If you are planning to adopt a Maine Coon you may have noticed the Maine Coon cat breed has two distinct facial features, each with its own unique beauty.
Discover how to tell the difference between the European Maine Coon Vs American Maine Coon using these handy tips.
Relative to American Maine Coons, European Maine Coons are bred more often to the extreme to look a little wilder or more natural, with lion-like, chiseled muzzles, larger ears, and pronounced lynx-tipped ears. Breeders affiliated with the CFA tend to breed “refined” Maine Coons, while the breeders affiliated with TICA breed wild-looking Maine Coons.
Maine Coons are quickly recognizable for their large size, broad chest, thick fur, and long tails. But how do you tell the difference between a European and American Maine Coon?
Keep reading to learn how some breeders focus on certain elements of the cat’s anatomy, including overall size, ears, and muzzle, to make elements of the Maine Coon bolder.
European Maine Coon Vs. American Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a long-haired domestic cat breed native to North America, known for its:
- Large Size
- Broad Chests
- Long Bushy Tails
- Wide Paws
- High Cheekbones
- Lynx-Like Tips
- Muscular Bodies
- Long Coats
- Square Muzzles
If this is what we know the Maine Coon cat breed to be though, you might be wondering how do the European counterpart’s physical attributes differ from the American counterparts?
Simply put, the European Maine Coon and American Maine Coon are the same cat breed.
Despite their distinct differences, there are neither two separate Maine Coon types nor multiple types of Maine Coon cats in existence.
Essentially, American Maine Coons are Maine Coon cats bred in the continental United States, whilst European Maine Coons are Maine Coon cats bred in Europe, mainly in the UK and Russia.
However, it is worth noting that if you live in the United States but have a personal preference for the European Maine Coon, some US Maine Coon Breeders also breed European Maine Coons!
Despite having some noticeable differences, both the European and American Maine Coons possess all the standard Maine Coon attributes.
Similar Maine Coon Physical Attributes
Here are some prominent Maine Coon attributes that both the European Maine Coon and American Maine Coon share:
1. They Are Large
Relative to “normal” cats, the European and American Maine Coon are an impressive size.
The Maine Coon cat breed is listed within the largest domesticated cat breeds list, taking pride of place in position one.
Although they have long bodies, all other parts of their body are in proportion to create a well-balanced rectangular appearance with no parts that look exaggerated.
2. Long, Shaggy Coat
Maine Coons, whether bred in America or Europe, are well known for their heavy, silky, and shaggy coats.
The coat is usually longer on the stomach and britches and shorter on the shoulders.
They also have a frontal ruff which is often referred to as a lion’s mane.
3. Wedge-Shaped Heads
Comparing the European Maine Coon vs. American Maine Coon heads, both have medium-wide heads that are slightly longer than width.
In addition, an interior view of their head should exhibit a slight concavity.
However, some parts like the Maine Coons square muzzle and Linx-tip ears are more distinct in European Maine Coons.
4. Legs And Large Paws
Another standard attribute of Maine Coons possessed by both the European and American Maine Coons is substantial, medium-long legs that are in proportion to the body.
The forelegs are straight, while the rear legs are straight when viewed from behind.
In addition, they all have large, round, and well-tufted paws.
5. Long, Bushy Tails
TICA, CFA, and FIFE state in their standards for breeding Maine Coons, that Maine Coons should have long, bushy tails, wide at the base, and tapering.
6. Large Eyes
Both European Maine Coons and American Maine Coons have large, expressive eyes with an open oval shape. The eyes also tend to have the same colors.
Learn more about the Maine Coon cat eye colors that this majestic cat breed can be found with.
How Are European Maine Coons Physically Different?
Relative to American Maine Coons, European Maine Coons are easily distinguishable because they have the following attributes:
- A stronger, more square muzzle and chin.
- Signature lynx-like ears: Taller ears with prominent ear tufts.
- They tend to have higher cheekbones.
- European Maine Coons are bred to have a more feral or wild appearance, while their American cousins have a softer, more refined look.
