The Most Popular Cat Breeds in the UK

Hi everyone,

Today we’d like to look at the popularity of certain breeds in the UK and the characteristics of those breeds. Of course, ALL cats are lovable but it’s always interesting to know a little bit more about the traits and characteristics of certain breeds. And often you can find your desired breed available for re-homing due to unforeseen circumstances of the original owner.

In order to identify the most popular cat breeds in the UK we sourced ad data from Pets4Homes which provides good statistical records on which breeds have been on their site the most in the last five years either via for sale/rehoming or looking for adverts.

Position Total Ads Placed By Breed in 2015       Total Ads Placed By Breed in 2016       Total Ads Placed By Breed in 2017       Total Ads Placed By Breed in 2018       Total Ads Placed By Breed in 2019 so far  
1 British Shorthair 6409     British Shorthair 6461     British Shorthair 7578     British Shorthair 8817     British Shorthair 571
2 Bengal 3982     Bengal 4457     Ragdoll 4880     Ragdoll 6005     Ragdoll 420
3 Ragdoll 3776     Ragdoll 4048     Bengal 4408     Bengal 5143     Bengal 359
4 Persian 2561     Persian 2575     Persian 2736     Persian 2824     Persian 168
5 Maine Coon 1776     Maine Coon 1573     Maine Coon 1698     Maine Coon 1992     Maine Coon 167

As you can see the data has been pretty consistent over the past five years with just minor moves on the ranking of place 2 and 3.

Place 1: The British Shorthair! 

What makes these little ones so special? Is it the round face? Well, we think that’s just part of it… most importantly one of the key characteristics is that the British Shorthair is an even-tempered cat that usually gets on well with others including pets.

The British Shorthair was first registered as a breed in 1870 and Brynbuboo Little Monarch was the first one to received a title of Grand Champion by the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). Most of today’s BSH can trace their ancestry back to this early Grand Champion!

Unsure if this is the right breed for you and your family? Check out the complete guide on British Shorthair cats.

Place 2: The Bengal! 

This is actually a fairly new breed in the UK. Bengals were originally bred in the United States and only managed to be accepted by the GCCF back in 1997!

Bengals are what is called a hybrid cat and originally Asian Leopard cats were crossed with domestic tabbies in order to create the first generation of Bengals. Over time other breeds such as Burmese, Abyssinians and Egyptian Maus were bred into the mix.

While these may look like wild cats they bond strongly with humans and make a great family pet as they tend to get on well with the whole family. The only thing worth pointing out is that as they stay playful right into their oldies they certainly will require more interactions than your average moggie!

If you are unsure we’d recommend checking out the complete guide on Bengals.

Place 3: The Ragdoll! 

The Ragdoll is another fairly new breed that was only recognised by the GCCF in 1990. Ragdolls are often also referred to as floppycats due to their sweet-natured temperament and that it feels like you can do “anything with them”.

But did you know that Ragdolls were once trademarked and people were only allowed to breed them if they paid money to the founding breeder? It took a number of court cases before this franchise was finally broken in 2005.

As for the UK, the first Ragdoll cats were imported to the UK in 1987 and formed the basis of what we here in the UK know as our own typical Ragdoll.

Not sure if this is the right breed for you? Check out the complete Ragdoll guide.

Place 4: The Persian

Persians come in all sizes and shapes with longer and shorter hair, flatter face and more prolonged faces. The breed itself is one of the oldest breeds of cats although the exact origin is a bit of a mystery due to the fact that proper breed records weren’t around back in the days.

One thing that is well documented and known tho is that the Persian cat was one of the breeds that was shown at the UK’s first ever cat show in 1871 in Crystal Palace. This was also where cat enthusiasts drew up the standards of the Persian breed.

Unlike some other breeds, Persian cats tend to be quiet and non vocal with quiet and sweet little voices when they do meow. Their eyes, on the other hand, appear to be far more expressive than those of many other breeds and cat guardians can observe their feelings by watching these expressive marbles.

One thing to note is that many of the long-haired Persians will require a regular grooming routine in order to keep their fur clean and free from knots. Many people think it will be alright and before you know it their fur gets knotted and requires a specialist groomer.

Not sure if this is the right breed? Check out the full breed Persian breed guide.

Place 5: Maine Coon

Now that the Maine Coon made it into the top is no surprise to us! Who wouldn’t want to have a miniature lion as their soul companion? We often see some beautiful Maine Coons that remind us of the great lion Aslan from Narnia.

But where did the Maine Coon come from? We don’t know their full breed background as they too are an incredible old breed but it’s assumed that their ancestors were long-haired cats that came by boat to North America where they mated with local short hair cats to create semi-long hairs with a massive body.

Key characteristics for the Maine Coon are larger than average bodies and a thick coat, and they certainly needed the thick coat back in Maine with its horrible winters! They often have fairly big faces that can remind more of a dogs snout than a cat but their cutest feature have to be the little ear tufts.

They make great family pets as they are very gentle while at the same time being great hunters to keep vermin such as mice and rats out of the house! But be aware they like to nap in even more odd locations than your average moggie!!! We once visited a cat cafe that had a resident Maine Coon that simply loved to nap on the till to prevent visitors from paying.

Not sure if this is the right breed for you? Check out the complete Maine Coon guide.

Now whether you decide to purchase or adopt a cat we’d highly recommend that you do your research right first! No one can say how exactly the temperament of a kitten will turn out but most breeds will come with certain key characteristics and tendencies through their genetic background.

And bear in mind that a kitten will need a lot more attention than an older cat! Think about a human toddler… you wouldn’t leave them alone at home either.

If you do go for a kitten you MUST ensure that the kitten is at least 8 weeks of age! Most responsible breeders would keep them even longer than that but the 8 weeks is the absolute bare minimum. Read further information on the minimum age kittens should be before leaving their mothers

Are you getting a cat from a private person or via a charity? If you are getting a cat from a private person ensure that they are genuine. If they claim to be a breeder ask them which association they are registered with! In the UK a breeder would normally be registered with GCCF, TICA or FIFe for the most common breeder associations or CFA or WCF for the less common ones. Either way, a breeder should be providing you with full pedigree certificates for your kitten and you should also be able to confirm with the above associations that they are registered with them.

Don’t just agree to take the cat! Visit the cat(s) or kitten(s) at the breeders/owners place to see what their living condition is like and whether there might be any risk of them being ill. If you are getting kittens you should also try and see the kittens with their mother, especially if they are younger and you are planning to reserve them for when they are ready to go to new homes.

Ultimately you should be getting all vaccination records and flea treatments of your new family member. For kittens, is especially important as they have to have certain vaccinations early on in order to protect them from future illnesses that could be life-threatening.

We hope you found this as interesting to read as it was for us to put it together!

And let us know which breeds of cats you have even if it’s a moggie with a certain breed look to it!



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12 thoughts on “The Most Popular Cat Breeds in the UK

    • Marc-André says:

      Awe she does look like she could have ragdoll or a similar breed in her. And if you’d like to contribute a little story let us know! 🙂

    • Marc-André says:

      Yes Oliver and Nubia were the first and the best! But it was a lot of fun to research all of these breeds. 🙂

  1. Léa says:

    My favorite is the one who is most cuddly. However, I do adore, black cats, Siamese, Gingers… You get the picture and they must be rescue cats, they rescue me of life without them. Each feline has much that is precious to give.

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