Black Cat Breeds: A Short History Of Dark-Coated Felines

For a long time, black cats have been the stars of stories and screens, and for even longer, they have been the dark and mysterious centerpiece of western superstition. While black cats are typically associated with bad luck and the other dark arts by modern American culture, many cultures worldwide view black cat breeds in quite the opposite light.

For example, a black cat crossing your path is actually a good omen in Japanese culture. In Norse mythology, Freya (the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility) rode a chariot pulled by two black cats. And in England’s history, black cats were gifted to brides as wedding presents because they were thought to bring good luck.

Are Black Cat Breeds Common?

Black felines are, in fact, relatively common! There are 22 cat breeds that may produce a black coat. While the Bombay cat is the only all-black cat breed.

Unfortunately, black cat breeds are the least likely to be adopted from shelters and the most likely to be abandoned? It’s sad, and the worst part is that there’s just no good reason for this to be the case.

How Rare Are Black Cats?

If you are looking to add a new and dapper feline friend to the family, you’re in luck! Black cats are relatively easy to find, as they tend to take up to one-third of the country’s shelter and rescue space. Not to mention that plenty of facilities tend to have discounts when it comes to adopting a black pet, which just a little bit of extra incentive to adopt a cat in need.

So what are you waiting for? There’s a relatively high chance that your newest furry feline friend is out there just waiting to meet you right now!

How Many Black Cat Breeds Are There?

A black cat is any domestic cat with black fur. The black cat may potentially be a common domestic cat of mixed breeding, no particular breed, or specific breeding.

Only the Bombay cat is considered an all-black feline breed developed in the 1950s by crossing Sable Burmese with black American Shorthairs. The goal of this breed was to create a cat that resembled a miniature black panther.

While most black cats share a similar dramatic look due to their dark coats and green or golden eyes, the idea that all black cat breeds are the same is wrong. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 22 breeds of cats that can have solid black coats. Among them, there are:

  • Long-haired breeds.
  • Short-tailed breeds.
  • Even a few hairless breeds.


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Types of Black Cat Breeds

There are many beautiful cat breeds, but in our opinion, it is hard to beat the sleek, elegant, and ever so mysterious black cat in terms of general dapperness. While there are about 22 official black cat breeds (as noted by the CFA), the following six breeds are not only a few of our favorite felines, but they also happen to be some of the most popular breeds among black cat lovers as well.

Bombay

The Bombay is the only cat breed that’s almost always black (disregarding the occasional brown Bombay that might appear in a litter as a fluke). With green or copper eyes and short black hair, the Bombay tends to resemble a mini panther. However, this breed is playful, curious, and energetic — and they just love to be the center of attention.

Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese bobtail cat can have short or long-haired coats that come in various colors, but in our opinion, the prettiest is the solid black coat! Their unique bobbed tail is a dominant gene, and this breed is an ancient native Japanese breed, used to keep rats out of Buddhist temples and featured in various ancient works of art. In fact, this unique breed is one of the world’s oldest cat breeds and symbolizes good luck throughout their native region of Japan.

Japanese Bobtails are extremely athletic masters of feline agility, not to mention that they’re very talkative and prefer to be involved in their owner’s lives. Japanese Bobtails love to play games, and unlike many cat breeds, they can even be trained to sit, fetch, and more! If you’re a Cat Parents with a Japanese bobtail, you should expect a running commentary as they follow you around the house or offer to help you with your email by walking across the keyboard.

British Shorthair

The British shorthair can potentially come in a vast array of various colors, with black being one of the most popular. This stocky feline friend has an almost pudgy and adorably rounded appearance, sporting either brilliant copper eyes or glamorous gold eyes (as is standard for black-coated breeds). In addition, this breed is known for its easygoing, calm nature. The British shorthair loves its human family and gets along fairly well with the other four-legged members of its family as well.

Exotic Shorthair

The adorable pudgy-faced Exotic Shorthair is sometimes referred to as the “lazy man’s Persian” because they tend to look a lot like the Persian cat, just with a substantially shorter and more manageable coat. This breed is primarily known for its sweet and sensitive personality and teddy bear-like appearance. While exotic shorthairs love to play, they are not nearly as needy or rambunctious as some other breeds. These cats are quite sensitive and prefer to live in a relatively quiet home.

American Shorthair

The American shorthair makes for an enjoyable companion cat, as they tend to be very easygoing and peaceful, with stunning golden eyes that truly pop against its dark coat. This increasingly popular breed is loving and sweet, making for an ideal addition to families.

In addition, they are very low-maintenance, both when it comes to personality as well as grooming. While this breed loves to play, they don’t require hourly attention like many other cats. You won’t have to guess what kind of mood they are in, as they will typically bring their parent a toy when they are in the mood to play.

Additional Black-Haired Breeds

There are over a dozen black-haired cat breeds that deserve their time in the spotlight. Though a few honorable mentions don’t make the most popular list include:

  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Maine Coon
  • Devon Rex
  • Scottish Fold
  • Chantilly-Tiffany
  • American Bobtail
  • Ragamuffin

Are Black Cat Breeds Bad Luck?

cat in a bag

While it’s true that in some parts of the world, black cats may have a less-than-stellar reputation. There are plenty of places on earth where black cats aren’t bad luck at all.

If you’re a single woman in Japan, for example, having a black cat around the house is thought to increase the number of suitors you might have. Or if you’re in Germany and a black cat happens to cross your path, good things are on the horizon.

Final Thoughts – Black Cat Breeds

Black cats deal with many positive and negative connotations. Black cats brought good luck and prosperity according to the folklore of Ireland and Egypt. While in North America and Continental Europe, black cats are propellors for dark magic and ill-fortune.

The Pilgrims thought that black cats were the demonic familiars and spirit animals of witches! And on the other hand, sailors preferred their ship’s cat to be black because they bring good luck.

Black cats have so much more to offer than what superstition claims they bring to the table. The Cat Fanciers’ Association 22 beautiful black cat breeds, and each breed has its own unique personality and traits. Some are quiet, some are cuddly, regardless every cat deserves to find a home with a human that loves it.

Read More: National Black Cat Day [When It Is & How To Celebrate]


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