American Bobtail Breed Profile

At a glance

  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Eyes: Hazel, green, yellow, green
  • Energy: Medium
  • Temperament: Playful, outgoing, curious, loving
  • Weight: Males 5.5 – 7.2 kg (12 – 16 lbs), females 4-5 kg (8.8 – 11 lbs)
  • Coat: Short or long
  • Colours: All colours
  • Grooming: Daily (long), weekly (short)
  • Prevalence: Rare


In 1960, John and Brenda Sanders came across a short-tailed male tabby cat while holidaying near an Indian Reservation in Arizona. They brought him home and mated him to a Siamese female named Mishi. The resulting litter consisted of kittens with short tails like their father.

A friend of the Sanders, Mindy Schultz came onboard and Himalayans, Siamese, and Birmans were added to the mix. In the early 1970s, Mindy wrote the first breed standard.

Later on, modifications were made to the original breed, which resulted in a greater range of colours and hair types.

The gene responsible is dominant, only one parent needs to have the gene to pass it on to their offspring. Outcrossing is still permitted although Japanese Bobtails and Manx cats are now allowed to be used.


American Bobtail

Body:  The American Bobtail is a medium to large, well-muscled, stocky cat with heavy boning and a broad, deep chest.  American Bobtails are slow to develop, taking three years to reach maturity. As with most other cat breeds, females are noticeably smaller than males.

Head: Broad modified wedge. Eyes are round and the wide ears have tufts.

Legs and tail: The hind legs are longer than the forelegs, leading to large, founded feet with tufts between the toes. Tail length can range from 1-4 inches and may be straight, slightly curved or bumpy.

Coat: The coat comes in short or medium/long hair and all colours and patterns.


The American Bobtail is an extremely intelligent and playful breed of cat. They are easy to train to do tricks or walk on a leash and they travel well.

The American Bobtail forms close bonds with its human companions and can be somewhat shy of strangers.

They get along with children and other pets and make an exceptional family pet.

A few sources have said that due to their personality, the American Bobtail makes an excellent therapy cat.


The American Bobtail is an overall healthy breed of cat.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio