The Fascinating History of American Bobtail Breed

It’s difficult not to be captivated by the American Bobtail breed – their unique appearance and charming personality leave an impression on all who encounter them. But how did this distinct feline come to be? What is their origin story and how did they become recognized and popular within the cat world? In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of the American Bobtail breed, exploring their beginnings, characteristics, and unique appeal. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the story of this beloved feline.

The Beginnings

The Beginnings
As we delve into the origins of the American Bobtail breed, a fascinating history mixed with perplexity starts to emerge. The American Bobtail has a unique story of evolution that dates back centuries ago, tracing a connection to the native American culture. Unlike many other cat breeds, the American Bobtail’s beginnings are shrouded in mystery and surrounded by myths. Although the breed’s exact origin remains unknown, we can trace the breed’s progress and popularity in the US over the years. Let us explore the natural mutation and early breeding efforts that gave birth to the American Bobtail breed.

Natural Mutation

The American Bobtail cat breed has a unique origin story that sets it apart from other feline breeds. One of the most interesting aspects of its history is the natural mutation that occurred, leading to the development of this breed.

The Natural Mutation of American Bobtail Breed:

It is believed that the American Bobtail breed began its evolution several centuries ago. It all started with a natural genetic mutation in a feline population. This mutation caused the tail of a kitten to become shorter and curlier than its littermates. The kitten was then bred with a domestic cat, which created a litter with the same distinct characteristics. This process continued, and through selective breeding, the American Bobtail breed was developed.

The natural mutation in the American Bobtail breed resulted in a feline that boasts a unique appearance and a set of distinct personality traits. While some cat breeds have been developed through human manipulation and selective breeding programs, the American Bobtail cats are a testament to the power of nature and how it can shape and create incredible new life forms.

According to scientific studies, this natural mutation gave the breed a strong immune system, high tolerance levels, and exceptional intelligence. Even today, American Bobtail cats have maintained these special characteristics that make them stand out from other cat breeds.

This special breed has morphed into what we know and love today, thanks to a natural genetic mutation in the feline population. It is interesting to note that this breed is only one of a few cat breeds that are a product of natural selection, rather than selective breeding programs.

Intrigued by the history and evolution of the American Bobtail cat breed? You can read more about its fascinating history in this article.

Early Breeding Efforts

Early on, breeders began to take notice of the unique bobtail cats that were found in different parts of the country. The early breeding efforts were focused on preserving the natural mutation that led to the bobtail appearance. To achieve this, these breeders were careful about the selection of parent cats in their breeding programs. They selected cats with the desired appearance to breed while ensuring that they maintained a healthy gene pool.

These early breeding programs helped in establishing the American Bobtail breed as a distinct breed of cat. Even though the breed was not officially recognized, breeders who took an interest in the breed continued to breed them.

Interestingly, the history of the breed is intertwined with the Native American culture. Native Americans had their own bobtail cats, which they considered significant in their culture. They believed that these cats had mystical powers and were associated with good luck. The Native Americans allowed their cats to breed freely, which led to the bobtail gene being spread widely among the cat population.

As a result, some bobtail cats that were found in other parts of the country were believed to have originated from the Native American bobtail cats. Breeders began to take note of these cats and started breeding them to establish a breed that could be registered.

Today, the American Bobtail breed has come a long way from its early beginnings. Their uniqueness and widespread popularity in the United States is proof of the success of these early breeding efforts. However, the history of the breed and its evolution continues to capture the imagination of people who are interested in the breed.

Recognition and Popularity

Recognition And Popularity
After the natural mutation and early breeding efforts that brought about the American Bobtail breed, it wasn’t long before it began to gain recognition and popularity among cat lovers. The unique appearance and charming personality of these cats quickly caught the attention of breeders and organizations alike. Let’s explore their journey from relative obscurity to a beloved and well-known breed. But first, let’s take a brief look at how the breed’s origins are connected to Native American culture. (To learn more about it, read about the connection between Native American culture and the American Bobtail breed.)

