two maine coon cats sitting next to each other licking their lips

There is a well defined Maine Coon breed standard.  This outlines the physical characteristic expectations of a Maine Coon cat.  As a Breeder of Maine Coon cats and a major enthusiast for maintaining the integrity of this amazing cat, I’ve created a series of videos that will explore the details of the Maine Coon.

Nothing that I share with you in this Maine Coon Breed Standard series is an opinion. The standards are written in black and white by The International Cat Association.  This information is available for all breeders to study. In fact, it’s EXPECTED that every breeder of a Pedigree cat will become familiar with the standard, and apply this as a practice into their programs.

Here is a direct link to the Maine Coon Breed Standard.

I feel like the Maine Coon breed standard is being lost.  Not all breeders know, or care, to learn this.  Maybe they’re unaware that it even exists.  That’s why, in addition to educating the very passionate pet owners about this “behind the scenes” topic, maybe this will also reach some breeders who will start to study the guidelines and take more interest in maintaining the Maine Coon breed standard.

As the Head Guardian at Sassy Koonz Maine Coon Cattery, I can assure you that I’m doing everything in my power to study, identify, and implement the Maine Coon Breed Standard into my program. The fact is, there is no perfect cat or kitten. I’ll try my best to get them as very close to perfect as possible every time. Noone should ever see a Maine Coon kitten or cat and have to ask “Is that a Maine Coon”? It should be VERY obvious!

But just in case, here’s the surefire way how to tell if your cat is a Maine Coon.

Maine Coon Breed Standard Series

With the following Series of videos, I’m not claiming to be an expert in the Maine Coon Breed Standard.  If I were an expert, I’d be a judge at the cat shows (which I may do one day!).  Instead, I’m basically reviewing the actual Maine Coon Breed Standard with you. Additionally, I’m sharing actual photos and videos of the cats that I have chosen for my breeding program to see how they stack up to breed standard. We’ll look at each cat, and focus on the fine details that the average eye never sees. Maybe even the things that someone else wouldn’t WANT you to see.  I’m confident in the choices that I’ve made, so I’m ok to share even the biggest of flaws with you, as part of educating you on what to look for.

I hope you enjoy the Maine Coon Breeder Series! Feel free to comment with your thoughts.  If you’d like to receive the notifications when I release the next video, then simply subscribe to my blog. 🙂

The Maine Coon breed standard is a set of Guidelines for the Physical Characteristics of a Maine Coon cat. As a breeder, it is your responsibility to adhere to the Breed Standard as closely as possible. This means making wise selections in your choice of breeding cats.

By studying and knowing the Breed Standard, you’ll soon be able to identify a “show” quality, “breed” quality, and “pet” quality Maine Coon. This will help you greatly as you develop and establish the lines in your cattery, with a goal of breeding the ideal Maine Coon.

The Maine Coon Breed Standard that is published below is written exactly as published on the CFA (The Cat Fancier Association)  website. As of the date of publication of this guide, these are the Maine Coon breed Standards. Please check with your individual cat club and learn the Breed Standard that’s identified by them specifically. There are some slight variations by definition for differing Cat Associations.

Maine Coon Breed Standard Guidelines

GENERAL: originally a working cat, the Maine Coon is solid, rugged, and can endure a harsh climate. A distinctive characteristic is its smooth, shaggy coat. A well proportioned and balanced appearance with no part of the cat being exaggerated. Quality should never be sacrificed for size. With an essentially amiable disposition, it has adapted to varied environments.

The Head

HEAD SHAPE: medium in width and slightly longer in length than width with a squareness to the muzzle. Allowance should be made for broadening in older studs. Cheekbones are high.

MUZZLE/CHIN: is visibly square, medium in length and blunt ended when viewed in profile. It may give the appearance of being a rectangle but should not appear to be tapering or pointed. The length and width of the muzzle should be proportionate to the rest of the head and present a pleasant, balanced appearance. The chin should be strong, firm and in line with the upper lip and nose. When viewed in profile the chin depth should be observable and give the impression of a square, 90-degree angle. A chin lacking in depth, i.e. one that tapers from the jaw line to the lip, is not considered strong, firm or desirable.

PROFILE: should be proportionate to the overall length of the head and should exhibit a slight concavity when viewed in profile. The profile should be relatively smooth and free of pronounced bumps and/or humps. A profile that is straight from the brow line to the tip of the nose is not acceptable, nor should the profile show signs of having a “break” or “stop.”

EARS: Shape: large, well-tufted, wide at base, tapering to appear pointed. Set: approximately one ear’s width apart at the base; not flared.

EYES: large, expressive, wide set with an opened oval shape. Slightly oblique setting with slant toward outer base of ear.

NECK: medium long.

The Body and Tail

BODY SHAPE: muscular, broad-chested. Size medium to large. Females generally are smaller than males. The body should be long with all parts in proportion to create a well-balanced rectangular appearance with no part of the anatomy being so exaggerated as to foster weakness. Allowance should be made for slow maturation.

LEGS and FEET: legs substantial, wide set, of medium length, and in proportion to the body. Forelegs are straight. Back legs are straight when viewed from behind. Paws large, round, well-tufted. Five toes in front; four in back.

TAIL: long, wide at base, and tapering. Fur long and flowing.

COAT: heavy and shaggy; shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches. Frontal ruff desirable. Texture silky with coat falling smoothly.

PENALIZE: a coat that is short or overall even.

DISQUALIFY: delicate bone structure. Undershot chin, i.e. the front teeth (incisors) of the lower jaw overlapping or projecting beyond the front teeth of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. Crossed eyes. Kinked tail. Incorrect number of toes. White buttons, white lockets, or white spots. Cats showing evidence of hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, or the Himalayan pattern.

EYE COLOR: eye color can be shades of green, gold, green-gold or copper. White cats and all cats with white may have blue or odd eyes

P.S. As a reminder, the physical characteristics of the cats and kitten isn’t the only thing that’s important. Read this article on How to Choose the Best Maine Coon Breeder for you. Then head over and take a Virtual Tour of the Sassy Koonz Maine Coon Cattery.

After doing some research, we’ve found some interesting information about the “favorite” color in the TICA Cat Shows. Check it out!

NOTE: European Maine Coons may carry some features that are bit more exotic or wild looking. Regardless of type, the Maine Coon should be well balance with no one feature overpowering the next.

Maine Coon Colors

Breed standard allows for the Maine Coon to be produced in dozens of colors and patterns. Check out all of the Maine Coon Colors and Patterns and then choose your favorites!

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  1. Thank you for helping us understand the standard. Reading TICA standards alone is not enough. My husband and I really look forward to seeing Part 2 with your babies costarring in the video as models of the breed.

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