Breed Standard - the fine points of paws and jaws, coats and colors.

TICA Breed Standard - The International Cat Association's Maine Coon Standard

CFA Breed Standard - Cat Fanciers' Association Maine Coon Standard

FiFE Breed Standard - Fédération Internationale Féline d’Europe Maine Coon Standard

ACFA Breed Standard - American Cat Fancier Association Maine Coon Standard

GCCF - Governing Council of the Cat Fancy Maine Coon Standard

Maine Coon Colors - Photos of the different colors and patterns of Maine Coons

Code of Ethics - to protect cats and kittens, breeders and buyers.




   Thinking of buying a Maine Coon kitten?

    Please review the following:

Buyer Responsibilities
MCBFA's Guarantee
Frequently Asked Questions about the Maine Coon Cat - Got questions? Check here first!
How to Find a Maine Coon Kitten - by Cat Moody, an excellent article giving tips about  purchasing a Maine Coon kitten from a reputable breeder.


Maine Coon Cat Breed Standard

General Statement:
The Maine Coon is a solid, rugged cat and is America's oldest natural longhaired breed. Type must not be sacrificed for size, nor size for type, the optimum being a large, typey cat. Females are somewhat smaller than males, and allowance should be made for the slow maturation of the breed.

Medium in length and width, with a squareness to the muzzle. Allowance should be made for broadening in males. Cheek bones high. Nose medium in length with a gentle, concave curve and no break or bump. Chin firm and in line with upper lip and nose.

Large, wide set, slightly oblique setting. Eye color can be shades of green, gold, or copper, though white cats may be blue or odd-eyed. There is no relationship between eye color and coat color. Clarity of eye color is desirable.

Large, wide at base, moderately pointed and well tufted. Set high on head approximately an ear's width apart. Lynx-like tipping is desirable.

Muscular, medium to large in size, broad chested. Body is long, with all parts in proportion, creating a rectangular appearance. When viewed from the rear, there is a definite squareness to the rump. Neck medium-long.

Legs and Paws:
Legs substantial, wide set, medium in length, contributing to a rectangular appearance. Paws large, round, well-tufted (five toes in front, four toes in back).

Long, equal to body in length (distance from end of rump to shoulders), wide at base and tapering. Fur full, long, and flowing.

Fur on shoulders is short, gradually increasing in length along back and sides, ending in full britches and long, shaggy belly fur. Fur is soft but has body, falls smoothly, and lies close to the body. A slight undercoat is carried. A full ruff is not expected; however, there should be a frontal ruff beginning at the base of the ears.

Coat Colors:
All recognized colors. White trim around the chin and lip permitted except in solid color cats.

Buttons, lockets, spots, overall even coat, short cobby body, crossed eyes, kinked tail, incorrect number of toes.

Delicate bone structures, untufted paws, poor condition, nose break or bump, undershot chin, short rounded muzzle.

The following colors are among those recognized by most registering associations:

White, black, blue, red, cream.

Silver (chinchilla & shaded), blue-silver (chinchilla & shaded), cameo (shell, shaded, & smoke), cream cameo (shell, shaded, & smoke), black smoke, blue smoke, shaded tortoiseshell, shaded blue tortie, shaded torbie, shaded blue torbie.

Silver tabby (all patterns), blue-silver tabby (all patterns), cameo tabby (all patterns), cream cameo tabby (all patterns).

Shaded brown or golden tabby (all patterns), red tabby (all patterns), cream tabby (all patterns), brown tabby (all patterns), blue tabby (all patterns).

Bi-colors (solids with white), Parti-colors - tortoiseshell, torbie (patched tabby), calico, blue cream, tabby with white and other colors with white.

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Code of Ethics

This Code of Ethics is binding on all Breeder Members and Provisional Breeder Members of the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association (MCBFA). It sets forth high standards of ethical conduct which constitute a body of principles upon which Breeders can rely for guidance in specific situations.

