A cat and a kitten looking at each other

Cat breeds

Choosing a cat breed is no easy task! We’ve written a cat breed guide to help you choose the cat of your dreams from all the breeds out there.

Cats, such endearing balls of fluff

A beige cat lying on a blanket

Let's not beat around the bush, choosing a pedigree cat is first and foremost about choosing a cat that has a look and build that appeals to you, instead of getting a run of the mill moggy. Maybe you're tempted by the wildcat look or perhaps a more polished pet has caught your eye.

The fascinating thing about pedigree cats though, is that depending on which breed you choose, you'll find you can't always judge a book by its cover. The pedigree cat you’re interested might be the perfect choice - or it might not be the cat for you after all. Another breed might be a better fit for your personality and lifestyle. The price of a pedigree cat can also be a decisive factor. Let's take a look at some of the main groups of cat breeds.

Cat breed factsheets

Take a look at our factsheets and learn all about the various breeds of cat: their physical characteristics, sociability, living environment, etc.

Group 1

The biggest cat breeds

Say me-wow to some colossal cats! Don't panic though, these gentle giants are big softies at heart. These huge cats can weigh up to 10 kg and can grow to over a metre long, but their imposing size hides a gentle, affectionate nature.

The Maine Coon

A Maine Coon with a long tail

One of the best known big cats is the Maine Coon, which has become increasingly popular in the UK since its introduction from Maine in the United States. The Maine Coon is a hardy, resilient cat. This powerful cat can weigh up to 10 kg or more and it's all muscle!

The Maine Coon is built for hunting and is in fact an outstanding hunter. The Maine Coon is instantly recognisable with a medium length coat, a full ruff, bushy tail, square head and large, high set ears with a tuft at the tip (like a lynx) which give it a distinctly wild look.

An elongated Maine Coon

The Maine Coon isn't just a pretty face though, its personality is one of a kind. This pedigree cat is as gentle and affectionate as it is large. The Maine Coon is an excellent pet for children. Although independent, they also love spending time with their owners. Some Maine Coons will allow you to walk them on a lead (provided they’ve been trained as kittens) and believe it or not these cats LOVE water! That's right, this pedigree cat loves to paddle in its water bowl, enjoys drinking from the tap and will happily play with any glasses of water that have been left sitting around (watch out for breakages).

Maine Coons can be quite vocal, but their meow is surprisingly quiet for such a large breed. They also chirp, purr and trill to get their message across. The price of a Maine Coon ranges from


. As it's a popular breed, you should have no problem finding a local breeder or cattery.

The Savannah

A Savannah hiding its face with its paw

The  Savannah is a breed of cat that is not only big but also very tall. It owes its height to its direct ancestor, the Serval (a wild cat from the African savannahs with rounded ears and black spotted tawny fur). The Savannah cat also inherited the Serval's large ears set high on its head. Its sleek, muscular body makes the Savannah a very graceful cat.

Despite its wild ancestry, the Savannah is a fully domesticated pedigree cat, extremely gentle, while still bursting with energy. The Savannah has a very keen instinct that makes it an exceptional hunter. Like its ancestors, the Savannah likes water and won't mind the odd bath.

These inquisitive cats are clever, quick-witted and friendly. They get on well with children and other pets in the household. As it is illegal to import Savannahs, you need to buy from a registered UK breeder and they are one of the most expensive pedigree cats on the market.

The Ragdoll

A Ragdoll lying on his side

The Ragdoll is a stunning, gentle giant of a cat. Its huge size rivals that of the Maine Coon, while its coat can easily be mistaken for that of the Birman. But the Ragdoll is a completely separate breed. And it’s the second most popular pedigree breed in the UK.

Its name derives from the Ragdoll’s tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up, like a rag doll. It literally “flops” in your arms! This pedigree cat is gentle, affectionate and devoted to its owner. The Ragdoll is not at all aggressive, which makes it a wonderful pet and a perfect playmate for children and other pets. The Ragdoll is a real homebody and will be quite happy living in an apartment. Ragdoll cats cost between



The Norwegian Forest Cat

A Norwegian Forest cat sitting in the snow

The Norwegian Forest Cat also belong in the big cat group. The Norwegian Forest Cat has a medium length coat with irregular length fur. Its coat is fuller at the ruff like the Maine Coon, giving this breed a rugged look.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a powerful and sturdy cat that loves the great outdoors, exploring woodland and going on exciting hunting expeditions. It is a strong and muscular breed. It is unquestionably better suited to a house than a flat as this is not an indoor-only breed.

