/Breed Introduction: Japanese Bobtail

Breed Introduction: Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail is a breed of domestic cat with an unusual “bobbed” tail, more closely resembling the tail of a rabbit than that of other cats. The variety is native to Japan and Southeast Asia, though it is now found throughout the world. The Japanese Bobtail is playful and smart. It will relish the challenge of a rotating assortment of puzzle toys or the fun of chasing a lure on a fishing pole toy. He is very good at learning tricks and will even walk on a leash if he thinks it’s a fun thing to do. It likes playing with water, so you may find your faucets turned on or puddles beside his water dish. This is a busy and energetic cat, who must have companionship. HUMAN or another Bobtail would be his first choice, but a dog will do in a pinch to keep him entertained when you are out earning money for his food and toys.

Breed Origin


It is said that the first bobtailed cats arrived in Japan as gifts from the emperor of China to the emperor of Japan. They have been known in the island nation for at least 1,000 years. Their short tails were a naturally occurring phenomenon that was then set through selective breeding!

Bobtails with a tricolor coat—red and black on a white background—became known as popular symbols of good luck.

By 1976, the shorthaired variety had been recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. The longhaired Japanese Bobtail did not achieve CFA recognition until 1993. Today, the Japanese Bobtail is recognized by all North American registries.

Breed Characteristics


This is a medium-size cat weighing 6 to 10 pounds.

This is an adaptable cat that travels well, making him a good choice for boisterous families.

Japanese Bobtails are generally healthy, and the recessive gene that produces the bobtail is not associated with any spinal or bone abnormalities.

Japanese Bobtail has little undercoat, both the shorthaired and longhaired varieties are very easy to groom. Tangles are uncommon, and a weekly combing will remove dead hairs. Both longhairs and shorthairs shed seasonally.

The Japanese Bobtail is known as well for his tricolor calico pattern—but other popular colours are black and white or red and white. He also comes in solid colours, tortoiseshell and tabby patterns.

The Bobtail is a great match for families with kids because he shares their high energy level. He is up for anything, from playing fetch to being a guest at a tea party to being dressed up in doll clothes and paraded around in a baby buggy.