Kurilian Bobtail (information verified by breeders)

kurilian bobtail
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Above: Photograph of TAIGA © Helmi Flick


The Kurilian Bobtail (Kurilian, Curilsk Bobtailis, Kuril Bobtail) is a “natural” cat and a “mutated” cat. The breed is little-known in the West but is the 3rd most popular breed in Russia, where there are about 40 catteries – see three excellent Russian bred Kurilian Bobtail cats and some interesting information. I think it is interesting and preferable to study the Russian Kurilian because Russians have a longer association with this breed and founded it.

The breed’s geographical origin is the Kuril and Sakhalin Islands (see video below of a Kurilian bob as a farm cat on Sakhalin Island). This is a rare cat breed ranking 9 out of 10 where 10 is the rarest, by my reckoning.

My thanks to Lynda Wagner for the above video. See details of her cattery on this page (new window).

Kuril Islands

This is where the islands are:

kuril islands map wikimedia commons
kuril islands

Because this cat has apparently evolved in isolation on this island chain in the Pacific over the past 100-150 years, it can be called a natural cat. Natural in this instance means no interference by mankind. The Kuril Islands are, it seems, currently governed by Russia after a long dispute with Japan. There are 16,000 inhabitants. The climate is severe with long cold winters and short summers.

The climate has probably, to a degree, dictated this breeds’ coat, which is short to medium long and described as a “warm woolly coat”. All colors are encountered. It is not completely clear what the position was, in respect of the evolution of this breed more than 150 years ago, nor when or how the dominant genetic mutation came about to give this gorgeous looking cat her bobtail.

kurilian bobtail

Above: Kurilian Bobtail photo © Helmi Flick

However, it would seem that the Kurilian Bobtail was a wild cat on the islands until domesticated. The exact nature of the genetic mutation is still unclear (there is still a lot to learn about cat genetics) and there is speculation that it is the same as the Japanese Bobtail. At one stage it was believed that this breed was the Japanese Bobtail. If there is a connection between these two bobtailed cats it is possible that the Japanese bobtail inherited her genetic background from the Kurilian rather than vice-versa.

This alludes to the possibility that Japanese settlers on the islands, before the Russians kicked them off in 1945, brought over domestic cats that mated with the Kurilian resulting in the Japanese Bobtail. The history is similar to the Manx cat in relation to the tail (the Manx has no tail) and in respect of the isolated nature of the breed’s evolution.

However, the genetic mutation the gives the Kuril her short tail has no accompanying potentially harmful condition as is the case for the Manx. This is a healthy and robust breed it seems.

9 thoughts on “Kurilian Bobtail (information verified by breeders)”

  1. I’m originally from Sakhalin Island. These are one of the most popular cats for us. I’ve met one breeder who actually going to Kurils and bring the kittens straight from the wild. So the origins are quite clear. They are quite active, but cuddly and friendly, exactly as video shows. One day I want to bring kitten(s) to Australia where I currently reside.

    • Hi Genia. If you achieve your wish please tell me and write for the site because the Kurilian Bobtail is a rare cat and I love first hand information. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. I just flew to Italy from the USA to get my two fantastic Kurilian Bobtails…from TRUE KURILIANS CATTERY in Loazzolo, Italy. The breeders are Russians who moved to Italy three years ago, and are raising beautiful kittens. I chose this breed because we have three Australian Shepherd Dogs, that are very active and strong-willed. So I chose cats that could stand up to the dogs. It worked! The kittens came into the house, and within days had a fun and playful relationship with the dogs…each loves the other. In the four months they have been in our home, I have not heard one cry from a cat or a dog, as the result of being hurt in their play. These two fur balls love to travel…I pull out the crate, and in they jump…we take them everywhere we go…along with the dogs. We are going to name our van “The Ark” due to our growing menagerie. Love, love, love these cats…so, so smart, loving and adaptable, athletic, friendly and funny.

    • Hi Michaele. Wow, I am very impressed. What a result. A great promotion for this rare breed. Many thanks for sharing your experiences. People like to read first hand experiences. So much better than the usual descriptions.


Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo