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American Bobtail Cat Breed- Profile and Facts

Amir Ali
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The American Bobtail is one of the rarest pedigree cat breeds in the world which was first developed in the late 1960s, of course, in America.

Its most striking feature is its stubbed tail. Their tails do not grow more than one-third to half of the tails of normal cats. Surprisingly, some American bobtail kittens can be born without a tail at all. 

This breed is known for its ‘wild tabby cat’ look, muscular build and playful personality. 

You may think that they are close relatives of the Japanese bobtail because of the similarities in their names but they are not.

The American bobtail and the Japanese bobtail are two distinct breeds and there is no genetic relationship between the two. This is because the genetic mutation that develops a stubby ‘Bobbed’ tail in the American bobtail is dominant while that in the Japanese bobtail is recessive.

In this read, you are going to learn about everything you need to know before bringing an American bobtail cat home. 

American Bobtail Cat Breed Profile

Orange American Bobtail Cat
Official NameAmerican Bobtail
OriginUnited States of America
Length17 to 19 inches
Height9 to 10 inches
Weight7 to 16 pounds
Lifespan13 to 15 years
Best for Cats, children, families, seniors
Good for busy familiesNo
Temperament Affectionate, bold and friendly
IntelligenceHighly intelligent
PlayfulnessPlayful and athletic
Energy LevelHigh
Coat Lengthlong, short
Colours and PatternsAll genetically possible colours and patterns are found. Some common colours and patterns are white, black, blue, red, chocolate, cinnamon, creme, lilac, and fawn. While the common pattern includes solid, smoke, tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolour, calico, and all party-colours
Major Health Issues obesity, dental disease, spinal or bowel issues (in without tails), hip dysplasia (with age), kidney disease and hyperthyroidism.
Grooming NeedsLow for Short hair. High for Longhair.
Brushing Teeth Twice a Week
American Bobtail Breed Profile Table


American Bobtail Mackerel Tabby Standing Outdoors
American Bobtail Mackerel Tabby Standing Outdoors

The story of the American bobtail goes as it all began when a couple named John and Brenda Sanders discovered a male bobtail kitten’s unique personality during their adventures in Arizona. 

They were so impressed by the kitten’s friendly personality and bobtail that they ended up adopting him and named him Yodie.  

It is thought that Yodie’s unique blend of affectionate personality and physical characteristics was due to the cross-breeding between a wild bobcat and a domestic shorthaired cat.

When Yodie grew up he bred with a seal-point Siamese cat named Mishi, to develop the American Bobtail breed.

It was only after 1989, that the breed was officially recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) and Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and appeared in the cat competitions. 


This is a medium to large-sized cat breed. Males are generally larger than females. An adult American bobtail can grow up to 17 to 19 inches in length excluding the tail. Their average weight falls between 8 to 16 pounds. They can be up to 10 inches tall from the ground to the shoulders.

American Bobtail Characteristics

Orange American Bobtail Cat
Orange American Bobtail Cat

The American Bobtails are a very muscular and strong cat breed found with both short- and long-haired coat variants. However you won’t find a fluffy coat here, rather they have a shaggy coat. Their unique hunting gaze blended with robust personalities, natural bobtails and baby coats give them a typical wild cat appearance. 

Let’s now look at specific characteristics.

Coat Length 

The  American bobtail can have both shorthair and longhaired coats. The short hair length division can have short to medium-length soft textured coats. While longhaired coats are slightly shaggy. They may have slightly longer hair on the ruff, britches, belly and tail. They do have undercoats but that is not extremely dense. You observe seasonal variations in their coats’ length.


The American shorthair exudes a wide array of colours. Any genetically possible colour or combination of colours is possible and allowed too in the competitions with some exceptions. However, the preference is given to colours and patterns that give the natural wild look to the breed. 

The colours which are seen commonly in this breed are white, black, blue, red, chocolate, cinnamon, creme, lilac, and fawn. While the common pattern includes solid, smoke, tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolour, calico, and all party-colours


They have a broad modified wedge-shaped head in proportion to their body. The cheekbones, widening of the head and stud jowls are more apparent in adult male American Bobtail cats as compared to their female counterparts.


The American bobtails have large almond-shaped eyes that can have any colour. They exhibit a range of eye colours including copper, green; blue and even odd–eyes (eyes with two different colours). 


They have medium-sized ears with slightly rounded tips. The ears are widely separated from each other and slightly tilted outwards. 


As said, the American bobtail has medium-sized to large muscular and athletic bodies. They have a broad chest, higher hips and clearly visible shoulder blades. Learn more at  Read in detail about the American Bobtail  Breeds Stadnards on CFA’s official website. 