The Birman

A beautiful blue-eyed Birman

The Birman, has a light beige coat, almost white in fact, apart from the tips (muzzle, ears, legs and tail). This breed has distinctive white “gloves” on its paws. You can’t help but stroke its silky coat, which also needs regular brushing.

The Birman has a very sweet temperament without being too clingy. This sensitive breed can be a little shy but its well-balanced, playful temperament makes it a good playmate for other pets. You seldom hear them meow as they are not vocal cats but throw them a ball and they’ll bring it right back to you! The price of a Birman ranges from



Group 2

Cat breeds that stay small

So much for the biggest breeds, now it's time for the smallest cat breeds. Ever dreamed of having a kitten that never grows up? Your dreams have (almost) come true. The Singapura and the Munchkin are the smallest and shortest cat breeds in the world.

The Singapura

A Singapura perched in a tree

The Singapura is one of the smallest known cat breeds. Its tiny size will instantly make you want to scoop up this little kitty and look after it. An adult Sinapura measures between 25 and 30 cm tall and weighs 2 to 5 kg. Although small, this breed has a compact, well-proportioned body.

The Singapura has a short-haired coat. There are no surprises in store with this cat, the Singapura's temperament is exactly what you would expect: sweet, cute and incredibly endearing. This laid-back little cat is neither boisterous nor unruly. The Singapura needs a quiet environment and prefers to live in a flat.

The Munchkin

A lovely clear Munchkin

Measuring between 21 and 23 cm and weighing just 2 to 4 kg, the little-legged Munchkin is a real pint-sized pet. It's the feline version of the Basset Hound or Dachshund and is actually sometimes called the “Sausage Cat”. “Adorable” best sums up the Munchkin. Its short stature makes its body look particularly long and its wide-set ears give it the look of a cuddly toy.

Munchkin cats can be either short-haired or long-haired. This breed of cat is famous for having a kitten-like temperament all its life, making it active, playful and extremely lovable. Its friendly nature makes the Munchkin a good playmate for other pets, but as it's so tiny, it's a good idea to make sure its playmates don't play too rough!

breed cat2 new

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Group 3

Unusual cat breeds

Freakish or fantastic? These odd looking cats are a bit like the Marmite of the cat world, you either love them or hate them. Hairless cats aren’t for everyone it’s true, but there’s more to these sweet pussycats than first meets the eye. If you take the time to get to know them, you’ll find they are hugely loveable and extremely intelligent.

The Sphynx

A Sphynx breed cat looking back

We're not going to lie, the Sphynx does look more than an alien than a cat at first glance. Its hairless body is covered with skin that seems to be a couple of sizes too big, when combined with its disproportionately large ears and rat's tail, the Sphynx hardly sounds like the stuff of dreams. Think again! These strange cats are actually real sweethearts and if you give them a chance, you're sure to fall in love!

The Sphynx is a weird cat in more ways than just looks! Rejecting its owner’s lap, it prefers instead to perch on their shoulder, pirate style! Their loyalty and devotion to their owners is legendary. The Sphynx has an insatiable desire for affection that makes it very possessive and unwilling to be alone. One last surprise is that the Sphynx's skin is actually wonderfully soft and warm, with the texture of chamois leather.

The Donskoy and the Peterbald

A seated white Peterbald

The Donskoy and the Peterbald are two unusual breeds of cat that are just as extraordinary as the Sphynx. In fact, the casual observer often mixes up these three breeds. The Donskoy has a powerful muscular build with long legs and a long slender tail. It is well-known for being a very intelligent cat.

As for the Peterbald, its svelte, muscular body gives it an elegant appearance, while its head and almond-shaped eyes are strangely reminiscent of the Ancient Egyptian depictions of cats. Both the Donskoy and the Peterbald are known for their boundless energy, which makes them happy, mischievous and playful cats.

One last point to remember is that the Sphynx, Donskoy and Peterbald do sweat, due to their lack of hair. These pedigree cats need to be washed every week to keep their skin in tip-top condition. If you are allergic to cats, hypoallergenic cat breeds like these are the perfect choice.

