Let's talk Kurilian Bobtail

Intelligent and sociable, the Kurilian Bobtail is a rather rare breed outside of their native Japan. They are a cat with an incredibly well-balanced nature who bonds very strongly with their family and loves to cuddle. The Kurilian Bobtail is almost dog-like in their behaviour and entertains themselves very easily. One way they do so: In and around water. With that water-resistant coat, the Kurilian Bobtail will readily take to the pool or pond to swim and catch fish. And their tail! It’s a bob of fluff which just says adorable, all around.

Official name: Kurilian Bobtail

Other names: Kuril Islands Bobtail, Kurilean Bobtail, Kuril Bobtail, Curlisk Bobtail

Origins: Japan

Shedding level:


Warm weather? Low
Energy level (high, low, medium) *: Medium Family pet? * High
Compatibility with other pets:
Very high

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

25 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
5 - 7 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
25 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
3.5 - 5 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby cat:  Birth to 1 month
 Growing kitten:  2 to 12 months
 Adult:  13 months to 7 years
 Mature:  7 to 12 years
 Senior:  From 12 years


Origins of the breed

For many enthusiasts, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular all-round dogs worldwide. It’s thought that Labrador Retrievers originated from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where fishermen used dogs of this appearance to retrieve fish. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

The Labrador Retriever Club was founded in 1916 and the first standard followed soon after, predominantly tailored to working Labrador Retrievers who found early fame, having been originally introduced to the U.K. in the late 1800’s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.


2 facts about Kurilian Bobtail

1. A kitten at heart

When it comes to growth, the Kurilian Bobtail is fairly slow and steady. They reach adulthood at 13 months but not full maturity until the age of five years—all the more time to develop their steady and strong bone structure and sensibility. They are indeed bestowed with a robust body and a characteristically long lifespan.

2. I choose you

Animals more often than not bond to one person in the household and the Kurilian Bobtail is no different. They tend to choose one human over another and have no trouble making it known that you’re not the chosen one. Make room on the couch, please, the Kurilian Bobtail is coming in.


History of the breed

The history of the Kurilian Bobtail is as fascinating as the breed themselves. They hail from the Kuril Islands (thus the name), a volcanic archipelago which stretches from Hokkaido, Japan to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The breed, then, has paws in both places but their origin is attributed to Japan.

They are a relatively new breed in terms of international prominence but have been known on the Kuril Islands for over 200 years. Kurilian Bobtails are not much seen on the North American continent although quite common in Russia, Japan, and Europe.

Recognised and given official status by the World Cat Federation in 1994, the Kurilian Bobtail breed has not been granted any official status by the Cat Fancier’s Association, the main governing body in North America.


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Kurilian Bobtail

1. Ears

Large, alert ears, slightly rounded, tufts at tips.

2. Body

Compact, short-limbed body, very muscular, hallmark bobbed tail.

3. Coat

Profuse, water-resistant coat, wide variety of markings.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Kurilian Bobtail


Caring for your Kurilian Bobtail

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming the Kurilian Bobtail is an exercise in enjoyment. Their copious fur comes in an array of colours and markings and they certainly will take in every moment of brushing time with sheer delight. Veterinary visits on a regular basis are best to keep your Kurilian Bobtail healthy. Trim their nails to keep them infection-free, but buy your cat a scratching post to promote the kind of scratching you want i.e., that doesn’t involve furniture. Periodontal disease in cats is a concern and brushing their teeth is a necessary part of keeping them fit, too.
The breed is an active one so will benefit from having lots of toys and a climbing tree or similar set-up in order for the Kurilian Bobtail to get the exercise they need. Although this is a cat who likes to stretch their limbs, be careful with their outside time to keep any potential wild predators at bay. When it comes to training your Kurilian Bobtail to be their best, they definitely like to oblige. This is a very friendly cat breed who is always willing to please, especially if it seems like the training is a game. Make sure to give instruction in a firm and concise manner to this very smart breed.


All about Kurilian Bobtails

The longest the Kurilian Bobtail cat’s tail will grow is typically five inches (13cm), and as little as a half inch (1.25cm). Their tail does have anywhere from two to ten vertebrae, to support it, but they will never have a full-length tail like their feline peers.

The Kurilian Bobtail is definitely more common in Asia and in Europe than in North America. As of 2019 statistics, there were only approximately 100 registrations for the breed in North America and only a handful of breeders on the continent, but in Russia, Asia, and Europe they are readily found. You may have to travel abroad to get your fill of this winsome breed.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book