There is an ongoing debate about which cat breeds are the most popular. Popularity will change over time and the methods for deciding the most popular also affects the results.
There are at least three ways to measure cat breed popularity:
- In a straight poll from a wide cross section of society, hopefully from various countries. This is my preferred method. Although it is a good method it is not perfect. This is because people from one area might vote more than people than another area. That may distort the result. Also people might have misconceptions about cat breeds and not live with a cat but still vote. These votes may carry less value but distort results. Most of the voters on my poll are from the United States so it reflects the preferences of Americans. You can see the poll result at the base of this page.
- The number of cat breed registrations is another method. The number of individual cats of each breed that are registered with a major cat association such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) can be added up and the breeds compared. The more registrations there are the more cats there are and as breeders breed cats to meet demand from the public this method should be fairly accurate. Registrations, though, does not necessarily translate into adoptions by the public. And this method will vary from cat association to cat association.
- Vetstreet have recently published another list of the most popular cat breeds based on a third method. They collated information from their database of 623,000 cats born in 2011 to figure out the most popular. I guess the argument is that the more individual cats born of a certain breed, the more popular it is because these cats must have been bred to meet public demand. This is very similar to method 2 but not quite the same as some cats that are bred by breeders are not registered for various reasons. I don’t know where Vetstreet got their figures from though.
The Vetstreet results are set out below. The number one spot goes to the Siamese and the lead is substantial as four times the number of Siamese cats were born than the next most popular, the Persian.
One aspect of this method that makes it a little inaccurate is that the top two breeds have different types of cat. There are at least three types of Siamese cat probably four! These are the traditional Siamese (Applehead), ‘Old-style Siamese’, the Thai and Modern Siamese. Which one of these four is the most popular? The births were in the United States and in the US the modern slender Siamese is the defacto standard Siamese which indicates that this is the most popular but it might not be and it should not be as this cat has health issues in my opinion. I have another poll that tells me that Americans prefer the traditional Siamese.
There are two types of Persian cat and they are very different. The contemporary, ‘ultra Persian’ is the modern standard Persian (unfortunately) and the traditional ‘doll face Persian’, which is going through a revival. Which one is the most popular? The Vetstreet survey does not explain this or differentiate.
- Maine Coon
- American Shorthair
- Russian Blue
Comment on the result: One thing you can say for sure is that all ten are popular. Eight of them nearly always feature in the top ten. The odd two that stand out as ‘new comers’ are the Manx and the Sphynx. The Manx has some health issues but the Sphynx does not. And the Sphynx is gaining in popularity. This is probably because this cat is recognised as perhaps the most intelligent and this is a robust breed despite looking somewhat fragile. The Sphynx is almost designed for the modern era, indoor living. This cat is more or less has to be an indoor cat as it might get sunburned or cold outside. Also there must be a risk of being stolen as the Sphynx is a very noticeable cat!
Here are my results from this site: