Comparison Between Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat

The difference between the well know cat breeds, the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat is always a point of discussion. It pops up from time to time. They look similar and quite possibly have the same heritage; although no one is sure.

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Nowadays, I tend to leave matters regarding differences in cat breed character alone as logic dictates that there can't be big differences. The biggest differences in personality are between individual cats of any cat breed.

But as to appearance, despite the similarities there are subtle differences that are apparent when comparing the breed standards. I helps to know the breeds pretty well beforehand, though. Breed standards are guidelines regarding the desired appearance of the cat breed. They are decided by committee members of the cat association concerned.

Below I list four differences that come to my mind. There are others. This is not intended to be comprehensive but I think the four I have picked are the most obvious:

  1. Muzzle - Looking at the photograph above we can see that the muzzle of the Maine Coon (MC) is more square. The muzzle (the front part of the face that includes the nose, mouth and whiskers) has a squared off appearance. Whereas for the Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) the muzzle is a seamless continuation of the face and more pointed. The MC muzzle should be visibly square.
  2. Body - We know that the MC is the biggest non-wildcat hybrid domestic cat but this large ("substantial" in cat fancy language) is more about length that girth! The MC is a long, rangy domestic cat. "The body should be long" the breed standard implores. The NFC in contrast has a body of "moderate length".
  3. Coat comes next. The big difference here is the uneven shaggy medium long coat of the MC compared to the "long glossy and smooth..." coat of the NFC.
  4. Ears, last but not least. The famous lynx tipped ears of the MC are very visible. By "lynx tipped", I mean the tuft of hair growing from the tip of the ear. This makes the ear look larger and more pointed. The ear should be "well tufted". For the NFC the lynx tipping is "desirable" but not required.
There you have it. I think the picture helps to make the above more readable.


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