Maine Coon Size - this is a huge one!


Enormous Maine Coon with a head bigger than the person holding him. Pic: in public domain.

Maine Coon size is very important to both breeders of this cat and the public. I sometimes think that the public is more obsessed with Maine Coon size than the breeders are. The bigger the Maine Coon the better. There is a fascination about it and I confess that there is nothing much more impressive than a huge Maine Coon. They've been bred like this through selective breeding but please remember that they weren't always like this.

The original Maine Coons were regular farm cats in the state of Maine in 19th-century and before. They were robust, rugged, medium-longhaired moggy cats but impressive nonetheless. Their impressiveness led to breeders deciding to breed them which in turn led to the breed being accepted by the cat associations and then to win cat shows and become perhaps one of the most famous breeds in the world.

The breed standard for the Maine Coon as provided by e.g. Cat Fanciers' Association and it is instructive on the topic of size. There is nothing in the opening paragraph, which is concerned with general appearance, about the breed's size. It does not state that the Maine Coon should be enormous or a lot bigger than the other cat breeds.

It just states that they were originally a working cat and that they are solid and rugged and can endure a harsh climate. The cat should be well balanced in appearance and quality should not be sacrificed for size. As I said the breed standard does not demand that this cat should be big. Therefore it is the breeders who decided to do this because, as mentioned, the public are fascinated with big cats.

The cat in the picture is absolutely enormous. He is a ginger tabby Maine Coon and it is his head which catches my attention. It is bigger than the head of the person holding him. It is very rare to see a domestic cat head this size although it no doubt is larger than it looks because of all the shaggy hair surrounding the cranium! He looks a little bit miserable to me and he might be. We don't know what selective breeding of this type does to a domestic cat.

Sometimes I have my doubts about it. All we see is an enormous Maine Coon but we don't get told about the health issues. For example, this breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia which is a failure of the joint between the hind leg and the hip which can pop out. The bigger the cat the more likely this is to occur. You just wonder whether it is wise to breed domestic cats like this. 

Russian breeders tend to create these large cats and I suspect that the lady in the picture is Russian but I don't know. I am speculating. All the very big Maine Coon cats that I have read about have been selectively bred in Russia. Russia has a long and committed relationship with the domestic cat despite the country being somewhat unsuited because of its harsh climate during winters.


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