This is a conventional look at these three cats. I compare history, appearance, character and inherent health. I score each element with a heart shaped symbol. Five stars being the maximum. Scoring has to be subjective but I have been as objective as possible. The page is deliberately succinct as there is a lot of detail on these breeds on this website, particularly with respect to the Maine Coon. I have bundled them together because it is possible they have the same ancient heritage. I am using American examples of these breeds as the USA is the biggest purebred cat market.
Maine Coon (MC) – date of origin 1860 in USA. Ancestry: Farm cats in USA for 400 years. Long prior history originating in Europe.♥♥♥♥♥
Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) – date of origin: 1930s in Germany. Ancestry: Farm cats. Cats arrived in Norway around AD 1000.♥♥♥♥
Siberian – date of origin: 1980s in Eastern Russia. Ancestry: Household and farm cats.♥♥♥
Maine Coon – the largest non-wildcat hybrid cat breed. “Substantial body shape”. Strong face. Square muzzle. Large ears (lynx tipped). Long hair. Shaggy coat. Coat: all colors and divisions of the traditional category.♥♥♥♥♥
Norwegian Forest Cat – Substantial build but not as big as the Maine Coon (on average). Slightly less masculine face than the MC. Medium to large ears (lynx tipped). Long hair. Triple coated. Coat: all colors and divisions of the traditional category.♥♥♥♥
Siberian – Substantial body shape. Strong appearance. Looks slightly less slender than the MC or NFC. Slightly squarer head (less long). Coat density similar to NFC. Coat: all colors and divisions of the traditional category.♥♥♥♥
Maine Coon – Gentle giant. Relaxed, easygoing. Fairly quiet. Not necessarily a lap cat or wanting to be held. People orientated.♥♥♥♥
Norwegian Forest Cat – Very quiet. Single-minded. “Most are not interested in playing games1“. Reserved and contained.♥♥♥♥
Siberian – Sensible and resourceful. Strong independent cat. Requires space in which to roam. Not a lap cat. Dog-like devotion.♥♥♥
Maine Coon – Hip Dysplasia (bad hip joint) – HCM (heart condition) – PKD (kidney disease) – Gingivitis (gum disease) – Spinal muscular atrophy (spine condition). ♥♥
Norwegian Forest Cat – HCM – PKD – Type IV glycogen storage disease (metabolism disorder). ♥♥♥
Siberian – No inherited health issues reported. (this does not mean there are none but none recorded)♥♥♥♥♥
Total scores: Maine Coon: 16. Norwegian Forest Cat: 15. Siberian: 15. In terms of popularity, the Maine Coon leads. The Norwegian Forest Cat is also popular but less so and the Siberian is rarer and less popular than the other two.
Note: 1. Gloria Stephens in Legacy of the Cat.