Photo of a Karelian Bobtail with yellow eyes
(Photo Credit: Vagengeym_Elena | Getty Images)

Karelian Bobtail

The Karelian Bobtail cat, a unique and rare breed, has a unique appearance and charming personality. Originating from the Karelian region in Russia, this feline companion boasts a striking bobbed tail. With a robust and well-proportioned body, adorned by a luxurious coat of varying patterns and colors, the Karelian Bobtail exudes a sense of elegance and individuality.

Known for their friendly and sociable nature, the Karelian Bobtail cat forms strong bonds with their human companions, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a loyal and affectionate feline friend. This breed’s intelligence and playful demeanor contribute to their adaptability in various living environments, making them a delightful addition to households around the world.

When considering a Karelian Bobtail kitten, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a cat in need. However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their cats. Reputable Karelian Bobtail kitten breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their cats, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the kitties. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy kitty while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: Republic of Karelia, between Finland and Russia.
  • Size: Medium (7-15 pounds) with a compact and muscular build.
  • Breed Group: Landrace (naturally occurring breed).
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Coat: Short or longhaired, thick and soft, comes in various colors and patterns including solid, tabby, bi-color, and tortoiseshell.
  • Temperament: Gentle, affectionate, playful, intelligent, social, enjoys human interaction and playtime.
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Training: Highly trainable due to their intelligence and desire to please.
  • Grooming: Moderate
  • Health: Generally healthy, but some potential for genetic health conditions
  • Although similar in name and origin, this breed should not be confused with the Kurilian Bobtail cat.
  • Unlike other bobtail breeds, the tail gene is recessive. Both parents must have the recessive dream to pass it onto their offspring.
  • The breed may be related to the Norwegian Forest Cat.
  • The Karelian Bobtail is extremely rare, with only two catteries in Russia breeding them.

Karelian Bobtail Pictures

Karelian Bobtail History

The Karelian Bobtail originates from a place called the Republic of Karelia, which you’ll find nestled between the countries of Russia and Finland. Recorded documentation about the cat’s history goes back over 200 years. The breed’s distinctive stubby bobtailed look is speculated to be a spontaneous mutation that has since become the cat’s calling card.

While the Karelian Bobtail cat breed has become established as a very popular feline in Russia, you’ll be less likely to see the cat on a day to day basis in North America. The Karelian Bobtail is officially acknowledged as a single breed by the World Cat Federation. These days, you can find Karelian Bobtails in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. So make sure to consider adoption if you decide that this is the breed for you!

Karelian Bobtail Size

The Karelian Bobtail is a medium cat. As is always the case, exact size standards might vary.

Most Karelian Bobtails weigh in at 10-15 pounds.

Karelian Bobtail Personality

If you come across a Karelian Bobtail at your local shelter and decide that this might be the perfect cat for you, what sort of feline can you expect to be sharing your home with? Well, first of all, this is a cat breed that is exceptionally friendly towards humans, whether young or old. Your Karelian Bobtail will happily follow you around the homestead, wanting to be part of whatever action is going on. These felines love to take part in cuddle and petting sessions, so be prepared for a very affectionate kitty.

However, the breed is also playful and quite athletic, so get ready to take part in frequent play sessions–this is definitely a breed that will benefit from having a cat tree to climb and interact with. In general, the Karelian Bobtail also has a reputation for being a quiet cat–so if you live in a place where a very vocal cat could be an issue, this might be a very fitting breed for you!

Karelian Bobtail Health

Karelian Bobtails are generally considered to be healthy cats–but it’s always important to schedule regular wellness visits with your cat’s vet.

There aren’t any breed-specific health problems associated with the Karelian Bobtail, but always keep an eye out for signs that your cat might be in distress or pain.

Karelian Bobtail Care

As with all cats, it’s important to keep up your Karelian Bobtail’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your cat healthy.

Beyond scheduling yearly wellness visits with your vet, make sure that you include a scratching post in your Karelian Bobtail’s living environment–this can help promote healthy scratching and keep the cat’s nails in good condition.

The Karelian Bobtail’s ears should also be examined regularly for signs of dirt building up or possible infection. It’s also advisable to talk with your vet about starting a regular teeth brushing regime that will suit your Karelian Bobtail. Your vet can advise you about specific brands and techniques.

Finally, it’s important to reiterate that while the Karelian Bobtail is a cute and loving feline, they do also require a decent amount of exercise–so definitely add a cat tree and interactive toys to the home before adopting one.

Karelian Bobtail Coat Color And Grooming

The Karelian Bobtail is a breed of cat that you’ll see in a wide range of colors and patterns–although it is never spotted in shades of either brown or cinnamon. You might also see some pattern in the cat’s fur, depending on the individual feline.

When it comes to grooming, most Karelian Bobtail’s are fairly low maintenance–although as the breed comes in short and long-haired varieties, the length of hair will determine how much brushing is required. Short-haired Karelian Bobtails can get by with just the one brushing session a week, whereas long-haired kitties will need brushing on a near daily basis. This will help lessen the likelihood of hairballs and mats forming.

In terms of climate, the Karelian Bobtail is generally an adaptable breed of cat, and long-haired versions can tolerate colder weather. Although you should always make sure that there’s enough shade and fresh water available during the hotter months.

Children And Other Pets

The Karelian Bobtail is a exceptionally friendly and outgoing feline that does very well with young children. Just be sure that early socialization takes place and boundaries are properly set on both sides–and supervise early interactions between kids and cats. When it comes to other household pets, the Karelian Bobtail fares well with many domestic animals, including dogs. Always supervise early interactions between the new cat and existing pets. Ultimately, early socialization really pays off with this breed. Make sure to reward your Karelian Bobtail for good behavior when you bring them home to your family!

Karelian Bobtail Rescue Groups

While this breed is extremely rare, you may be able to find it at a purebred cat rescue or Russian-specific cat rescue.


Life Span
14-18 years
10-15 pounds
Country Of Origin
Republic of Karelia


No content yet. Check back later!
monitoring_string = "44e5bb901650ec61e9e0af1ff1bef5fe"