A number of attractive legends surround its origin. A once wide-spread, though biologically impossible, belief is that the breed originated from matings between semi-wild, domestic cats and raccoons. This myth, bolstered by the bushy tail and the most common coloring (a raccoon-like brown tabby) led to the adoption of the name "Coon Cat" which eventually was changed to "Maine Coon Cat."
Another popular theory on the origin of the Maine Coon is that it sprang from the six pet cats which Marie Antoinette is said to have sent to Wiscasset, Maine when she was planning to escape, with the help of New England seaman Captain Clough, from France during the French Revolution. In fact, the house that Capt. Clough was said to have built for her still stands across the Sheepscott river from Wiscassett in Edgecomb, Maine.
Most breeders today believe that the breed originated in matings between preexisting shorthaired domestic cats and overseas longhairs (perhaps Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or longhairs brought to America by the Vikings). Maine Coons were well established more than a century ago as a hardy, handsome breed of domestic cat, well equipped to survive the hostile New England winters. Nature is not soft-hearted. It selects the biggest, the brightest, the best fighters, and the best hunters to breed successive generations. Since planned breedings of Maine Coons are relatively recent and carefully monitored, these cats still have their strong, natural qualities. Maine Coons are healthy, disease-resistant, rugged cats. Interestingly, the breed closest to the Maine Coon is the Norwegian Forest Cat which, although geographically distant, evolved in much the same climate, and lends credence to the theory that some of the cats responsible for developing the Maine Coon were brought over by the Vikings.
Many people consider Maine Coons the perfect domestic pets, with their clown-like personalities, very affectionate natures, amusing habits and tricks, willingness to "help" with any activity, and easily groomed coats. They make excellent companions for large, active families that also enjoy having dogs and other animals around. Their hardiness and ease of kittening make them a satisfying breed for the novice breeder. For owners wishing to show, the Maine Coon has reclaimed its original glory in the show ring. Welcome a Maine Coon into your home, and you will join the thousands who sing the praises of this handsome and lovable cat!
GENERAL: originally a working cat, the Maine Coon is solid, rugged, and can endure a harsh climate. A distinctive characteristic is its smooth, shaggy coat. A well proportioned and balanced appearance with no part of the cat being exaggerated. Quality should never be sacrificed for size. With an essentially amiable disposition, it has adapted to varied environments.
HEAD SHAPE: medium in width and slightly longer in length than width with a squareness to the muzzle. Allowance should be made for broadening in older studs. Cheekbones high.
MUZZLE/CHIN: is visibly square, medium in length and blunt ended when viewed in profile. It may give the appearance of being a rectangle but should not appear to be tapering or pointed. Length and width of the muzzle should be proportionate to the rest of the head and present a pleasant, balanced appearance. The chin should be strong, firm and in line with the upper lip and nose. When viewed in profile the chin depth should be observable and give the impression of a square, 90-degree angle. A chin lacking in depth, i.e. one that tapers from the jaw line to the lip, is not considered strong, firm or desirable.
PROFILE: should be proportionate to the overall length of the head and should exhibit a slight concavity when viewed in profile. The profile should be relatively smooth and free of pronounced bumps and/or humps. A profile that is straight from the brow line to the tip of the nose is not acceptable, nor should the profile show signs of having a "break" or "stop."
EARS: Shape: large, well-tufted, wide at base, tapering to appear pointed. Set: approximately one ear's with apart at the base, not flared.
EYES: large, expressive, wide set. Slightly oblique setting with slant toward outer base of ear.
NECK: medium long.
BODY SHAPE: muscular, broad-chested. Size medium to large. Females generally are smaller than males. The body should be long with all parts in proportion to create a well-balanced rectangular appearance with no part of the anatomy being so exaggerated as to foster weakness. Allowance should be made for slow maturation.
LEGS and FEET: legs substantial, wide set, of medium length, and in proportion to the body. Forelegs straight. Back legs are straight when viewed from behind. Paws large, round, well-tufted. Five toes in front; four in back.
TAIL: long, wide at base, and tapering. Fur long and flowing.
COAT: heavy and shaggy; shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches. Frontal ruff desirable. Texture silky with coat falling smoothly .
PENALIZE: a coat that is short or overall even.
bone structure. Undershot chin, i.e. the front teeth (incisors) of the lower
jaw overlapping or projecting beyond the front teeth of the upper jaw when the
mouth is closed. Crossed eyes. Kinked tail. Incorrect number of toes. White
buttons, white lockets, or white spots. Cats showing evidence of hybridization
resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern; or unpatterned
agouti on the body (i.e. Abyssinian type ticked tabby).