European vs American Maine Coon Cats
European and American Maine Coon cats originated in the United States in the state of Maine. Breeders brought Maine Coons to Europe and began breeding programs with different goals from American breeders. So European and American Maine Coons cats differ in several ways, from their origin and physical appearance to their temperament and breeding practices.
4 Key Differences Between European and American Maine Coon Cats
Here are 4 key differences between European and American Maine Coon Cats:
History and Origins
The Maine Coon breed originated in the United States and has a rich history that dates back centuries. In contrast, European Maine Coon cats arose from the American type through selective breeding programs initiated by cat enthusiasts in Europe.
There are many myths surrounding the origin of Maine Coons, one popular theory suggests that Maine Coon cats are descendants of domestic cats that mated with long-haired cats brought by Viking explorers. As these cats settled in the northeastern regions of the United States, they adapted to the harsh climate, resulting in the development of their distinctive characteristics.
The breed became very popular in European countries, including Norway, Russia, and Germany. European breeders focused on preserving the breed's original features while also incorporating their own personal preferences, which led to slight differences in appearance and temperament compared to the American cats.
European and American Maine Coon cats have differences in their appearance, including their size, body build, head shape, ears and tail. Coat differences may affect grooming needs.
European Maine Coons tend to be larger and more robust. They have a more substantial bone structure, muscular bodies, and longer, bushier tails. Their ears are often wider at the base, and their heads can be slightly squarer. American Maine Coons, however, are generally a little smaller and have a sleeker appearance.
European Maine Coons often have a more square-shaped head with high cheekbones, giving them a regal appearance. Their ears are also set higher on the head compared to American Maine Coons and may have tall “lynx tips”. American Maine Coons typically have a more triangular-shaped head with slightly rounded features.
In addition, there are variations in coat patterns and colors between the two groups. European Maine Coons often show a wider range of coat colors, including solid colors, tortoiseshell, and tabby patterns, while American Maine Coons tend to show the classic tabby pattern.
European Maine Coons usually have a denser and thicker coat, to withstand harsh weather conditions, while American Maine Coons have a softer and silkier coat. European Maine Coons may need more grooming than the American type.
European Maine Coon cats generally have a thicker, fuller coat compared to their American counterparts. This means that they may need more frequent brushing to keep their fur looking its best. Aim for at least two to three brushing sessions per week using a slicker brush or metal comb, paying close attention to areas prone to matting like the belly and behind the ears.
On the other hand, American Maine Coon cats have slightly less dense coats but still require regular grooming. Brushing them once or twice a week should be sufficient in keeping their fur healthy and free from tangles.
All Maine Coons benefit from routine maintenance tasks such as ear cleaning, teeth brushing (with feline-specific toothpaste), nail trimming, and occasional bathing when necessary.
LARGER, MUSCULAR, ROBUST
SQUARE, HIGH CHEEKBONES
EAR TUFTS, ROUNDER
TALLER, HIGH ON HEAD, LYNX TIPS
MANY COLORS & PATTERNS
THICK & DENSE
Temperament and Personality Differences
While both European and American Maine Coon cats are known for their friendly and sociable nature, some owners see differences between the types. European Maine Coons are often described as more reserved and independent. They tend to be more cautious around strangers and take their time to warm up to new people or situations. However, once they form a bond, they are loyal and affectionate companions.
On the other hand, American Maine Coons are famous for their outgoing and gregarious personalities. They are generally more extroverted, readily welcoming new faces and engaging in playful interactions, the classic “gentle giants”. American Maine Coons often enjoy being the center of attention and thrive in lively environments.
European and American breeders follow different breeding practices that result in the differences between the two Maine Coon cat groups. European breeders focus on preserving the breed's original traits and heritage emphasizing hunting ability and hardiness. They emphasize health, temperament, and genetic diversity to prevent health problems that are caused by inbreeding.
American breeders often explore new traits and variations within the breed. Some American lines may produce bigger cats with more exaggerated features like longer fur or larger tufts on their ears. These characteristics are favored at cat shows.
Show Standards and Judging Criteria for European and American Maine Coons
European and American Maine Coon cats have slight variations in show standards and judging criteria. In Europe, the breed standard for Maine Coons is set by Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), while in the United States, it is established by The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
Choosing the Right Main Coon Cat for You
European and American Maine Coons have distinctive characteristics. To choose between them, ask yourself what traits matter most to you?
Are you looking for a cat that closely resembles its wild heritage or one that meets specific breed standards? Consider factors like grooming needs, activity levels, and temperament when making your decision. You can’t go wrong. Both types of Maine Coons make wonderful companions.
A. Maine Coon cats are known for their large size. On average, males can weigh between 13-18 pounds (5.9-8.2 kg) and females can weigh between 8-12 pounds (3.6-5.4 kg). Some exceptional individuals can even reach weights of 20 pounds (9 kg) or more.
A. Yes, Maine Coons are known for their large, tufted paws. Their paws help them navigate snowy terrain and provide better balance and grip.
A. Yes, Maine Coon cats can have a variety of eye colors. Common eye colors include green, gold, and copper. Some Maine Coons may even have heterochromia, where each eye has a different color.
A. Maine Coon cats are slow growers and take longer to reach their full size compared to other cat breeds. They typically reach their full size and maturity between the ages of 3 to 5 years.
A. Yes, Maine Coons are often described as having tufted ears resembling those of a lynx. These ear tufts enhance their overall majestic appearance.
A. Maine Coon cats come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Some common colors include black, brown, red, cream, silver, and white. The most common patterns are tabby (striped), solid, tortoiseshell, and calico.