Cat breed popularity – top 3 at 2022: Bengal, Maine Coon and Persian

Introduction

The big question is how do you decide which breed is the most popular? Or the top 3 most popular cat breeds in the world. What criteria do you use? Are there records? Is there enough data on the Internet to decide the most popular cat breeds?

Back in the day, they used to decide cat breed popularity on the number of individual cats registered with the cat associations. And perhaps about 30 years ago the most registered cat breed at the CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association – the world’s largest registry) was the Persian. And I am referring to the flat-faced Persian or contemporary Persian. So perhaps at that time in the late 20th century the most popular cat breed in the world was the Persian cat. But things have changed.

I can’t say for sure but perhaps the reason why the Persian has lost ground in the popularity stakes is because they are inherently unhealthy it is sad to say. All cat breeds tend to carry with them inherited diseases because they are inbred to a certain extent. This reinforces a tendency for health problems to emerge. But the Persian and Siamese tend to have the most health problems perhaps because they are the most long-standing cat breeds and therefore there has been a longer time for breeders to selectively breed them.

Purebred cat popularity 2022

That’s a very negative introduction. In searching for a criterion for measuring breed popularity I decided to check out the CFA to see how many cat breeders there are for each of the breeds that they accept. Might that be a good method of measuring popularity? The premise is that the more cat breeders there are of a certain breed the more likelihood there is that this breed is the most popular. It’s about market forces. Popularity breeds demand and therefore supply has to meet demand. In this instance, the supply source is the cat breeders.

Three most popular breeds 2022

I decided to use information from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA), both American cat associations because America is the biggest cat breed market by far, to decide the most popular cat breed. This is an imperfect method but perhaps any method would be imperfect. I am also using my gut feel through years of experience to verify that these are the top three in my considered opinion.

I am not going to rank them 1-3. They are all about equal in popularity.

Top 3 cat breeds 2022
3 most popular breeds 2022. Please click on the image to see it larger. Image: MikeB from freely available images.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat Fanciers’ Association registered breeds

So, using my chosen criterion at 2022, the breed with the most cat breeders listed on the CFA website are as follows in descending order (top 12):

  1. Maine Coon – 30 listings
  2. Persian – 28 listings
  3. Exotic Shorthair – 11 listings
  4. Birman – 9 listings
  5. British Shorthair – 8 listings
  6. Ragdoll – 7 listings
  7. Siberian – 7 listings
  8. Ocicat – 7 listings
  9. Bengal – 7 listings
  10. Abyssinian – 6 listings
  11. American shorthair – 5 listings
  12. Burmese – 4 listings

Now, I think that list is actually quite useful. Firstly, it squares up with my thoughts on this topic. I can only go by my gut feeling. But having read thousands of pages on the Internet and in books and kept pace with the cat news over 14 years, I can genuinely say that the Maine Coon is probably today’s most popular cat or in the top 3.

The Persian has a very long history and there is a core of admirers of this breed who remain loyal to it, hence its second place in this list. The Exotic Shorthair is a shorthaired version of the Persian which confirms the continuing popularity of the flat-face and extreme breeding despite the knowledge that it can create known health problems.

TICA registered breeds

The two most registered breeders at The International Cat Association (TICA) are (by a large margin) the Bengal cat and in second place the Maine Coon cat. I counted about 200 registered breeders for the Bengal cat and around 120 perhaps for the Maine Coon cat. Therefore, the Bengal cat is the most popular cat breed in this cat association’s cat breeder registration system.

Accordingly, taking this information and the CFA information I place these three cat is the most popular as at 2022: Maine Coon, Bengal and Persian.

Surprises

There are some surprises in this list. For example, the Norwegian Forest Cat is missing. There were no listed cat breeders on the CFA website for this breed. That does indeed surprise me because this is a very beautiful cat. I think the problem here is that people looking for a cat of this type i.e. substantial in size and with medium-long hair, will now choose the Maine Coon. Perhaps the Maine Coon has pushed out the popularity of the Norwegian Forest Cat which, I believe, enjoyed greater popularity in the past (see table for 2009).

A major point about the Maine Coon’s apparent popularity is that they are the largest cat breed. People like large cats. And in Russia, they breed them particularly large and to extreme. People also like extreme looks because they are stand out appearances. In a competitive marketplace a cat breed does need to stand out. And the market is becoming ever more competitive.

Purebred cat popularity 2009

Below is a table showing the number of votes that each purebred cat accrued from visitors to this website way back in 2009. At that time, I ran a poll on this website. I collated those figures and this is the result. The two most popular cat breeds in 2009 were the Maine Coon and the Bengal on this basis. Little has changed except for the Persian falling back, I believe.

Alphabetical list of mainstream breeds showing popularity votes for each breed July 2011

Answers
Graph
PercentageResponses
Abyssinian
5.4233
American Bobtail
1.148
American Curl
0.732
American Shorthair
3.7162
American Wirehair
0.313
Balinese
0.732
Bambino
0.313
Bengal
8.8380
Birman
2.193
Bombay
2.3100
British Shorthair
3.6154
Burmese
2.192
California Spangled
0.315
Chartreux
1.042
Chausie
0.521
Cornish Rex
0.523
Cymric
0.314
Devon Rex
0.627
Donskoy
0.29
Dwelf
0.313
Egyptian Mau
3.0130
Exotic Shorthair
0.941
Genetta
0.210
Havana
0.523
Himalayan
2.5109
Household Pet (Moggie)
1.564
Japanese Bobtail
0.938
Kinkalow
0.311
Knooks
0.311
Korat
0.315
Kurilian Bobtail
0.16
Lambkin
0.29
LaPerm
0.16
Maine Coon
11.0478
Manx
0.941
Minskin
0.13
Munchkin
0.732
Napoleon
0.13
Nebelung
0.315
Norwegian Forest
2.5107
Ocicat
0.732
Ojos Azules
0.210
Oriental Shorthair
0.941
Persian
4.3185
Peterbald
0.14
Pixiebob
0.625
Ragdoll
5.0216
Russian Blue
3.1136
Safari
0.315
Savannah
2.3101
Scottish Fold
1.254
Selkirk Rex
0.312
Serengeti
0.210
Serval
0.834
Siamese
8.1349
Siberian
1.148
Singapura
0.522
Skookum
0.210
Snowshoe
0.835
Somali
1.044
Sphynx
1.461
Tonkinese
0.833
Thai
0.210
Toyger
1.250
Turkish Angora
1.355
Turkish Van
1.668
Total Number of Responses: 4328

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