The Maine Coon Standard
All pedigree breeds have a description of the ideal look of a cat of that breed – a standard.
There are several international cat associations and their standards vary slightly. Here are some excerpts and links to full text.
“The Maine Coon is a natural breed of amiable character that traces its origin to the working cat found on the farms of Northeast America.” (FIFe standard) : Download the standard from FIFe online.
“America’s native longhair, Maine Coons were well established over a century ago as a hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the hostile New England winters. Breeders have sought to preserve the Maine Coon’s “natural,” rugged qualities. Maine Coon owners enjoy the breed’s characteristic clown-like personality, affectionate nature, amusing habits and tricks and willingness to ‘help’ with any activity. They make excellent companions for large, active families that also enjoy having dogs and other animals. For owners wishing to show, the Maine Coon has reclaimed its original glory in the show ring.” from TICA’s Maine Coon page. You can download the standard from TICA’s webpage here.
“The Maine Coon is the native American longhaired cat and was recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their mousing talents. Through nature’s own breeding program, this breed has developed into a sturdy cat ideally suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the region. The Maine Coon is well known for its loving nature, kindly disposition and great intelligence. Maines are especially good with children and dogs and have always been a popular and sought after companion.” Read more on the CFA Homepage or download the standard from CFA’s webpage as pdf.
The First Maine Coon Standard
The First MCBFA Standard of the Maine Coon (Transcript of a typewritten carbon copy from the archives made available by Lynne Sherer, Calicoon Cattery, archivist at the MCBFA, in January 2012) – cited from the booklet on the MCO standard from FIFe MCO Breed Council 2013.
Head 20 Points
Head shape: Medium in width, except in the older more developed studs where it should be quite broad. Cheek bones high. The nose and face should be medium long with an appearance of squareness to the muzzle. Little or no break in nose.
Ears: Large in size. Tufted, pointed and wide at base.
Eyes: Large, round, wide set. Slightly oblique setting.
Chin: Firm and in line with upper lid and nose.
Undesirable: Short flat face, or long pointed nose. Undershot chin. Short rounded, narrow set ears. Narrow, slanting eyes.
Body 30 Points
Neck: Medium long. In the older more mature cats, especially studs, the neck should be thick and muscular, giving the appearance of power and strength.
Body shape: Muscular, powerful and long. The chest should be full and from medium to large in size. The body should be level, but in stance, the hind legs hold the body slightly lower than the front. There should be a definite squareness where the hind legs join the body at the rump. All the physical aspects of the cat should be in proportion to one another.
Tail: Long and full: wide at base and should taper to the end with no kinks.
Legs & feet: Substantial, muscular, wide set and of medium height. The cat should stand well upon its forelegs giving the impression of an unbroken line from shoulder to forepaw. Paws should be large, round, and well tufted, with five toes in front and four in back.
Undesirable: Short legs and untufted feet. Short cobby body and short neck. A rounded rump. Delicate, dainty bone structure.
Coat 20 Points
Coat: The fur on the front shoulders is short and should become gradually longer along the back towards the tail, ending in a shaggy, heavy coat on the “britches”. The sides of the cat’s coat should gradually get longer until the stomach is reached, where it should be long and full. A full ruff is not expected, however, there should be a slight frontal ruff beginning at the base of the ears. The fur on the tail should be long and full. Feet should be tufted. Coat should be fine, heavy, lustrous, and should fall smoothly. A slight undercoat may be carried. This is the optimum coat and will vary with climate.
Coat Color 10 Points
Coat color: the coat may be any color or any combination of colors. Winners are not to be withheld for buttons, lockets, or spots.
Eye Color 10 Points
Eye color: the eye color may be the same as that required for coat color in other longhairs, or green.Clarity of color is desirable.
Condition 10 Points
Condition: Solid, firm, muscular. Should be presented in a well-groomed manner.
Article about Maine Coon show history from CFA
The Maine Coon Standards and Their History by Rianna Vande Vusse and Henning Müller-Rech
“The Maine Coon standard in FIFe in History and Present.” MCO Breed Council 2013