- It is not uncommon for the European Maine Coons to have piercing, almond-shaped eyes, while most American Maine Coons have slightly oblique-shaped eyes.
The cat association bodies that Maine Coon cat breeders are affiliated with tend to play a pivotal role in the difference between American Vs European Maine Coon cat physical appearances.
This is because generally speaking, breeders affiliated with CFA tend to breed Maine Coons with a more refined look.
By comparison, breeders affiliated with TICA and FIFE, breed Maine Coons with a more feral or wild physical appearance.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is a breed standard that governs many American breeders, while The International Cat Association (TICA) is a breed standard that guides most breeders in Europe.
The TICA breed standard applies internationally, hence why some American breeders can breed European Maine Coons without any significant hassle.
European Maine Coon Vs. American Maine Coon Size
Despite the fact that the European Maine Coons and American Maine Coons are the same breed, the former tends to be larger physically.
The size of European Maine Coons is not significantly different from that of American Maine Coons though.
Therefore, both fall into the following breed standard dimensions for weight, height, and length:
Maine Coons typically weigh between 8 and 25 lbs.
Male Maine Coons tend to be larger, weighing between 15 – 25 lbs, while female Maine Coons averagely weigh between 8 – 12 lbs.
Maine Coons range from 19 – 40 inches long.
Male Maine Coons can grow between 10 – 14 inches tall.
Females tend to be smaller, ranging from 8 to 14 inches.
European Vs American Maine Coon Build And Shape
Both the European and American Maine Coons have well-balanced rectangular-shaped, muscled, and broad-shaped bodies.
In addition, all body parts of pedigree Maine Coons are in proportion, giving these beloved cats a pleasant, well-balanced appearance.
Purebred Maine Coons have wedge-shaped heads with a visibly square muzzle.
However, it is worth noting that European Maine Coons tend to have stronger muzzles and chins.
Typically, Maine Coons have a medium-long nose with a gentle, concave curve and no break or bump.
The muzzle should be proportionate to the head and in line with the nose and upper lip.
If you are a first-time owner, it is important to note that the European Maine Coons have larger and taller ears with bigger lynx-like tufts than American Maine Coons.
The European Maine Coons’ tails are extra long and bushy, just like those of the American cousins.
Purebred Maine Coons have substantial legs of medium length. Compared with “normal” cats, Maine Coons also have large, rounded paws with tufted fur that needs regular trimming.
European Vs American Maine Coon Growth Rate
In terms of growth rate, both European and American Maine Coon cats take considerably longer to grow to full-size, than a regular cat breed.
Purebred Maine Coons do not reach maturity until they are 3 to 4 years old.
American Maine Coon Fur Vs European Maine Coon Fur
Maine Coons are well known for their long, furry, and shaggy coats that keep them warm, even in frigid climates.
Their coat is uneven and two-layered, which helps them survive harsh cold winters.
Both Maine Coon looks have semi-water-resistant furry coats that enable them to play or swim in the water.
Usually, the Maine Coon’s fur grows shorter on the shoulder and longer on the stomach and britches.
Both have extremely long fur around their neck, which gives them the appearance of a mane.
Are American Maine Coons A Different Color?
Maine Coons, whether European or American, come in greatly varied colors and patterns.
Here is a list of the 75+ Maine Coon colors and patterns.
Maine Coon cats come in the following 5 color groups:
These beloved family pets are bred in the following Maine Coon pattern categories:
European Maine Coon Vs. American Maine Coon Personality
Both the European and American Maine Coons share the same personality and are known for being:
- Incredibly Intelligent
The European Maine Coon temperament and personality do not wildly differ from that of American Maine Coons.
Below are the key personality traits of a Maine Coon cat:
Maine Coons have a sweet and gentle temperament and barely use their claws to attack cat lovers.
They have been nicknamed “gentle giants” to reflect their personalities.
Maine Coons are highly sociable creatures and never shy away from humans.
