The history of the breed is well known. Still, it has tendencies to acquire various myths and leisure fictions. One of the world-known myths attempts to explain the source of the prefix -coon in the name of the breed. Some foreign breeders believe that Maine Coons were bred by CFA breeders, but it must be admitted that this is an exclusively native American breed. Maine Coons are magnificent, strong built animals with ears of lynx and a beautiful long bushy tail.
The Maine Coon has remained the same as it was created by nature. Man can only admire this wonder of a marvelous balance of sizes and forms. This breed is regarded as a native of the State of Main, North America. In severe winter conditions Maine Coons acquired its thick water-resistant coat and a long beautiful bushy tail that keeps him warm in a harsh climate. Downy strong paws tufted between fingers are natural ‘snowshoes’. Big eyes and ears with long brushes on the tips represent an attribute of a hunter.
Nevertheless, there is a plenty of legends about the origin of the breed. The most widespread belief is that Maine Coons originated from wild raccoons: this myth is bolstered by the fur, coloring and the predatory expression of a muzzle.
Another popular theory is that the Maine sprang from the six pet cats which lived in apartments of Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France. During the French Revolution the Queen decided to take her six cats and escape to America.
The third legend reveals the story of a courageous captain Coon, who had a female cat and a male cat aboard his ship. When the ship threw an anchor, the captain let his favorites ashore. Thus, charming kittens appeared at every landing stage of Coon's ship. Some people ascribe a «sea gait» to the Maine Coon.
Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between pre-existing shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs, apparently brought to America by the Vikings. In cat literature the breed was first mentioned in 1861. Maine Coons took part in early cat shows in the Northeast of the US, competing well with the then-popular Mohairs.
Unfortunately, with arrival of Persians in 1900, Maine Coons yielded the palm and remained buried in oblivion for years after.
In 50th the Maine Coon regained its former widespread popularity. In 1963 the Central Maine Coon Club was established in the US.
In 1968, six breeders formed the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association (MCBFA), which by 1980 already encountered 1000 fanciers and 200 catteries. In 1976, more than a hundred years after their first appearance at cat shows, Maine Coons were officially acknowledged the right to participate in exhibitions.
Maine Coons have long bushy tails that protect them against colds, tufts of fur in their ears, and downy, strong and wide paws. Their large eyes and ears increase sight and hearing. Maine Coons are the largest cats: males commonly reach 20 to 30 pounds, with females normally weighing about 18 to 25 pounds. Add to that three or four inches of winter coat and you'll look at the most full-bodied and powerful cat in the world!
Maine Coons develop slowly, and don't achieve their full size until they are three to five years old. In spite of their "beastly" look, their dispositions remain kittenish throughout their lives.
Maine-coons' voice stands out by its melody and tenderness, you will never hear a shrill "yow" from them or a fearsome "mau", it is more like a soft "clang". If you like large, quiet animals, irradiating health and kindness this breed is for you!
THE BREED STANDARD
By CFA, WCF Standards.
Head (form, ears, eyes, neck)
Type (proportions, body shape, limbs, tail)
Coat and color - Coat - Color
(25) 10 15
GENERAL CHARACTERISTIC: Initially Maine Coons were considered commercial animals. They are big, well-built and well-balanced, strong and flexible cats, able to endure a severe climate. A special attribute of the breed is the adjoining long dense coat. Due to their easy going character Maine Coons easily adapt to any conditions.
HEAD: The head is of average size and smoothed contours. The contours of the head and the muzzle form a trapeze set on its narrow side and marked by neither a pinch nor prominence. The skull is flat with a gentle forehead-to-nose junction. The nose is long, wide, possibly arching a little, but nothing of a noticeable pug. The cheekbones are high, though only adult cats have well-marked cheeks. The muzzle is long, wide and snub, with strong jaws. The chin is firm, having a conjunction to the tip of the nose.
NECK: The neck is medium-long, strong and muscled.
EARS: The ears are large, well tufted inside, possibly with brush- or lock-like tufting on the top, wide at the base, pointed, set on a sufficient space apart and well up on the head. The external line of ears smoothly descends to the sidelines of the head and cheeks.
EYES: The big and expressive eyes are located far apart from one another. The eyes are set at a slightly oblique angle as per direction of the external basis of the ears.
EYE COLOR: The eyes can be of all shades of green, golden or copper colors. White animals can also have blue eyes or eyes of a different color.
TYPE: The Maine Coons are strong and athletic.
BODY SHAPE: They are muscled, with a wide breast of average to big sizes (in general, female-cats are smaller than male-cats). The body should be long, with a strong back and wide brawny croup, and in proportions that make it look rectangular. Thus, no part of the cat should ever look weak. It’s necessary to remember that Maine Coons assume their true form late and achieve their full development by the age of 3.
PAWS AND FEET: The paws are bony, strong, spraddle, medium-long, well proportioned against the torso. The feet are big and round with tufts between fingers.
TAIL: It is long and thick at the basis, pointed, with long streaming fur. The tail is always bushy and doesn’t suffer a seasonal moult.
COAT: The coat is heavy, plentiful, with magnificent underfur, silky texture, skintight on the back and croup, glossy and wet resistant. It is longer on the ruff, stomach and britches and shorter on the back and neck. A jabot is desirable at the front.
COLORS: Any color, except for acromelanic; "wild" colors are preferable (all shades of agouti and tabby). Most common colors of the coat are white, black, blue, red, and ivory;
Color classes: sole-colored, tabby (marble - classic, tiger-mackerel), silvery, chinchilla and cameo (shall, shaded), smokes (smoke), and also shades of white (van, bi-color, tortue) in all classes.
DRAWBACKS: Short hair or hair of the same length on all sides of the body.
DISQUALIFICATION: Light physique, weak oblique chin, squint, knob or hook on the tail, lack of teeth, residual white maculation on colors that shouldn’t have white marks (e.g., a white medallion or any fine white marks).