Difference between Maine Coon and Turkish Angora

The montage on this page comparing, visually, the Maine Coon and the Turkish Angora tells us that there is not a huge difference in appearance. Although, it must be said, that the appearance of the Maine Coon and the Turkish Angora can vary considerably dependent upon the breeder and where the breeder lives. This makes it more complicated to answer the question in the title.

Maine Coon compared to the Turkish Angora
Maine Coon compared to the Turkish Angora. Image: MikeB from images in public domain.

This variation in appearance comes about because the guidelines i.e. the breed standards, allow the breeders some discretion as to how they follow the guidelines. And sometimes they breed the cats to extreme. 

So for the Maine Coon you will see quite normal looking cats which are not that dissimilar from regular moggies (as you see in the photo above) to extreme-bred Russian Maine Coons with huge muzzles and magnificent ears. There is even one breeder from Russia living in China who breeds Maine Coons to look like people and they are astonishing and highly popular as you can imagine.

As for the Turkish Angora there is a dispute about this ancient cat breed. This is one of the breeds with the longest history of them all. It may in fact be the cat breed with absolutely the longest history. But if you ask an expert in Turkey what a Turkish Angora should look like they will point to a white cat with odd-eye colour that looks a bit like the traditional Persian otherwise referred to as the doll-face Persian.

But the breeders in America have created a cat which is quite different to the traditional Persian. It is more slender, less cobby and quite svelte. That said, the Maine Coon is also quite slender under that shaggy fur. And there I can point to one distinct difference between these two breeds: the Maine Coon has a shaggy coat while the Turkish Angora has a rather silky smooth looking coat but they are both semi-longhaired.

Perhaps the biggest difference between these breeds is their history. The trouble is that you can't see their history. All you can see is their current appearance and character. But the history of the Turkish Angora possibly goes back more than a thousand years in, of course, Turkey whereas the Maine Coon only really started as a recognisable breed not long before the first American cat show in the late 1800s. Before then they were semi-longhaired barn cats in the state of Maine doing their duty in keeping down the rodent population. They had been imported from Europe about 300 years earlier.

The favoured colour for the Turkish Angora is white but you will see them in all colours, all divisions of the traditional category. The same applies to the Maine Coon. One aspect of the preference for white Turkish Angoras is that the gene that creates the white fur also often makes the cat deaf and renders one of the eyes blue while the other is sometimes yellow. A blue eye is an eye without colour because the blueness comes from the refraction of light through the cornea. Likewise white fur is fur without color. There is no such issue normally with the Maine Coon unless you adopt a white one.

The Maine Coon has a ruff and the America version of the Angora does not but the Turkish Angora in Turkey does have one! Another complication.

Huge Maine Coon. Pic in public domain.

We have to discuss their temperament. When discussing the temperamental or character of a cat which is purebred it is probably unwise to ball all cats of a certain breed together and state with confidence that they have the same character. This can't be true. Each individual has their own character within the context of the breed. 

That said, the Turkish Angora is an intelligent, elegant and active cat. They are gentle and easy-going and affectionate. Glooria Stephens, a show judge, says that they can be quick-tempered. The Maine Coon has probably a slightly different character in general. They are people orientated but not overdependent. This implies that they hang-out with their owner but don't necessarily want to be held.

I would have to conclude that there is probably not a big difference in terms of character between these breeds as individual characters will muddy the difference.

Both breeds have wonderfully plumed tails so once again there's not much difference there. You will notice in terms of appearance that the ears of the Maine Coon are large and very pronounced with lynx tips. The ears of the Turkish Angora are what I would describe as normal in terms of size.

American bred Turkish Angora
American bred Turkish Angora. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick.

I have a page on the real Turkish Angora which may interest you if you are thinking about adopting a cat of this breed. You can read the page by clicking here. I have a very long page on the Maine Coon which read by clicking here. Of these two breeds, by the way, the Maine Coon is more popular than the Turkish Angora. This may be because the biggest domestic cat marketplace is America and the Maine Coon is an American cat.

They are both beautiful cats and very special. In my mind they're both equal in terms of desirability. That said, a very large Maine Coon with a lion's face is going to be about the most desirable domestic cat you can think of buying. And they are the largest of all domestic cat breeds, larger than the Turkish Angora.

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