or from subsequent Burmilla x Burmilla matings which produce longhair kittens due to a recessive gene. They are the result of ensuring at least 50% Chinchilla in the pedigree. Australian Tiffanies are cobbier than Burmilla Longhairs with heavier bone structure a much fuller coat due to being 75% Chinchilla. They resemble an Old Style (early 1970s) Chinchilla. See also Tiffanie, Asian Longhair, Burmilla Longhair..



Breeds prefixed by "authentic" adhere to an older or variant conformation and are not ultra-typed or bred to extremes..



Recorded in 1927 as an alternative name for the Chartreux breed in France. It was also known as "American" because of the American preference for the blue-grey colour in domestic cats. See also: Chartreux



Aztec = GCCF term for classic tabby Ocicat (Ocicat variant). May be outcrossed to Abyssinian. Recognised Aztec variants are spotted (registered as Ocicat), classic (Aztec) and non-patterned (Aztec variant). See also: Classicat

Azul Cubano


Blue shorthaired/semi-longhaired breed recognised in 2010 in Cuba. See: Cuban Blue

CAT BREEDS TIME-LINE - A list of dates when breeds and varieties (i.e. populations which bred true) were discovered or recognised (now held on its own webpage due to the increasing size of this list).

CAT COLOURS & PATTERNS  - A plain English guide to cat colours and patterns, including breed-specific colours/patterns.

About this List of Breeds and the Breeds Time-Line
This file was originally started for my own interest back in the 1980s. Information on currently recognised cat breeds is readily available in books, from registries/governing bodies (GCCF, FIFe, ACFA etc), breed societies or on the Internet. Breed recognition and breed descriptions vary between registries and countries. This "layperson's list" contains general descriptions only and is not (nor will it ever be) specific to any single registry, breed society or cat-breeding country. It will not link to, nor name, any breeder pages or cattery pages as this would compromise its independence. It comprises information and trivia from diverse sources worldwide including historical texts and personal correspondence. I wish to express my gratitude to the various contributors who have helped me keep it up-to-date.


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