Some potential cat owners have a difficult time choosing between a domestic longhair vs Maine Coon.
If you’re looking to bring a new cat into your home, it’s important to find a breed that suits your own needs and living situation.
Maine Coons are large, purebred cats with long, thick fur. Domestic longhairs also have long fur, but they are not purebred, which means their temperament and physical characteristics range more widely than a Maine Coon’s. Maine Coons, on the other hand, have a distinct set of personality traits and coat colors, as well as a unique physical build.
Maine Coons and domestic longhairs are very different from one another, which means one might be more suited to your lifestyle than the other.
In this article, we’re going to be doing an in-depth comparison between these two types of cats.
Read on to find out whether a Maine Coon or a domestic longhair is a better fit for you!
Domestic Longhair Vs Maine Coon
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake a domestic longhair cat for a Maine Coon cat, however, to the trained eye, they are actually incredibly different.
The Maine Coon is a large, wild-looking breed that was domesticated in the 1800s, and has been bred and refined by breed enthusiasts ever since.
Maine Coons have long, thick fur, wide paws, and a powerful, square muzzle.
A lot of people wonder, how large is a Maine Coon cat, and are usually quite surprised by the answer!
Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in the world, and can weigh up to 35 pounds! The Maine Coon’s huge size is one of the easiest ways to tell it apart from the domestic longhair.
While Maine Coons are a true cat breed, domestic longhairs aren’t a specific breed of a cat at all!
Unlike dogs, purebred cats are quite rare, with the majority of the domesticated cat population being simply domestic shorthairs or domestic longhairs.
As a result, the temperament, build, and overall appearance of domestic longhairs can vary greatly (sources 1).
Let us now take a closer look at the origins of these two cats:
1. Maine Coon Cats
The Maine Coon is a popular breed with mysterious origins.
Some individuals believe that the Maine Coon cat descends from the cats of Vikings, but it’s most likely they were the result of breeding from domestic longhairs and other cat breeds that came to America overseas.
Regardless of how they came to be, they were first discovered in the early 1800s in the state of Maine, which is notorious for its long, harsh winters.
The Maine Coons developed long, thick fur that could repel the snow, as well as strong hunting instincts.
Over time, they became popular with farmers and sailors for their natural ability to hunt mice, rats, and other vermin.
From there, they became even more loved for their friendly temperament, and have been a popular cat breed ever since.
For more fascinating tales about the origins of the Maine Coon cat breed, make sure you take a look at my article ‘Where Do Maine Coon Cats Originate?‘.
2. Domestic Longhair
The origins of all domestic cats can be traced back to wildcats called Felis silvestris lybica.
Between 6,000 and 9,000 years ago, these cats were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent, located across the Middle East and parts of Africa.
As early humans developed agriculture and written language, wildcats became interested in our food and, of course, the mice and rats that fed on our grain.
Humans kept domestic longhairs around for their useful hunting abilities, which gradually turned into domestication.
The process of actually selectively breeding cats didn’t occur until much later, so most domesticated cats aren’t a specific breed at all.
Instead, they’re separated into two categories based on coat length; domestic shorthair cats and domestic longhair cats (sources 1).
Most people have heard of the Maine Coon’s enormous size, but are Maine Coons really that big?
While some Maine Coons are only slightly larger than the average cat, many are twice as big!
On average, Maine Coons weigh between 8 and 25 pounds. They measure a length of about 19 to 40 inches and stand at a height between 8 and 16 inches.
Domestic longhairs, on the other hand, usually only weigh between 8 and 15 pounds, while their length averages about 18 inches, and their height is between 8 and 10 inches.
If the size of Maine Coon cats interests you, firstly take a look at the infographic I created below, and then click to learn more about the Maine Coon Size Compared To A Normal Cat Size.
Build and Shape
Being purebred, Maine Coons have a distinctive set of physical characteristics. Domestic longhairs, on the other hand, can vary a lot in build and appearance.
Let us take a closer look at these two cats physical features:
Maine Coons have powerful, square muzzles and chins.
Domestic longhairs can have virtually any shape or size of muzzle and chin, but they are usually proportionate to the face and gently tapered.
Maine Coons have moderately thick necks that are medium-long, while domestic longhairs usually have medium necks of an average thickness.
3. Head Shape
Maine Coons have medium-sized heads and high cheekbones.
The domestic longhair’s head is usually more wedge-shaped than that of a Maine Coon’s.
Maine Coons have medium-length noses.
In profile, there is a smooth curve from the forehead to the tip of the nose that should neither be a distinctive break, nor a straight line.
Maine Coons usually have broader noses than domestic longhairs.
Maine Coons often have tufted or lynx tip ears. They are large, and about one ear’s width apart from one another, with no flared base.