The 1980s and TICA Recognition

During the 1980s, several breeders across the United States came together to establish the American Bobtail breed. The Fortney family of Iowa, the Rylies of Arizona, and the Stups of Georgia are credited with being the primary forces behind the breed’s development. Through selective breeding of cats with natural bobtails, these dedicated breeders created a distinct breed with unique physical and behavioral traits.

One of the most significant events in American Bobtail’s history came in 1989 when The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed. TICA is the largest genetic registry of pedigreed cats in the world and is widely recognized as an authoritative source on feline breeds. For the American Bobtail to gain recognition from TICA was a significant milestone, as it brought the breed to the attention of many cat enthusiasts and breeders worldwide.

To gain recognition from TICA, the American Bobtail breed had to meet specific standards and criteria. The breed’s unique physical traits, including its sturdy build, broad head, and bobtail, were carefully evaluated. TICA also assessed the breed’s temperament and behavior, ensuring that the American Bobtail had a friendly, playful, and outgoing personality, which set it apart from other breeds.

The TICA recognition also opened the door for American Bobtail breeders to participate in cat shows and exhibitions. Today, the breed is a fixture at many cat shows and is known for its distinctive appearance and playful personality, which sets it apart from other breeds. The breed continues to gain popularity around the world, with breeders in Europe and Asia now also producing American Bobtail cats.

The table below highlights the key milestones in the American Bobtail breed’s recognition and development:

Year Event
1980s Natural mutation and selective breeding by Fortney family, Rylies, and Stups
1989 TICA recognition
1990s Expansion and growth in popularity
2000s Inclusion in major cat shows and exhibitions
Present Continued growth in popularity worldwide

The TICA recognition was a crucial turning point in the American Bobtail breed’s history. It affirmed the breed’s distinctiveness and opened doors for breeders to promote and showcase their cats. Today, the breed remains a popular choice for cat lovers who prize distinctive physical and behavioral characteristics in their pets.

Popularity and Expansion

During the 1990s, the American Bobtail Breed gained traction and steadily grew in popularity, with breeders and enthusiasts alike drawn to its unique looks and gentle temperament. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), this breed is currently the 14th most popular breed registered in the United States.

One reason for their popularity is their adaptability: American Bobtails are known for their ease in adjusting to new environments, including different types of housing and even to other pets. Additionally, their long lifespan (up to 20 years) makes them an ideal choice for families who are looking for a long-term feline companion.

The breed has expanded beyond just domestic households; American Bobtails have shown their ability to thrive in activities such as agility, obedience, and even therapy work. Their friendly and outgoing personality makes them a natural fit in various settings and activities.

Another factor driving the breed’s expansion is its availability. While initially limited to North America, American Bobtails are now found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. This availability has allowed cat lovers worldwide to appreciate the breed’s unique and endearing qualities.

Table: American Bobtail Popularity and Expansion

Year Ranking in the United States Countries with registered breeders
1990s Popularity surged Primarily North America
Present day 14th most popular breed Global availability

The American Bobtail Breed’s popularity and expansion can be attributed to a variety of factors, including versatility, adaptability, availability, and endearing characteristics.

Characteristics and Traits

Characteristics And Traits
As prospective owners consider the possibility of adopting an American Bobtail, understanding the breed’s characteristics and traits becomes crucial. From their unique physical features to their personality traits and behavior, the American Bobtails possess an array of fascinating qualities that set them apart from other feline breeds. In this section, we’ll dive deeply into the features that define American Bobtails and explore what makes them such an enchanting breed to bring into your home. So, let’s unpack what makes the American Bobtail breed so special!

Physical Features

The American Bobtail is a medium to large-sized cat breed that is known for its unique physical appearance. They typically weigh between 7-16 pounds and have a muscular, sturdy build. Their overall body shape is rectangular with a short, thick tail that can be straight, slightly curved or kinked. Here are some of the distinctive physical features of the American Bobtail breed:

Feature Description
Muscular Build These cats have a robust musculoskeletal system that gives them a sturdy and powerful appearance.
Short Tail Their name comes from their short, bobbed tail which ranges from 2-4 inches in length on average.
Fur and Coat Their fur is medium to long and can come in a variety of textures including shorthair, longhair, and ruff. Their coat can be found in a multitude of colors and patterns, such as solid, tabby, and calico.
Head and Ears Their head is large and round with prominent cheekbones and a broad nose. They have medium-sized ears that are slightly tilted forward and furnished with hair tufts at the tips.
Eyes American Bobtails have large, expressive eyes in a variety of colors such as gold, green, and blue. The eyes are often almond-shaped and slightly slanted.
Paws and Legs Their paws are large and oval-shaped with tufts of hair between the toes. They have sturdy, well-muscled legs that are medium in length.