They bond closely with their owners and love to be around them.
Male Maine Coon cats are very outgoing and sociable and are confident around strangers.
3. Get On With Other Pets
Maine Coons integrate well with dogs and other pets.
They are more likely to get on with other felines provided they have enough space to retreat to, when they want some peace and quiet.
Here are 15 Cat Breeds That Get On With Dogs.
4. Loyalty / Companionship
Maine Coons are extremely loyal felines. Once they bond with the owners, they are not likely to leave for another family.
In exchange for the love they get from their owners, they return loyalty. Learn more about this adorable trait, in this article.
The Maine Coon is an energetic cat breed that loves to play!
These majestic cats are very interested and curious in nature, so they will find multiple ways to amuse themselves whilst their owners are not around to entertain them.
My favorite Maine Coon cat toys are these.
6. Hunting Skills
Although they are not usually territorial, Maine Coons are well known for their impressive hunting skills. Particularly their reputation for being excellent mousers.
They are excellent climbers, and when taken outdoors, they will love climbing trees even when chasing prey.
Typically, Maine Coons are not territorial. However, like most other pets, they want a space they can call their own.
Maine Coons have a winning personality that makes them great family pets.
They are safe around kids and are not distressed by a loud, busy family life unless they were not properly socialized as a kitten.
The European Maine Coon and American Maine Coon are recognized as being incredibly intelligent.
Much like dogs, Maine Coons are far more intelligent than ‘normal cats’ and can be trained to do things, including:
In terms of vocality, the European Maine Coon vs. American Maine Coon vocality is more or less the same.
Typically, these cats are very vocal and love to talk to their human companions.
They are well known for their chirps and trills, which are sounds they make when they are feeling content, happy, or they want something!
Since Maine Coons normally do not meow, a meow from your Maine Coon can often mean they are craving your attention.
Are European Maine Coons Healthier Than American Maine Coons?
A Maine Coon remains a Maine Coon, whether bred in the continental United States, Europe, or Russia.
As such, European Maine Coons and American Maine Coons are prone to the same health problems.
Here are the various hereditary health problems a Maine Coon is at risk of suffering from:
1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM
This is the most common form of heart disease in felines and is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle, which can potentially lead to breathlessness and lethargy.
Learn more about Maine Coon Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, in this article.
2. Hip Dysplasia
Maine Coons can potentially have this developmental defect of the hip socket.
If the condition is extreme, it can cause severe lameness.
Learn more about Maine Coon Hip Dysplasia, in this article.
3. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
This is another hereditary health issue that can be a serious concern in Maine Coons.
It is characterized by the death of spinal cord neurons that activate skeletal muscles of the trunk and limbs.
Although it is painless, spinal muscular atrophy leads to muscle weakness and degeneration.
Learn more about Maine Coon Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), in this article.
While Maine Coons are generally considered to be a hardy cat breed, they are prone to various hereditary health issues as seen above.
Most of these issues are preventable through vaccination and careful breeding.
For example, both European breeders and American breeders should follow a breeding program that tests their breeding cats for these genetic health conditions, prior to breeding them.
Breeders that test their breeding cats for these conditions, produce healthy Maine Coon kittens.
Buying a purebred Maine Coon from a reputable breeder who provides you with pedigree paperwork is one of the best ways to skip buying a cat that has one of the genetic faults.
To read our in-depth review of Top 7 Maine Coon Health Problems, take a look at this article.
Exercise Requirements: European Vs American Maine Coons
The Maine Coon cat breed is considered to be highly energetic, and playful.
Considering that they are also prone to getting obese, it is important to ensure that your cat gets plenty of physical stimulation to help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Both the European and American Maine Coon cat typically needs about 30 minutes of exercise each day to stay fit and healthy.
They are excellent climbers and both will need their Maine Coon owner to buy them an extra large cat tree, like these.
If you do not allow your Maine Coon to roam freely outside, consider teaching your Maine Coon cat to walk on a leash to ensure they get adequate exercise and mental stimulation.
