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Japanese Bobtail (Short Hair)

The Japanese Bobtail is an average build cat with a finely chiselled head and strong, upright ears framing a large eyed, inquisitive face. The tail for which this cat is named, is a short-curled tail, which may or may not have some fused joints and whilst the length and mobility will vary from cat to cat to some degree, it will resemble a pom-pom.  

Bobtails come in both long and short haired varieties, but in either the coat is soft and silky without any undercoat which means this cat sheds surprisingly little. 

The need-to-know
  • Great for first-time cat owners
  • Enjoys playing games and is active at home
  • Playful and curious cat
  • Sociable and dependent cat
  • Slightly talkative cat
  • Average build cat breed
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • A bit of both indoor and outdoor space
  • Great family cat
  • Can be regularly left for a few hours
  • Great for a relaxed home
This breed may encounter health problems

The Japanese Bobtail cat breed does not have the same gene mutation as other tailless breeds such as the Manx cat. However the lack of tail in the Japanese Bobtail is still associated with spinal deformities, although further research is required to assess if this causes health problems in the Bobtail breed¹.

¹R. E. Pollard and  A. L. Koehne, 'Japanese Bobtail: vertebral morphology and genetic characterization of an established cat breed', Dec 2014, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 

Key Facts

Lifespan: 9 - 15 years
Weight:  2.7 - 4.5kg
Colours:  Wide variety of colours and patterns, with the traditional colour being the tri-coloured ‘mi-ke’, that combines a rich red, deep black and crisp, pristine white.


Family-friendly: 5/5
Playfulness: 5/5
Intelligence: 4/5
Tendency to Vocalise:  1/5
Likes Other Pets: 5/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 3/5
Japanese Bobtail Short Hair is looking at someone


Playful and fun, curious and bold, the Japanese Bobtail is an engaging cat to spend time with. They love fuss and cuddles, but also like to climb and play and are lean and athletically built. They want to be around people, but are also gregarious and friendly with their own kind and can be introduced to other pets if this is done carefully. 

Japanese Bobtail Short Hair cat is lying in a carton

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Japan

The Japanese Bobtail can be traced back to 8th century Japan, but wasn’t seen outside of Japan until the 1960’s when they caught the attention of American breeders. 

Said to be lucky, and depicted very frequently in traditional Japanese art, the Bobtail is most commonly seen rendered in statue form as the paw waving ‘lucky cat’ icon. This association with luck is possibly down to their use in protecting the silk production process from damage by rodents. 

Whilst they are now a recognised breed in the USA, they are still very rare in the UK. 

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