Domestic longhairs typically have smaller ears with no ear tufts.
Alternatively, you might prefer to discover whether these majestic felines are actually part lynx:
Maine Coons have long, fluffy tails that they usually hold up high and proud.
The base of a Maine Coon’s tail is thicker than that of a domestic longhair, and it usually has a few distinctive rings, as well.
Read the complete guide to the Maine Coon cat bushy tail, in my article ‘Why Do Maine Coons Have Long Tails?‘.
7. Legs and Paws
Maine Coons have muscular legs and large, wide paws.
Domestic longhairs have much smaller paws, and their legs usually aren’t as distinctively muscular (source 1).
8. Growth Rate
Due to the Maine Coon’s large size, these cats take much longer than most to reach their full size.
Most Maine Coons take about 3 to 5 years to become fully grown.
Domestic longhairs, however, typically reach their full size in just twelve months.
Maine Coons have a combination of long and medium-length fur.
Most of the Maine Coons fur is medium length, but it is much longer on their belly, as well as their chest and shoulders.
Many Maine Coons also have toe tufts and lynx tip ears.
To protect them from the cold, snowy climate of Maine, Maine Coons have developed incredibly thick fur that is semi-water-repellant.
The coat of domestic longhairs can vary in thickness and length, but it is usually thinner than the coat of a Maine Coon, and not as water-repellant.
Their fur is often longer around their chest and shoulders, but it does not create as distinct of a ruff as it does on the Maine Coons (source 1).
If you own a Maine Coon, then grooming your precious feline will be an important regular event. Make sure you are equipped for the challenge, by having these top 5 Maine Coon cat brushes in your cat care box.
While many cat breeds only have a few possible coat colors and patterns, the Maine Coon can come in dozens of different color and pattern combinations.
Maine Coons can be red, cream, black, blue, or white, and their coat can be patterned in solid, tortoiseshell, calico, tabby, shaded, or bicolor.
For a complete list of the 75 different Maine Coon colorings available, read this guide.
Since domestic longhairs are not a specific breed, and often have a mixed-breed heritage. They can come in any possible color or pattern, although they are unlikely to come in incredibly rare or breed-specific colors and patterns.
Different cat breeds are known for having different temperaments, which can often be a deciding factor when choosing between two breeds.
Here is an in-depth comparison of the personality of a Maine Coon versus the personality of a domestic longhair.
Maine Coons are among the most social cat breeds in the world!
They love following their owners around from room to room and are kind towards strangers.
Here’s why Maine Coons follow their owners everywhere.
Maine Coons are rarely shy or withdrawn; instead, they love being around action!
When it comes to domestic longhairs, however, there’s no way to know what their personality will be like for sure.
Since Domestic Longhairs are not from a specific breed, they can have wildly different temperaments.
However, domestic longhairs that are adopted during kittenhood and are properly socialized from a young age can be expected to be affectionate and social.
Temperament With Other Pets
If you already have other animals in the house, you might be worried about whether or not your new cat will get along. When it comes to Maine Coons, you won’t have to worry at all!
These cats aren’t just friendly to humans; they’re famous for getting along well with other cats, and even dogs!
Domestic longhairs can usually get along well with other pets, provided they are carefully introduced to one another.
This process can take up to a couple of weeks, but in the end, most cats will learn to get along well with other pets.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that both Maine Coons and domestic longhairs are still predators, and they don’t mix as well with birds, mice, and other small pets.
If you’re looking for a faithful cat that will stick with you through thick and thin, then look no further than the Maine Coon!
These cats develop very close bonds with their owners, and can always be counted on for companionship.
Loyalty in domestic longhairs can vary greatly from cat to cat, but early socialization plays a key factor.
You’ll either want to adopt a young kitten so you can teach it to trust and love you or an older cat that has a history of being faithful.
Maine Coons are some of the most playful cat breeds out there.
In fact, they’re known to retain a kitten-like personality throughout their entire lives!
These cats need a lot of playtimes, as well as plenty of durable toys and places to run and climb. These are my favorite Maine Coon cat toys, which have stood the test of time with our own large Maine Coon.
When it comes to cat trees, I learned my lesson quickly as our tiny kitten quickly outgrew the standard-sized cat tree that I initially bought him!
I would therefore recommend owners purchase one of these extra-large cat trees from the beginning.
Domestic longhairs aren’t usually as playful as Maine Coons later in life, but since these cats can have such different temperaments.
It’s not impossible to find a domestic longhair that’s just as playful as a Maine Coon.
On average, though, domestic longhairs need about thirty minutes of playtime a day.
Since Maine Coons developed naturally in the state of Maine, they had to fend for themselves.
