Karelian Bobtail

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Karelian Bobtail

8-12 inches
10-15 lb
Medium-build, bobbed tail
15-18 years
Best Suited For
Any cat loving household, including those with children and other pets
Easygoing, inquisitive, friendly, loving, loyal, playful
Comparable Breeds
Kurilian Bobtail, Japanese Bobtail
Karelian Bobtail Breed History

The Karelian Bobtail is a rare, beautiful, and unique feline breed from the Republic of Karelia, which is located between Finland and Russia. It is also a naturally bobtailed breed that should not be confused with the Kurilian Bobtail.

Because the bobbed tail gene is an inherited recessive gene, both parents of a litter of Karelian Bobtail kittens must have a bobbed tail in order for the kittens to have this same distinctive characteristic when they are born.

The Karelian Bobtail is a rare, beautiful, and unique feline breed.

Breed Traits

Like other bobtail breeds, the Karelian is a really great family pet. These cats are extremely friendly and they thoroughly enjoy the company of people and other pets, including other cats.

Karelian Bobtail cats are also adaptable and quiet, and these kitties are even known for their curiosity. Overall, they are easy going and enjoy playing and spending time with their human companions.

Overall Description

The Karelian Bobtail has a medium sized body that isn’t elongated or stocky. Its legs, too, are medium in size, though they are quite solid, and the hind legs are longer than the front legs.

The tail on a Karelian Bobtail is bent, twisted, and kinked, and it is usually anywhere between 4 and 13 cm in length, so it is short. Every cat within this breed has a unique tail, much like a fingerprint. Also, the fur on the tail is longer than the fur on the rest of the cat’s body, so it has the appearance of a pom-pom, making this kitty cute to look at.

This breed also features upright, large ears that are set quite high on the top of the head, and the tips of the ears are slightly rounded. The eyes are almond shaped, and their color will correspond with the coat color.

The fur can either be long or short in length, and it is very dense. It also features a well-developed and soft undercoat, though the top coat is glossy and firm.


Cinnamon and chocolate, along with their dilutions, fawn and lilac, are not recognized in any combination, including bicolor, tricolor, and tabby. Also, the pointed pattern is not recognized in this breed either. However, all other patterns and colors are recognized, along with any amount of white.

Grooming Requirements

The Karelian Bobtail is a breed that does not require too much grooming. The fur is naturally shiny and beautiful, as well as glossy, and it should always feel like silk.

Short haired cats will do fine with an occasional brushing, while long haired kitties should be brushed more often, especially when they are shedding more than usual. In addition to cleaning your cat’s teeth and ensuring his ears are clean and his claws are trimmed, brushing will help prevent hairballs as well.

Photo credit: Dushka/Wikimedia

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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