Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds in the World

Cats belong to the most beloved pets in the world. Overall, there are now over 600 million domesticated house cats in the world. They make beloved and popular pets for millions of people and families around the globe. They can be cute, and cuddly, and have unique personalities that make them great companions. As every cat lover knows, there are many different cat breeds out there, each with sometimes differing traits and characteristics.

The following ranking lists the 10 currently most popular cat breeds in the world, based on worldwide official registrations.

Note: This ranking of the most popular cat breeds in the world excludes stray cats and non-registered cats.

Check out the ranking of the Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World.

The 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds in the World

most popular cat breeds

1. Domestic Shorthair Cat

most popular cat breed

Origin: Mixed-breed (mainly from Europe & North America)

There are British Shorthair cats, several European Shorthair cats, and also American Shorthair cats. Put together, Domestic Shorthair Cats are by far the most popular cat breeds in the world. They don’t have one specific origin but were rather mixed-bred in many variations over time. Genetically, most Shorthairs derive from European and/or North American ancestors, however.

Domestic Shorthair cats are known and valued for being especially low-maintenance and very independent pets. They also belong to the most intelligent cats in the world.

2. Ragdoll Cat

Origin: United States

The Ragdoll cat was developed by known American cat breeder Ann Baker in the 1960s and has quickly become one of the most popular cat breeds in the world ever since. It is genetically most related to the Persian and Birman breeds. The Ragdoll also belongs to the largest domesticated cat in the world. Full-grown female Ragdoll cats can weigh up to 15 pounds (7 kilograms) and male Ragdolls even up to around 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

Ragdoll cats are incredibly docile and affectionate towards humans, a big part of the reason for their popularity. Unlike more independent domesticated breeds like the Shorthair cat, Ragdolls are less comfortable being left alone and are known to follow their owners around. The Ragdoll is also known for its sweet and musical voice. Unfortunately, they also belong to the domesticated cat breeds with the shortest life span and rarely live longer than 12 to 15 years.

3. Maine Coon

Cat, Animal, Pet, Maine Coon, Mainecoon

Origin: United States

There are many legends surrounding the origins of the Maine Coon. Some early theories falsely claimed the Maine Coon was the product of a cross between a cat and a raccoon (hence the name). In reality, the Maine Coon most likely originated from the cross between a Domestic Shorthair and a long-haired Angora cat. The breed was first introduced and popular in the U.S. state of Maine (hence the name). During the 20th Century the Maine Coon then increasingly became popular all over North America and even beyond. Today the breed is the second most popular in North America and the third most popular one in the world.

The Maine Coon is also the biggest domesticated cat breed in the world. Adults can reach lengths of up to 48 inches (120 centimeters) and heights of up to 16 inches (41 centimeters). Maine Coons are known as gentle pets and are, unlike many other cats, very harmonious in their interaction with kids. The breed is therefore often called “the dog among cats”.

4. Devon Rex

Origin: United Kingdom

Devon Rex is a popular cat breed known for its unique appearance and playful personality. Originating in Devon, England in the late 1950s, this breed is a result of a natural mutation that occurred in a feral cat. The Devon Rex is a small to medium-sized cat with relatively large ears and striking eyes that give them a somewhat alert and mischievous look. Their light body, relatively long legs, and large toes allow them to take long leaps and high jumping.

Personality-wise the Devon Rex is known as a very playful and active cat, constantly climbing, jumping, and exploring its surroundings wherever it can. This is why Devon rex cats are often referred to as “the monkeys among cats”. They thrive in homes with plenty of vertical spaces to explore. They also enjoy playing with toys and interacting with their owners.

5. Exotic Shorthair

Origin: United States

The Exotic Shorthair comes fifth among the most popular cat breeds in the world. The breed originated in the United States in the 1950s, when breeders began crossing Persians with American Shorthairs to create a new type of cat with a short, dense coat and a round, flat face. Today, the Exotic Shorthair is recognized as a distinct breed. One of the most striking characteristics of the Exotic Shorthair is its short, plush coats that come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including solid colors, tabby stripes, and bi-colors. Their round, flat faces are often compared to those of teddy bears, and their large, expressive eyes are another hallmark of the breed.

In addition to their physical characteristics, Exotic Shorthairs are known for their friendly, affectionate personalities. They are often described as “lap cats” who love nothing more than curling up with their owners to snuggle, which makes them particularly popular among children.

6. Persian Cat

persian cat

Origin: Iran

The Persian Cat is one of the oldest domesticated cats still in existence today and the basis for many other cat breeds. Originating in what is now Iran, the intercontinental popularity of the Persian as a pet already began in the 17th Century when Italian merchants introduced the breed in Europe. Persian cats have very long-haired coats, which is a rare feature among descendants of the African wildcat, the common ancestor of all domesticated cats.

Their luxuriously looking coats require constant maintenance. Aside from that, however, Persian cats are known as quite pleasant, easy-going, and very calm pets. This explains their century-old popularity all over the world.

7. Abyssinian Cat

Abyssinian breed

Origin: Ethiopia

The Abyssinian cat originated from what is now the Eastern African country of Ethiopia (which historically has also been known as Abyssinia, hence the name). It is believed that British sailors brought the cat to Europe in the mid-19th Century. The Abyssinian quickly became popular all over Europe and then eventually all over the world. As a short-haired cat, the Abyssinian does not require a lot of maintenance.

Personality-wise Abyssinians are known as very extroverted, playful, and active cats. They don’t like to be locked in small homes and prefer spending their days outside in the open. Abyssinian cats are also characterized by a well above-average intelligence level for cats.

8. Scottish Fold Cat

Image result for Scottish Fold Cat
Credit: Peter Perepelkin / CC BY-SA 3.0

Origin: United Kingdom

The Scottish Fold is a unique and charming cat breed that has become increasingly popular among pet owners all over the world. Originating from Scotland in the 1960s, this breed is known for its distinctive folded ears, which give it a cuddly appearance. Scottish Folds are medium to large-sized cats with rounded bodies and short legs, coming in a variety of colors and patterns.

One of the most notable characteristics of the Scottish Fold cat is their gentle, very calm, and affectionate personality. They become very attached to their owners and household members and are also known to be above-average intelligent among cats.

9. Sphynx Cat

Image result for Sphynx Cat

Origin: Canada

The Sphynx cat is a unique cat breed that originated in Canada through a natural genetic mutation and was then systematically bred starting in the 1960s. It is best and most obviously known for its hairless appearance. Breeders were intrigued by the unusual appearance and began breeding hairless cats to create what is now known as the Sphynx cat breed.

Sphynx cats are known to be extroverted and very affectionate and playful. Due to the lack of fur, Sphynx cats may be more tolerable for owners with a cat hair allergy (even though the allergy is not directly caused by the hair). But the lack of hair makes them also more susceptible to skin damage caused by sun exposure and freezing on cold days, which is why they are best suited indoors.

10. Siberian Cat

Origin: Russia

The Siberian cat completes the list of the ten most popular cat breeds in the world. Originating from Siberia, the Siberian cat has been around for centuries in the wild forests of Siberia and then increasingly in many Russian households. Since the 1980s, the Siberian cat has increasingly been bred outside of Russia and gained popularity in Europe, North America, and other parts of the world. Siberian cats are known for their thick, fluffy coat, perfectly suited for cold weather conditions.

Siberian Cats are also known for their dog-like characteristics, which include their playful and affectionate nature. They tend to be very social and very loyal towards their owners, often following them around the house. Siberian cats are also among the most intelligent cats and have a curious and exploratory disposition. They are furthermore very vocal cats, able to produce a diverse mix of sounds.

The 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds in the World

(as of 2022, based on official registrations)

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds in the World
The 10 currently most popular cat breeds in the world, based on worldwide official registrations provided by the CFA. Wild or non-registered cats are not accounted for in the ranking.

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