As a result, this breed has excellent hunting skills, and they were once quite popular on ships and farms for keeping out rats and vermin.
The Maine Coon cat’s high prey drive means they don’t mix well in households with small pets, and if you plan on having an indoor/outdoor cat, you can expect a few “presents” from your Maine Coon every now and then.
All cats are natural predators, so even though domestic longhairs may not be as famous for their hunting skills as Maine Coons, they’re still experts at hunting down birds, mice, and more.
Maine Coons are typically considered to be laidback, friendly cats, and they’re rarely aggressive or territorial.
Domestic longhairs aren’t usually territorial, either.
Cats with stressful pasts, or cats who haven’t been spayed or neutered, however, are much more likely to be territorial.
If you aren’t too sure when to neuter your Maine Coon kitten, read this guide.
Personality As Kittens
If you are comparing a domestic longhair kitten and a Maine Coon kitten, you might be surprised to discover that they are quite similar to one another!
While Maine Coons are typically more intelligent, most kittens are very playful, curious, and energetic.
If you live in a household with other pets or children, then you’ll want a cat that is well suited to your lifestyle.
The Maine Coon is generally regarded as one of the best cat breeds for families out there.
Whilst the Maine Coon may be large, these cats are incredibly gentle and sociable. They’re especially good with children, and they even get along well with other cats, as well as dogs!
Domestic longhairs, however, don’t have a distinct set of personality traits, so while some domestic longhairs might be well suited to life with a large family, not all of them are.
If you want a domestic longhair for your family, then your best bet is to find an adult at a shelter, so that you can gauge whether its personality and needs fit well with your own household.
Maine Coons are among the smartest cat breeds out there.
Read my article to discover the top 10 reasons why these gentle giants are one of the smartest felines.
The Maine Coon cat is famous for being able to learn tricks, and many even play fetch!
Their intelligence means they need more stimulation than the average cat, but they make up for this with their uncanny cleverness.
As with most other aspects of this kind of cat, the intelligence of a domestic longhair can vary greatly.
Most domestic longhairs will have average intelligence, but they can be incredibly intelligent, or… not so much.
The most intelligent of domestic longhairs can be trained to do tricks, but it’s far less common than with Maine Coons.
Domestic longhairs are about as average as it gets when it comes to vocality.
Some domestic longhairs may not “talk” at all, while others meow up a storm!
The average cat, though, meows when it wants something, such as food or attention.
Maine Coons, however, are unusual. Instead of meowing, these cats tend to “chirp” or “trill.” They can also be quite chatty, and they’re known for having lots of “conversations” with their owners!
If you are not sure what a Maine Coon sounds like, watch this short video of our male Maine Coon chatting to his owner:
Health is another important factor to consider when choosing a cat.
Maine Coons are considered to be sturdy, healthy cats compared to other purebreds, but mixed breeds are inherently healthier than purebreds. This is because purebred cats are bred from a smaller pool of cats, resulting in less genetic diversity, and increasing the chance of hereditary illnesses.
Here are some of the most common health problems found in Maine Coon cats:
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Spinal Muscular Atrophy, also known as SMA, is an inherited disorder that causes the muscles at the base of a cat’s spine to atrophy.
This disorder begins at a young age and results in weakness in the hind limbs and an odd stance.
As the condition worsens, the cat will eventually lose most of its mobility in its hind legs and will be unable to run or jump.
- Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is caused by a malformed femoral joint, which then grinds against the cat’s pelvis.
The constant grinding wears down the bone, eventually resulting in looseness and pain.
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition that causes cysts to form in a cat’s kidneys.
Sometimes, this condition doesn’t result in any noticeable problems, but it can sometimes result in kidney failure and death.
Look out for these signs and symptoms.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic heart condition that gradually thickens the walls of your cat’s heart and ultimately results in death.
Thankfully, Maine Coons can be genetically tested for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so reputable breeders will not breed cats with this condition.
For more details, read this article.
Even though domestic longhairs are healthier than Maine Coons, they are still prone to a variety of health problems.
- Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland malfunctions, resulting in an increased metabolism that causes excessive eating and weight loss.
- Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease: Also known as FLUTD, feline lower urinary tract disease is a disorder that causes pain, bleeding, and inflammation in the bladder.
- Diabetes: Diabetes is a disorder that occurs commonly in obese cats, cats that receive little exercise, and senior cats. Cats with diabetes show signs of increased thirst, as well as more frequent urination.
Just like humans, all cats need exercise to maintain a healthy weight, stay stimulated, and promote good heart health.
The Maine Coon is a robust, athletic breed that loves to climb. They need at least thirty minutes of exercise every day, as well as plenty of durable, interactive toys and places to climb.
