Kurilian Bobtail


History.This is a natural breed, which existed in isolation for a long period (at least 100-150 years) on a chain of islands collectively known as the Kurils, which belong to Russia and Japan. In Russia there are several documents referring to cats with a short tail, which were brought home from the islands by the members of the military or scientists in the middle of the 20th century. The character of these cats made them very popular even without being promoted as a pedigreed cat. Many people brought these cats home from the islands, but historically in Russia there were no cat clubs and therefore no breed standards to guide those who raised them.

In its natural, wild habitat, this cat is known to be both an excellent swimmer and fisherman and an exceptional rat hunter. It is said to be no problem for this cat to catch a 5 kg fish or a hare in the wild. People who live in Kunashir report that bear will run away from this cat! However, this breed is not well known out of its native territories and the western regions of Russia. It is still discovered in the wild on a chain of islands known as the Kurils, which run from the easternmost point of Russia to the tip of Japan's Hokkaido Island. The population is small and it is considered a very rare breed of cat. Part of the reason for its rarity is that there are just 2 or 3 kittens in a litter and it breeds only once per year in the wild.

At the first cat fancy exhibitions of the Kurilian Bobtail (1990) many foreign experts were concerned that these Russian cats with a short tail were just a Japanese Bobtail of a heavier type. Even today, it cannot be said that the Kurilian Bobtail and the Japanese Bobtail have an entirely different genetics. In fact, it is probable that the Kurilian bobtail was the original source of mutation for the short tail in the Japanese. Yet, the difference is that the Japanese Bobtail is a created breed with a similar tail. Russia has not enough Japanese Bobtail for the realization of research into a comparison of the genetic makeup of these breeds. However, the Kurilian are cats of the wild type with a wild origin. Russian Breeders have kept this distinction in the Kurilian, while the Americans have created the elegant Japanese Bobtail.In contrast, the genetics of the Manx is entirely different from the genetics of the Kurilian. The bobtailed gene has absolutely no harmful consequences such as the Manx gene does and it has allowed these cats to exist in their natural environment and interbreed without intervention from man for centuries.

Character: Kurilian Bobtail are strong cats, with a wild appearance, large. They have excellent health and a very well-balanced character. They love to be caressed and are very gentle. In the wild this cat runs in packs, similar to the wolves. It is also highly intelligent. It has a great love for both human company and other species of pets, and it is perfectly happy living in an apartment in the city.


Main forms of the tail

Whisk -form of tail consists of 5-15 vertebrae. The length usually runs up to 5-13 cm or 2/3 of normal tail length. The vertebrae curve at obtuse angle. They may keep partial flexibility in some junctions of the tail. The vertebrae may form one or two strongly pronounced kinks. Such type of “whisk” will look like zigzag. The tail of semi-longhairs is usually bushy and proportionates to the body. But the same tail of shorthairs may look somewhat absurdly.

The standard currently in force allows this form of tails. But a judge must record that the length exceeds 5 cm and the tail does not harmonize with the body

Snag- This form of tail mostly consists of 2-8 vertebrae, strongly deformed as if they stick between them. The vertebrae joint rigidly. The kinks are felt like knobs. The short-cut “snag” usually consists of 2-3 still and rigid vertebrae. The presence of a skin pouch on such a tail may testify that the laying of vertebrae was meant for bigger length. But for some reason, the vertebrae resorbed or simply deformed in the process of embryogeny. The vertebrae of such a tail may coil up, but it is impossible to determine the direction of cockling due to very close fitting. Sometimes, such a “snag” ends with 1-2 vertebrae, thin enough and pointed aside. As is often the case, the vertebrae of so-called “snag with outgrowth” keep partial flexibility.

It is difficult to count the exact number of vertebrae as, very often, only the outgrowth can be felt. So the expert may indicate by mistake on the result sheet that the tail consists of 1 vertebra only. The situation can be clarified when finding the tail base or having roentgenogram. In all cases, the expert must be very experienced.

Spiral. This type of tail is the most beautiful and preferable. This tail consists of 5-10 vertebrae deformed in the manner that they form sharp angles in their junctions. These sharp angles permit the tail to coil up. The “spiral” may look like a halfbagel or fishhook.

The vertebrae junctions can be articulated or semi-rigid. It can also represent the combination of articulated and rigid sections. In this case the cat is able to wag with one or several sections of its tail. Such tails may be long enough if the vertebrae are not so deformed. At the same time, semi-longhairs camouflage the tail length with hair. The shorthairs having spiral tail look very amusingly, if the tail size is in good proportion to the body.

The knitting of the spiral or fishhook-shaped tail base with or their close laying along sacrum is also possible. Then, it is difficult to measure real length of the tail. It is true especially for short spiral tail.

Delayed bobtail- This form of tail commences as normal one. In other words it is straight and free from defects for the space of 5-7 vertebrae, but it ends with a hook consisting of some other deformed vertebrae of different degree of articulation. At bottom of fact, the hook represents a spiral or a zigzag. The alternation of curved and straight sections makes odd combinations. It is especially typical for the first descendants of female cats with normal tail

STANDART /category 3/

General large or medium sized, well-muscled compact powerful body with short, pompom shaped tail


Shape -large, in shape of a trapezium, rounded in contours, wide at the cheekbone level ,slightly rounded in profile
Chin -well-developed wide chin
Nose - a gentle dip from the forehead to the broad, medium long straight nose, without a definite stop
Ears Medium sized, wide at the base, slightly pricked forward and rounded at the tips. Open at base with lynx-like tufts and long hair out of the ears.
Placement - set wide apart and medium high distance between the ears is equal to the width of one ear
Eyes Shape - rounded set wide apart and slightly slanted
Colour - any colour from yellow to green, white cats and colour varieties with white may have blue or odd eyes
Body Compact, muscled, solid bone structure, back shows delicate curve from the shoulders to the rump which is higher
Legs  Medium in length, strong, sturdy hind legs longer than forelegs. Paws rounded


composed of one or more angles or curves or any combination there of may be rigid or flexible, the direction of curves is not important. Visible length of the tail (without coat) from 3 to 8 cm. Size and shape of the tail should harmonize with the overall appearance of the cat
Coat Structure - dense, rather fine in texture, medium long, with slight guard hair, well-developed awn hair and slight undercoat
a fully coated cat is desirable and has a shirtfront, a full frill, and breeches
Colour - all with the exception of colourpoints, chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, lilac and the same combined with white
any amount of white is allowed, i.e. a white blaze, white locket, white chest, white on the belly, white on the paws, etc.
refer to following tables


Slender type ,Japanese Bobtail type ,extreme arch-like back not in harmony with the appearance of the cat
Tail length from 8 to 12 cm or less than 3 cm. Tail with only one vertebra .Delayed bobtail effect


Deformities of the spinal vertebrae
Absence of the tail bone , short straight tail without angles and curves ,tail longer than 12cm.


Total   100 poeng
Head head, ears and eyes 20
Body body and legs 30
Coat structure and colour 15
Tail   30
Condition   5