The American Bobtail

the american bobtailFor starters, the American Bobtail is in no way related to the Japanese Bobtail which has a pom-pom-like tail, while the American’s is stumpy. This “stumpy” tail appears to be caused by the Manx gene.

Origins of the Breed:

The breed got it’s start in the early 1970s by an Iowa farmer named John Sanders and his wife when they found a semi-wild bobtailed male kitten in a motel car park. The Sanders then took the kitten home, which was a brown spotted tabby, and named him Yodie. While at home, Yodie accidentally mated with the Sanders seal point Siamese, Mishi. Several litters resulted from this mating, where a large majority of the kittens had normal tails, but a few had short tails. Some of these kittens got a new home in the barn, where they mated with a cream male barn cat with Siamese-type markings. Some of the kittens that resulted from these matings were not only stumpy tailed but had white markings on their heads, legs and tails. It was at this point that a couple local breeders took an interest and began to experiment with Himalayan and Birman crosses. This experimentation resulted in introducing various coat lengths, so that American Bobtails’ coats can range from that of a semi-longhair to medium-short in length.


The American Bobtail is described as a short-tailed cobby longhair with a stocky body carried low to the ground. Ideally, the tail should be 2-4 in long and may either bend or curve to the side. The head is rounded, with full cheeks and ears set well apart. The eyes should be round, full and alert.

Since the Manx gene is known to be unstable, American Bobtail kittens are often born with normal tails or none at all in the Manx “rumpy” style. Kittens are very playful early on and then grow up to be sociable adults fond of human company. Their semi-longhaired coat will need regular grooming 2-3 times a week.

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