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

Copyright 1994 - 2007 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).




Edinburgh Tailless


In 1809 it was reported that a female cat in Edinburgh, Scotland produced a number of tailless kittens over a period of several years. This strain apparently died out.

Egyptian Hairless Cat


There is no such breed as the "Egyptian Hairless Cat". It was invented by the TV show "Friends" and mistakenly reported as fact elsewhere. Hairless cats are not hypoallergenic and it was irresponsible of the show to mislead viewers. For hairless/nearly hairless breeds see Sphynx (Canadian Hairless), Don Sphynx (Donskoy/Donsky), Peterbald (St Petersburg Hairless), Hawaiian Hairless (Kohana); two extinct hairless breeds are Mexican Hairless Cat, French Sphynx.

Egyptian Mau


Modified oriental-type conformation; spotted coat. Introduced into the U.S. from Egypt; not recognized in UK. Possibly the oldest domestic cat breed, traceable back to the Egyptian Middle Period. Its fur type is apparently more primitive than that of other breeds and, unlike more modern cats, it has a tendency to face foes rather than flee! In flight, it is also the fastest of the domestic breeds. Not to be confused with a spotted oriental breed, bred to resemble Egyptian cat, which was developed in England and was originally known as the Mau.

Elf Cat


Sphynx x American Curl. Permissible out-crosses originally included non-pedigree domestic shorthairs, but are now restricted to the parent breeds. They combine the Sphynx hairlessness with curled ears, have a sturdy, athletic build and are intelligent, loving and people-centred. This resembles the non-standard form of the Dwelf, being a long-legged hairless, curl-eared cat.



Apparently a new breed being developed by a Munchkin breeder. No details.

English Rex


Old name for Cornish Rex until the Devon Rex also appeared in England. See Cornish Rex.


Archaic Name

Another term for Abyssinian, Ethiopia is the modern-day name for ancient Abyssinia. Abyssinians were once known as Ethiopian or Algerian Cats in China.

Euro Chaus


Cross between a jungle cat (F chaus) and European wildcat (F silvestris).

Euro Chausie


Cross between a domestic Chausie (Jungle cat/domestic hybrid) and European Wildcat.

European Albino


Bred in Belgium; a European shorthair type white cat with ruby-red eyes which have pale translucent blue irises (true "pink eyes" seem to be impossible due to the physical structure of a cats' eyes). Albinism is a lack of pigment and is different from the more common white colour.

European Burmese


American name for the Burmese cat found in UK and Europe, it is considered more Oriental in type than the cobbier American Burmese. See "Burmese" for description.

European Shorthair


First recognized in Sweden, similar to, but less cobby than British Shorthair. 58 color varieties are approved, classic tabby being favourite. Derived from cats brought to Europe by Roman settlers, possibly with admixture of genes from native European Wildcat (F silvestris) with which it can interbreed. Coat type reflects the harsher northern European climate. Has given rise to other breeds e.g. Chartreux, Norwegian Forest Cat.

 Exotic Fold (Exofold)


Exotic Shorthair x Scottish Fold shorthair; now being bred in Canada as the Foldex.

Exotic Longhair

Current, Variant

Longhaired individuals are sometimes born to Exotic Shorthair parents due to the recessive nature of the gene for longhair. Once despised they are not accepted in the Persian class due to non-Persian parentage and a relatively poor coat; accepted as Exotic Longhairs by some registries. One of the names suggested for this breed was the Tiffany, due to the original conception that the Exotic was to be allowed in silver colors only. Tiffany is now used for Tiffany/Chantilly breed.

Exotic Shorthair (Shorthair Persian)


Developed from Persian x Shorthair crosses. Persian type cat with short, very plush coat. Ultra-typing (Extreme typing) is beginning to occur in this breed.


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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