We all know that in dogs, breed has a huge influence on personality. If an owner is looking for an affectionate and friendly dog, they might be guided towards a toy poodle, or a chihuahua - instead of the more independently-minded sighthounds or terriers.
But is the same true in cats? For a long time, most people - scientists included - figured that a cat is just a cat, and that the differences in breed are really only skin deep.
But in the last few years some amazing research has come out that shows that the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Friendliness in cats isn't just influenced by a cat's upbringing and their current environment. These results show that it is also heavily influenced by breed. So which breeds come out on top for friendliness?
WHICH BREED OF CAT IS MOST FRIENDLY TOWARDS HUMANS?
The research shows that the breed most likely to give affection towards human caregivers is the Ragdoll breed, with Bengals coming in as the breed least likely to be affectionate with their human family.
Here are the full rankings for the breeds that were looked at in the study, in descending order from most friendly to least:
|BREED (Ranked from most friendly towards humans to least)|
|2. Domestic Shorthair|
|4. Maine Coon|
|6. Domestic Longhair|
|8. Cornish Rex|
|13. Russian Blue|
Source: (Hart & Hart 2013)
Before you shout - "WHOAH WHAT? MY CAT ISN'T LIKE THAT!", don't forget that the breed influence mingles with a cat's early experiences and current environment to dictate how friendly they are. As the owner of two Bengals - one of whom can take or leave human affection and the other that LIVES to be near us - it's clear that these results aren't 100% predictive of your cat's personality.
But what they do give is a strong hint about what your cat's temperament is likely to be. Especially between the top and bottom of the list, there is fairly strong predictive power in these results - so if you're planning to add a new cat to your family and friendliness is very important to you, it's worth bearing in mind (and if your heart is dead set on a Bengal, then you know that it's all the more important to ensure they've had a positive early upbringing and have a cat-friendly environment in your home).
WHICH BREED OF CAT IS MOST FRIENDLY TOWARDS OTHER CATS?
In a multi-cat household, we all know that peace and harmony isn't solely down to how our cats get on with us. How our cats interact with each other is really important too.
Again, studies have found really strong differences between breeds in how friendly a cat is to other cats. Interestingly, in a close re-run of the results above, the data shows that show that the breed least likely to get on well with other cats is the Bengal, while Ragdolls are the most likely to coexist peacefully with other cats! But the detailed rankings do differ:
|BREED (Ranked from most friendly towards other cats to least)|
|2. Cornish Rex|
|5. Maine Coon|
|11. Russian Blue|
|12. Domestic Longhair|
|14. Domestic Shorthair|
Source: (Hart & Hart 2013)
Just like the first set of results, these rankings don't guarantee that a Bengal will be aggressive with other cats, or a Ragdoll will take to having feline company with no issues. But because of their predictive power they can tell you that you might need to pay particular attention to how you introduce a new Bengal or Siamese cat to the existing cats in your home (for advice, take a look at our guide on cat introductions here). And if intercat harmony is high on your list of priorities, it might be sensible to consider looking at breeds towards the top of the above list when choosing new arrivals.
How does your cat compare to these rankings? Is friendliness important to you in a cat? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Just leave a comment below or join in the conversation over on Instagram or Facebook (both @supakitstore).
Until next week!