This is a pretty friendly and affectionate cat breed. This cat likes to cuddle and curl in the lap of their human owners while at the same enjoying playing games, solving puzzles and making your house a gymnastic court. The American bobtails are confident, guests- friendly and mix up easily with other pets. 

On the other hand, this breed is not for busy families. Because the news requires constant attention and care from their owners. Lack of attention and negligence may lead to behavioural issues and separation anxiety.  

So, make sure that you are ready to give a lot of time and attention to them. Definitely, you’ll receive loads of love in return. 

Health and Lifespan

Longhaired American Bobtail Cat Sitting on a Bed
Longhaired American Bobtail Cat Sitting on a Bed

They have average health conditions. They neither are excessively prone to diseases like Persians nor show extraordinary resistance to them like Siamese or Bombay cats. 

If you give them good care, enough time and opportunities to satisfy their natural instincts they’ll be happy and healthy cats. 

They can live up to 13-15 years of age with some exceptions. Some diseases that are commonly diagnosed in these cats are obesity, dental disease, spinal or bowel issues (without tails), hip dysplasia (with age), kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. 

Care and Grooming 

  • As they are muscular cats, you need to give them a highly nutritious protein-rich diet. 
  • Short Hair American bobtails don’t need frequent grooming sessions. Brushing once a week is enough. However, their longhaired counterparts need regular brushing. They also shed more. 
  • Bathing them is not something that is recommended. But if their coat becomes extremely dirty, oily or tangled then you may give them a nice bath with a mild shampoo.
  • Brushing their teeth is essential. Experts say that you should brush your teeth at least twice a week to prevent dental issues. 
  • Make sure to dedicate at least a small portion of your day to playing with them and provide them with some toys. 
  • The other cat essentials such as beds, trees and scratch posts are also important.
  • You may also walk her on a leash if you kikes  it but don’t force her to do so because you want it. 

Facts American Bobtail

Despite the similar name and the Bobtail the two breeds are different, yeah that’s the case! 

The breeding programs of both American Bobtail and Japanese are entirely unrelated. Likewise, the genetic mutations causing the bobbed tail are different too. This is because of the fact that the genetic mutation causing the American Bobtail’s tail is dominant, whereas the Japanese Bobtail tail mutation is recessive.

2. Their Linkage to Wild Bobcats Has Not Yet Proven.

The American Bobtail’s origin story is so fascinating that people tend to believe those things which have not been proven yet. Although there is a high possibility that “Yodie” was the result of mating between a wild bobcat and a domestic cat. However, it’s still just speculation and not fact.

3. American Bobtails Are Known as the Golden Retrievers of the Cat World.

The credit goes to their affectionate and playful personalities. These cats love to be around humans, enjoy petting and love cuddling. Because of their sweet, gentle nature, they become a loving companion for humans.

4. They Sometimes Wag Their Tails Like a Dog to Express Happiness.

You may be surprised, but dogs are not the only creatures who wag their tails to express happiness, some American Bobtails also use the same body movements to express that they are happy.

5. Some American Bobtail Cats Can Have No Tail at All.

Interestingly, some American bobtails can be born without any tail at all. So, it’s not necessary that your American Bobtail will always have that cute little tail. American Bobtail kittens without tails are called “rumpies”.

6. The American Bobtails Are One of the Smartest Cat Breeds Out There.

Believe it or not! These are one of the most intelligent cat breeds who love to exercise their mind. They are always ready to accept challenges, solve puzzles and games. They love playing with a wand and can be trained easily. 

7. They Mature Slowly

Attention cat parents! Cheers for those of you who want your cat to stay in its kittenhood longer. Unlike other cat breeds, American Bobtail kittens are slow to mature, taking two to three years to reach adult size. So, you’ll have the blessing to enjoy the kittenhood of your sweetie for a longer period of time. 

8. No Two American Bobtail Cats Can Have Exactly the Same Tail

You heard it right! The tail length and form of every American Bobtail are different. Some are even born without a tail. So no two American Bobtail Cats can have exactly the same kind of tail. 

9. One of the Rarest Cat Breeds in the World. 

The American Bobtail is a pretty new breed and they are not common. In fact, these are among the rarest cat breeds in the world. So, congratulations to you if you have this rare cat breed. 

10. This is an Expensive Breed. 

Rarity affects the price inversely. The same rule applies to cat breeds. Rare breeds are more expensive than the ones which are common. Although we don’t appreciate or promote buying and selling of cats. But if you still want to buy an American Bobtail kitten then be ready to shed some extra dollars. Because of its rarity, this breed is expensive.

American Bobtail Cat Infographic

American Bobtail Cat Infographic
American Bobtail Cat Infographic

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