Black or White Cat Breeds

white cat Turkish Angora
Not a white cat breed but a White Turkish Angora – photo © Helmi Flick
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Black or white cat breeds? Searching for one? You’ll only find one black cat breed and no white cat breeds. You will, though, find four grey cat breeds, the color in between these two extremes. Update: there is one white cat breed: Khao Manee. This is a very rare cat breed however.

Cat breeds are not usually, hardly ever “created” by reference to the color of the fur. Here are some of the ways cat breeds are formulated, developed or created:

  • genetic mutation – this may affect the fur but not in terms of color. I’m thinking of the Rex, curly haired cats as a good example or the hairless cats.
  • hybrids – the crossing of two more cat breeds either domestic cat to domestic cat or wild cat to domestic cat. This is a very common form of cat breed creation.
  • discovery – the discovery of a naturally occurring cat breed,which is then “refined” (altered) by people of the cat fancy.
Black cat - pictures of cats
Black cat – not a Bombay cat nor a black cat breed, just a nice picture of a nice black cat – photo by furykid.

None of these refer to the creation of a breed because the cat is a certain color. Even purebred cats of a certain color are not solely a cat breed because of the color of their fur. It will be a combination of factors including the fur color that differentiates the cat breed from another.

As mentioned, however, some cat breeds are noted for their single color. One such cat is the purebred Bombay cat, a completely jet black cat, which can only be black under the cat association’s breed standard. The truth is if you are looking for black or white cat breeds, this is the only cat that will fit your search criteria. I have a page on this cat breed so I won’t duplicate the work here. Click on the link to read about and see the best pictures of the Bombay cat (opens in a new window so you can stay on the page).

Of course black cats are common. But they will hardly ever be a Bombay cat as there are far more mixed breed unregistered cats in the world than purebred cats. Although the Bombay is a not that rare a purebred cat breed (see rare cat breeds). Black cat will, therefore, usually be mixed-breed non-registered cats. Or a cat of another cat breed that allows the color, black, to be one of the acceptable colors. The cat associations frequently restrict the colors allowed for a cat breed. On some occasions the restrictions are lifted and a wider range allowed. In these breeds, such as the Maine Coon, Oriental Shorthair, Cymric and Persian to quote four examples only, you’ll find black cats.

Black cat Oriental Shorthair
Black cat, not a “Black cat breed” – Oriental Shorthair
White cat - Oriental Shorthair
White cat, not a “White cat breed” – Oriental Shorthair
photo © copyright Helmi Flick

You can read about black cats generally and how the genes work to make the fur black by clicking on this link: Black cats. Incidentally, solid black cats are actually a dark brown but you usually can’t see this.

There are no white cat breeds but plenty of white cats. White fur is created through the presence of three different genes, albinism, white dominant gene and white spotting gene – click on the link to read about and see cat coats white.

The reason, in my opinion, that no recognized cat breeds are solely white in color is because deafness can accompany white cats fairly frequently. There is an underlying breed standard that says that cat breeding cannot have as a side effect ill health. This standard would rule out breeding white cats. The white spotting gene that produces white fur also can also produce odd-eyed cats. Although we do see white cats as part of the range of colors of cat breed when allowed, such as this magnificent white Turkish Angora and white Oriental Shorthair above.

There are four cat breeds that only “come in grey”. They are (these links lead to full pages of the best pictures and complete descriptions) as follows:

I have discussed all four together here: Grey cat breeds. It is interesting to note that of all the colors grey (or gray) is by far the most frequently encountered when it comes to a cat breed with a single color.

Why should this be? Probably because grey (in fact the color is more blue/grey) is a very acceptable color to the widest range of people. I guess you can’t breed a magnolia cat! Maybe we should.

Briefly turning to wild cats, the Jaguar is a wild cat that can be black due to a genetic mutation that turns the fur black, with the usual spotted markings very faint and barely visible. This is melanistic coloration. Black Panthers are not a black cat breed but Leopards or Jaguars that are melanistic in coloration. White tigers and lions are also white because of a recessive mutated gene, which is made to show itself through inbreeding these big cats in captivity. There are no black or white cat breeds for wild cats. Wild cats prefer to have camouflage and the tabby coat is the best for that.

This is a really nice photograph below.
black cat - Jaguar - pictures of cats
photo by Property#1
From black or white cat breeds to Different cat breeds

Photo of black cat – Black or white cat breeds published under a creative commons license:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Photo of a Melanistic Jaguar – Black or white cat breedspublished under a creative commons license:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

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