Japanese Bobtail Cat

Considered to be a lucky breed, promising prosperity and happiness, the Japanese Bobtail is recognized by all major registering bodies except the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy).

History of the Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail is a breed surrounded by many traditions and legends. It is said that the first bobtailed cats arrived in Japan as gifts from the emperor of China to the emperor of Japan.

They are a naturally occuring breed, not one that was bred on purpose. Japanese Bobtails were first introduced to the United States in 1968 by Elizabeth Freret. The short hair Japanese Bobtail was first recognized as a breed in 1976, followed by longhaired bobtails in 1993.

Although the breed remains rare, there are a number of Japanese Bobtail breeders, most of whom are based in North America with a few in Europe and at least one in Japan.


The Japanese Botail is medium in size with males generally being larger than females. They have a long and elegant torso showing well developed muscular strength.  A Japanese Bobtail's head should form an equilateral triangle and their ears are large, upright and wide apart.

The eyes are large, oval and should not bulge out further than the cheekbone or forehead. The Japanese Bobtail's neck should be in proportion to their body with long, slender legs and oval paws. Their tail must be clearly visible and made up of one or more curls.

caractère bobtail japonais

Source: Zoo Crew Photo


Every coat color and pattern is acceptable for a Japanese Bobtail. A shorthaired Japanese Bobtail has a medium length, soft and silky coat. The longhaired Japanese Bobtail has a medium-long to long coat with a soft and silky texture which gradually lengthens towards the rump. The tortoiseshell Mi-Ke (pronounced 'mee keh') is known as the luckiest colour for this breed.


The Japanese Bobtail is an active and intelligent breed. They are highly attracted to water and enjoy carrying toys and playing fetch. Japanese Bobtails are also very curious and love exploring.

They are vocal creatures and communicate with a wide range of chirps and meows.  The Japanese Bobtail's voice is often described as songlike. They are outgoing, sociable cats who get along well with other animals and children.

Japanese Bobtail's love teaching themselves new tricks and make great family cats.

Health and Care

Japanese Bobtails are generally healthy cats with no major health problems associated with their breed. The average lifespan for a Japanese Bobtail is 9-15 years.

They can be prone to obesity so an eye needs to be kept on their weight.

According to researchers, the Japanese Bobtail is one of the most genetically diverse pedigree breeds. Compared with other breeds, the Japanese Bobtail tends to have smaller litters with the kittens being larger at birth and developing at a faster rate. Kitten mortality rates are said to be comparatively low.


The coat of a Japanese Bobtail is easy to groom and needs brushing or combing twice-weekly. They need brushing more often during the spring and fall which are moulting seasons.

They are a fairly low maintenance breed but still need regular nail trimming and ear cleaning.