Ensure you purchase plenty of cat toys that are designed to keep a Maine Coon cat entertained, like these.
European Maine Coon Vs American Maine Coon Cost
Maine Coons are not the cheapest felines you can buy, which is why they appear on the list:
On average, a purebred Maine Coon will cost roughly $1,000, though generally speaking Maine Coon cats and kittens can be bought for between $600 – $2,500.
One key difference between European and American Maine Coon cats is that European Maine Coons may get more attention from their breeders to ensure kittens meet the stipulations of the breed standard.
It should therefore be no surprise that the European Maine Coon price tends to be higher than that of American Maine Coons.
If you are importing a Maine Coon into the United States, from Europe, expect to pay more for these Maine Coon cats as importing costs are included within the price.
Learn How To Import A Maine Coon, in this cat guide.
All in all, whether you are buying a European Maine Coon or an American Maine Coon, the price will vary depending on various factors, including:
- Health Record
- Vaccination Levels
- Age Of Maine Coon
- Purebred / Mixed Breed
For more information on the cost of a Maine Coon kitten, and the factors that impact the purchase price, read my article How Much Do Maine Coon Kittens Cost?
European Vs American Maine Coon Cat Lifespan
Maine Coons are considered a hearty and healthy breed. These cats have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
If you are wondering whether male or female Maine Coons live longer, take a look at the Average Lifespan Of A Male Maine Coon Cat.
Origins Of American And European Maine Coons
Maine Coons are considered native to Maine, US because they have been in America since colonial days, and perhaps longer.
Where their progenitors came from remains steeped in mystery. Consequently, there are many legends about the origin of this breed, with some being more permissible than others.
One folklore myth alleges that Maine Coons are a raccoon/domestic cat hybrid!
This is definitely not the case though, and scientists have confirmed that while Raccoons and Maine Coons have some physical similarities, it’s genetically impossible for such a union to exist.
Learn more about this fascinating myth, here.
Another legend claims that Maine Coons are descendants of Bobcats, which is also disregarded because it is genetically impossible. This is how the two species compare.
Another popular belief is that Maine Coons descended from Viking ship cats.
According to the legend, a sea captain named Charles Coon, brought his long-haired cat on his excursions across the seas.
Coon’s long-haired cat bred with a local feral cat. When the kittens started showing up in litter, they were named Coon’s cats because they resembled the captain’s cat.
Seafarers who used cats to keep control of the mice populations on sailing ships probably brought some long-haired cats with them to America’s northeastern coast.
No matter the breed’s origin, Maine Coons were popular entrants in cat shows and exhibits in the late 1800s to early 1900s, when more exotic breeds started appearing in the country.
Although the breed was almost declared extinct in the 1950s, it has now regained its former glory, and today Maine Coons are the second most popular cat (source 1).
European Maine Coon Breeder Near Me
Buying a Maine Coon is a huge commitment, so make sure you think carefully before buying one of these big cats.
Considering that European Maine Coons tend to be pricier, you will want to make sure that you are only buying from a reputable breeder.
For a complete list of registered Maine Coon cat breeders in the United States, click here.
When comparing European Maine Coon vs American Maine Coon cats, it can be hard to notice their differences until you start observing the finer details of this magnificent cat breed.
There are not two types of Maine Coon: European and American, just one. They are the same breed, despite having different looks.
The coat of the Maine Coon is the same, for the American breed European Maine Coons.
Are Maine Coons Affectionate?
Maine Coons are known for being an affectionate cat that often loves to cuddle. They bond with their humans and appreciate the love they get.
Why Not To Get A Maine Coon
Maine Coon felines are expensive to buy, at around $1,000 per cat. They require high levels of entertainment and social interactions with their owners.
Maine Coon Vs Regular Cat Size
Maine Coon vs. normal cat size: Maine Coons are significantly larger than the average normal cat. They are visually larger and weigh up to 25 lbs, whereas normal cats weigh up to 10 lbs.