Although cat association registration numbers don’t automatically equate to public popularity, they are an indicator, hence the title, which was selected for SEO reasons. This page applies to the UK.
Michele informed me that:
Overall, pedigree cat numbers are going down in the UK. In 1997 there was a total of 32,696 pedigree cats registered, by 2014 that number was reduced to 20,236. In the UK, the Persian has been replaced by the Ragdoll and Maine Coon as longhaired pedigree of choice. As they have risen in the rankings, the Persian has continued to drop.
I thought I’d check it out. I have created some charts to get a indication where the trends are for individual cat breeds. I have had to limit the list to the top dozen or so for practical reasons but included the Sphynx because it did very well for a while them leveled off.
The biggest faller is the Bengal, and the Persian has consistently declined over these years. The Ragdoll has dramatically bucked the downward trend. It is interesting to speculate why the Ragdoll has done so well and the Bengal so badly. If we assume the internet has educated potential buyers about the pedigree, purebred cats what are they most interested in? Appearance is a factor and the Ragdoll is very large. Second only to the Maine Coon if you exclude the wild cat hybrids. Size counts for a lot of people.
Secondly, the inherited health of a cat breed is important. The Ragdoll does well against the Siamese and Persian in this regard. Thirdly, the character of the Ragdoll, although perhaps exaggerated, the breed is more suited to modern life being laid back and one of the breeds more likely to accept full-time indoor life. That is my initial view on the increasing apparent popularity of the Ragdoll.
The Bengal has health issues (Bengal Nose and HCM – heart disease) and the Persian has well-known health problems. The Siamese also has some health issues. These are reasons for their decline. I am speculating so they are just thoughts.
Here are some selected observations from 2004-2014:
- British SH has declined but not by that much. Stable performance.
- Ragdoll registrations increased by 50%.
- Siamese registrations declined by 60%.
- Persian registrations declined by around 65% (i.e. to 35% of its 2004 figure).
- Bengal registrations are 18% of what they were in 2004. A decline of 82%.
- Birman registrations are around half of what they were in 2004.
- The peak year for the Sphynx was 2012. Registrations rose from 0 to 391 and have now fallen back.
- Of the breeds listed on this page, the total number of registrations in 2014 is 60% of the number in 2004 (29411 compared to 17677). This is quite a dramatic fall in numbers of registrations of the most popular breeds in the UK.
Hope this helps someone.