Domestic longhairs are typically less athletic than Maine Coons, and some might only need about twenty minutes of exercise a day.
Still, thirty minutes for a Domestic Longhair each day is optimal, as it will also give your cat more time to bond with you.
Maine Coons are famous for their love of climbing, but even most domestic longhairs appreciate places to climb, as well.
An extra-large cat tree or special shelves installed on the wall provide a great opportunity for exercise, and will also give your cat places to go if it wants alone time.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who happens to find a stray Maine Coon wandering around, you’ll have to purchase one from a breeder.
Maine Coons rarely show up in shelters, and when they do, they’re among the first to get adopted!
If you’re looking for longhair Maine Coon kittens for sale, you can expect a reputable breeder to charge between $400 and $2500.
The domestic longhair, however, is much cheaper!
Most longhaired cats at shelters are domestic longhairs, and you’ll only have to pay about $50 to $200, depending on the shelter. Senior cats are usually offered at a discount, while kittens might cost a bit extra, depending on demand.
If you buy a domestic longhair from a breeder, however, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 (source 1).
Maine Coons are sturdy, healthy cats that can usually be expected to live between 12 and 15 years.
Meanwhile, the average lifespan of a domestic longhair varies between 12 and 18 years.
Caring For A Maine Coon Vs Domestic Longhair
Maine Coons and domestic longhairs need to be cared for in much the same way.
Both cats need high-quality diets that contain plenty of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates.
These are my favorite dry cat foods for our Maine Coon cat.
When it comes to grooming, both Maine Coons and domestic longhairs should be brushed at least twice a week, and more frequently during shedding season.
Since Maine Coons often have longer tufts of fur on their paws and other areas, they may need extra fur trimming to maintain hygiene.
Neither Maine Coons nor domestic longhairs require baths unless they’re quite literally covered in dirt, but if your cat enjoys being bathed, it’s an excellent way to keep your cat clean.
Here are a few tips on keeping your Maine Coon cat clean.
Both Maine Coons and domestic longhairs should have their claws trimmed every three to four weeks.
You should also brush their teeth daily, and occasionally clean out their ears with a damp cloth.
Costs Of Owning A Maine Coon Vs Domestic Longhair
Overall, Maine Coons and domestic longhairs need much of the same care and resources.
However, Maine Coons are slightly more expensive to care for, as their extra-large size means owners need to spend more on cat trees, beds, and scratching posts that will fit them.
Maine Coons are also more rambunctious and playful, so they need more durable, interactive toys, as well as larger cat trees and climbing areas to keep them entertained.
Their large size and greater energy mean Maine Coons also need to eat more, so you’ll end up spending more on food.
Domestic Longhair Maine Coon Mix
A cat that has both Maine Coon and domestic longhair ancestry is considered a domestic longhair Maine Coon mix.
You can expect this mixed breed to have long hair, and it may inherit some of the common Maine Coon traits, such as large size, a playful, friendly temperament, and a distinctive “chirp” or “trill” instead of a meow.
When it comes to mixes, however, you never know what you’ll get! Your cat could be mostly like a Maine Coon, or it could have some of the more varied traits of a domestic longhair.
Are All Longhaired Cats Maine Coons?
Maine Coons are famous for their long coats, but a lot of people mistakenly believe that all longhaired cats are Maine Coons, when in fact, this isn’t true at all.
Maine Coons are incredibly rare, and most longhaired cats are either domestic longhairs or some other longhaired cat breed.
Now, not all longhaired cats are Maine Coons, but do all Maine Coon cats have long hair? Yes!
A long hair Maine Coon cat is standard unless it’s a mixed breed that happens to have a short coat.
I was once asked if Maine Coons can have short fur. I thought this was a fascinating question, so researched the subject fully.
If you’re deciding between a domestic longhair vs Maine Coon cat, there are a lot of different traits to consider.
Since Maine Coons are purebred, they have more distinctive physical and temperamental traits.
Domestic longhairs, on the other hand, are more of a mixed bag.
Both kinds of cats can make wonderful family pets, so it’s all about finding the kind of cat that’s best suited to your living situation!
Domestic Long Hair Vs Persian
Both domestic longhairs and Persian cats have long fur, but Persians are purebred cats with a calm, peaceful temperament, while domestic longhairs can have wildly different personalities.
Domestic Medium Hair Cat Vs Long Hair
Domestic medium hairs have somewhat shorter coats than domestic longhairs, but besides that, they are both quite similar in that they can vary greatly in physical appearance and personality.
A Maine Coon mixed with a Manx cat can sometimes be known as a Maine Coonmanx. Maine Coonmanxes can inherit traits from both breeds.