The American Bobtail breed is a visual treat for cat lovers. With its muscular build, short tail, and unique coat, it stands out from other breeds in appearance alone. Its large head, almond eyes, and tufted ears add to its endearing appearance, setting it apart from other breeds in both looks and personality.

Temperament and Behavior

American Bobtail cats are known for their distinctive personality that sets them apart from other breeds. They are an intelligent, energetic and friendly breed that forms strong bonds with their owners. Here are some of the key temperament and behavioral traits of American Bobtails:

  • Playfulness: American Bobtails are playful and curious cats, which makes them good companions for families with children. They enjoy chasing toys and playing games, and will sometimes even play fetch!
  • Loyalty: These cats are known for being fiercely loyal to their families. They bond strongly with their owners and will often follow them around the house to keep them company.
  • Independence: While American Bobtails are social cats, they also have a strong independent streak. They are not overly needy and will often entertain themselves when their owners are busy.
  • Intelligence: These cats are smart and can be trained to do tricks, such as playing dead or giving a high-five. They are also quick learners and can adapt to new situations with ease.
  • Affectionate: American Bobtails are known for their loving nature. They enjoy cuddling up with their owners and will often seek out affection and attention.
  • Vocal: While not as vocal as some other breeds, American Bobtails are known for their chirping and trilling sounds. They use these noises to communicate with their owners and express their emotions.
  • Adventurous: American Bobtails love to explore their surroundings and are known for being adventurous. They enjoy climbing and jumping, and are often found perching on high surfaces.

The American Bobtail breed is a great choice for anyone looking for an intelligent, friendly, and unique companion. Their playful nature, loyalty, and independence make them a great addition to any household.

Uniqueness and Appeal

As we delve deeper into the origin story of the American Bobtail breed, one thing is clear – this feline is truly unique in every way. From its striking appearance to its playful personality, the American Bobtail has captured the hearts of cat lovers all over the world. In this section, we will explore the captivating qualities that make this breed so special and explain why so many have fallen in love with these exceptional felines. So, let’s unravel the mystery of the American Bobtail’s uniqueness and appeal.

Appearance and Personality


The American Bobtail is a large and muscular breed, with males typically weighing between 12-16 pounds and females weighing between 7-12 pounds. They have short, thick, and sturdy legs which give them a powerful appearance. The tail is unique, being naturally short and typically ranging from 2-4 inches in length. The fur is fairly dense with a slightly shaggy layered coat which can come in a variety of colors and patterns.

With their wild, tabby-like markings and striking eyes set in a triangular shape, the American Bobtail is an eye-catching breed. Combining the looks of a large wildcat with a domestic cat, they have a bobbed tail and a rugged appearance.


The American Bobtail breed is known for their friendly and loving personalities. They are playful, outgoing, and have a great sense of humor. They are deeply devoted to their owners, and will often follow them around the house like a loyal dog. Additionally, they are intelligent and curious and will investigate anything in their environment that piques their interest.

These cats are very communicative and will express themselves vocally with chirps, trills, and meows. They are also known for being adaptable and able to form close bonds with both humans and other animals. This breed is well-regarded for being great with children and making them ideal family pets.

The American Bobtail is a charming and wonderful breed with a unique appearance and an endearing personality. They make charming and loyal companions for those willing to spend time with them.