Group 4

The most beautiful cat breeds

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we know. It could be based on looks, size, shape, build, proportion, long hair, short hair or no hair at all, round or almond-shaped eyes, ears that are set closer or further apart... There might be no rulebook for feline beauty, but some breeds of cat are widely accepted as taking the top spots. These three breeds are undeniably gorgeous, where do they rank in your list of favourites?

The Maine Coon and the Birman

A Maine Coon being petted

The Maine Coon and the Birman are both pedigree cats with medium-length coats. The Maine Coon has a rugged look with a thicker coat around its neck, while the Birman has stunning deep blue eyes that contrast with its light coat.

The Bengal

A Bengal cat in the grass

The Bengal has an uncanny similarity to a leopard. As well as its wild looking coat with black markings, its head is shaped more like its feral ancestors than your standard domestic cat. The Bengal's body is powerful, muscular and well-balanced, making it a very elegant cat. In reality though, they only look feral. They have a lovely temperament and make excellent pets.

Bengals are quiet and gentle cats, they are inquisitive, friendly and affectionate without being over-bearing. This pedigree cat breed is very playful and loves children and pets alike, including other cats. Its instincts combined with its climbing and leaping skills make it an outstanding hunter. The Bengal would be happiest in a house. A word of warning: its natural instincts could make it wander too far from home. It’s worth fitting your Bengal with a cat tracker for peace of mind.

Group 5

Rare cat breeds

A rare cat doesn't necessarily mean an unusual or strange cat. Some rare cat breeds are rare because they are exclusive breeds, known only to connoisseurs and specialists. There are very few cats of these breeds registered and for good reason, partly because they can be prohibitively expensive and partly because their restricted availability makes them less well known to the public.

The Ashera

An Ashera lying in the grass

The Ashera is not a show cat as it could be included in so many categories. This magnificent, rare breed of cat is even bigger than a Maine Coon and is extremely expensive – only for the richest owners! When you see how huge it really is - up to 1.5 metres long and weighing up to 15 kg - you realise that the Ashera truly is exceptional. It is THE largest domesticated cat in the world.

In appearance, the Ashera bears a striking resemblance to the Asian Leopard, from which it is a direct descendant. This breed is very high energy, without being aggressive. These cats like to jump and climb, so they are best living in a large house and should always be kept on lead when they go outdoors so they are not stolen. One point to note: their wild instincts are still quite strong, so it's not wise to leave the Ashera unsupervised with children.

This precaution aside, they have many attractive qualities, including the fact that they are hypoallergenic. Convinced yet? If you want an Ashera kitten in your life, you'll have to be patient. Only a hundred or so are born each year, and their price is skyrocketing, currently standing at around £100,000.

The Manx

A seated Manx

Originally from the Isle of Man, an island in the middle of the Irish Sea between Ireland and England, the Manx was sought after as a skilled hunter and excellent granary guard. Its island location forced it to mate only with other island cats and this inbreeding caused it to lose its tail. This is its most distinctive feature: it is a tailless breed of cat.

That aside, the Manx is a chunky cat, but muscular and strong. Its hind legs are visibly longer than its front legs, allowing it to perform impressive leaps. Despite its working origins, the Manx makes for great company. This rare breed of cat is very sweet and affectionate but is not a fan of being left alone. It can also be nervous and even a little aggressive with strangers. The Manx cat is an excellent companion for children, the elderly, other cats and even dogs.

The LaPerm

A LaPerm relaxing in its bed

The LaPerm can have either short or long hair. The distinguishing feature of this breed is its wavy fur, which gives this pedigree cat a plush coat you can't help but reach out and stroke. Astonishingly, everything about this pedigree cat is curly (hence the name “perm”), including its eyebrows and whiskers!

Other than that, it is a medium-sized but very fit cat with a tail that complements its coat. The LaPerm has an independent disposition and can sometimes be quite solitary. This rare cat enjoys the company of its owner without being clingy. It is quite content with its own company. Although not particularly athletic, it does love to hunt. Added to this, the LaPerm is playful and enjoys playing with a ball.

This is just a small selection of the 40 different cat breeds recognised by the GCCF, to help you narrow down your preferences and expectations for your new pedigree cat.

If you still can't make up your mind, take our quiz “Find the ideal cat breed for you” to help you decide.

Which cat breed is right for you?

Take the test to find out!

Choosing a cat that matches your personality and lifestyle will ensure your well-being and his!

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