Appearance Personality
A large and muscular breed Friendly and loving personalities
Short, thick, and sturdy legs Playful and Outgoing
Naturally short and bobbed tail Deeply devoted to owners
Dense and slightly shaggy coat with a variety of colors and patterns Intelligent and curious
Wild, tabby-like markings and striking eyes set in a triangular shape Communicative with chirps, trills, and meows
A playful, outgoing personality with a great sense of humor Adaptable and able to form close bonds with both humans and other animals

Versatility and Adaptability

The American Bobtail breed is well-known for its versatility and adaptability, which make it a great companion for different types of families and lifestyles. These cats have unique traits that enable them to easily adapt to different environments and situations.


One of the notable traits of the American Bobtail breed is their adaptability. Whether you live in an apartment or a spacious house, these cats can adjust to their surroundings. They are comfortable living in different types of environments, and they can quickly make themselves at home.

The American Bobtail is sociable and friendly, which makes it easy for them to adjust to changes in their surroundings. They are not easily intimidated, and they can remain calm even in unfamiliar situations.

Living Conditions Can adjust easily to different types of homes/apartments
Behavior Can remain calm in unfamiliar situations
Personality Friendly and sociable, which makes it easier to adapt


The American Bobtail breed is also known for its versatility. These cats are not only great companions, but they are also skilled hunters, making them great for people who live in rural areas. They are also active and playful, which makes them suitable for families with young children.

Another unique trait of the American Bobtail breed is their intelligence. They are quick learners, which means they can be trained to do different tasks, including basic obedience training and even tricks. This intelligence also means that they can easily adapt to changes in their routine, making them great for people with busy schedules.

Living Situations Great for both rural and urban environments
Personality Active, playful and great for families with young children
Intelligence Quick learners that can be trained to do various tasks

The American Bobtail breed is a versatile and adaptable cat that can easily adjust to different environments and living situations. Their unique traits also make them great companions for families and individuals who lead busy lives or have young children.


In conclusion, the American Bobtail breed has a rich and fascinating history that showcases both the resilience and adaptability of felines as well as the ingenuity and passion of breeders. From its humble beginnings as a natural mutation roaming the wilderness, to its recognition and popularity within the cat fancy world, the American Bobtail has truly come a long way.

What sets the American Bobtail apart from other breeds is its unique physical features and highly adaptable personality. Its short and curved tail, muscular body, and wild appearance make it a standout in any room. Additionally, their playful and friendly nature makes them excellent companions for both families and single individuals.

The American Bobtail’s versatility and adaptability also make it an attractive pet option for many people. Whether you live in a small apartment or a large house, the American Bobtail can fit into any lifestyle. They also get along well with other pets and are highly trainable, making them popular in the world of therapy animals.

In sum, the American Bobtail breed is a testament to the enduring bond between humans and felines. Their unique qualities and characteristics make them a beloved and highly sought-after breed by those seeking an exceptional pet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Bobtail breed?

The American Bobtail is a breed of domestic cat known for its distinctive short tail and wild appearance.

Where did the American Bobtail originate?

The American Bobtail breed originated in the United States, likely through natural mutation and early breeding efforts.

What makes the American Bobtail unique?

The American Bobtail is unique for its short, bobbed tail, wild appearance, and friendly, sociable personality.

What is the temperament of the American Bobtail?

The American Bobtail is known for its friendly, sociable, and outgoing personality. They are great with children and other pets.

What physical features distinguish the American Bobtail breed?

The American Bobtail breed is distinguished by its short, bobbed tail, muscular build, and wild appearance.

How does the American Bobtail compare to other cat breeds?

The American Bobtail is unique in its physical appearance and friendly personality, making it a popular breed for families and cat lovers.

What health concerns are common in American Bobtails?

Like all cat breeds, American Bobtails may develop health issues such as hip dysplasia and heart disease, but overall they are a healthy breed with a lifespan of up to 15 years.

What is the American Bobtail’s hunting ability?

The American Bobtail has retained its wild, hunting instincts and is an excellent mouser and hunter.

Is the American Bobtail a good choice for families?

Yes, the American Bobtail is known for its friendly personality and is great with children and other pets, making it an ideal choice for families.

How can I adopt an American Bobtail?

Contact a reputable breeder or rescue organization to adopt an American Bobtail. Research the breed and potential breeders carefully to ensure you find a healthy and well-socialized cat.