Protection of the Breed. First and foremost, I agree to protect and preserve the Maine Coon breed by employing responsible practices on personal, social, and business levels. No Maine Coon Cat shall be bred to any cat other than a registered Maine Coon Cat. The Maine Coon Cat shall not be used as an outcross for any other breed.

Aims. In breeding of Maine Coons, I will emphasize good health, stable temperament, and intelligence, as well as appearance. Consistent with this policy, I shall breed discriminately and only upon good evidence of finding satisfactory homes for all kittens. I shall emphasize quality, not quantity.

Records. I shall keep accurate records of all pedigrees and matings and shall register breeding stock with at least one recognized cat association. These records shall be made available, for legitimate reasons, upon request by a Breeder Member in good standing.

Breeding. I shall plan and implement a breeding program with the preservation and protection of the breed kept foremost in mind. I will offer stud service only to breeders with an established cattery registered in as least one recognized association, and preferably to breeders who are members of MCBFA.

My breeding stock shall be free from disease or hereditary deformity and shall exhibit no radical departure from the Maine Coon Standard (e.g., monorchidism, deafness, kinked tail, excessive shyness or viciousness, unusually small size, or other physical or mental abnormalities).

I shall not breed a female until she is at least one year old, unless she has been in heat twice; I shall not intentionally breed a female more than twice in twelve months. If a dam has severe birthing difficulties, I shall alter her.

I agree to allow stud males seven to ten days between breeding females.

I shall arrive at a written agreement concerning shipping and boarding charges for females sent to a male, registration of the litter, payment methods for stud service, and options to cover a female's failure to conceive or her reabsorption of kittens, and shall provide a copy of the agreement to the owner of the female before the date of breeding.

I shall take care that breeding males and females are not accidentally bred. Kittens of unknown lineage of offspring of accidental matings to another breed shall be altered and responsibly placed.

I shall provide proper care for the safe and healthy delivery of kittens, and shall, whenever possible, be available to assist the queen if necessary, without undue interference with natural parturition. I shall in any event assure that a responsible person is available for the birth. I shall consult a veterinarian at the first sign of life-threatening difficulty.

I shall have euthanized a kitten born with a deformity which a veterinarian deems incompatible with a healthy or comfortable life. If I suspect genetic defects, I shall consult a veterinarian or geneticist as soon as possible; I shall report all findings to purchasers of kittens from the same breeding stock, and to the owner/breeder of the sire and/or dam.

Health. I shall maintain a high standard of health and care, including adequate room for exercise, regular handling and grooming, clean and comfortable quarters, adequate ventilation and light, a balanced diet and clean water, regular inoculations and veterinary care, and love and affection.

I shall make advance preparations for the care of my cats should I not be able to care for them.

I shall not allow a cat to run loose outdoors.

I shall provide any outdoor runs with security from weather, other animals, and parasites.

I shall protect my cat and others by not exposing at shows a cat which is ill.

I shall not declaw cats bred or owned by me. I shall advise any buyers of my opposition to this procedure and my reasons for my decision.

Sales. I shall conduct sales in a manner designed to promote maintenance of the cat's health and to provide reasonable protection for the buyer.

I shall conduct myself in a professional manner in all sales. I shall refuse to buy from or sell to, or to recommend breeders who do not conform to this Code of Ethics. I shall not deal with wholesalers or retailers, shall not provide a Maine Coon Cat for raffle purposes, or buy and sell in litter lots.

I shall not allow any kitten to leave my cattery before it is twelve weeks old, though a sales agreement may be finalized prior to that date, and shall not ship any kitten before it is twelve weeks old (domestic) or sixteen weeks old (overseas).

Before selling any kitten, I shall honestly appraise the quality and potential of the kitten and shall inform the buyer as to the differences between pet, breeder, and show quality.

I shall encourage buyers to join MCBFA and shall provide an MCBFA Information booklet to all buyers. I shall continue to be available to all buyers for advice on the proper care of the cat or kitten.

I shall put into writing all sales transactions, with buyer and seller each holding a copy of the agreement. The written contract of sale should contain:

  1. Complete description of kitten/cat to be sold, including color, quality, and sex.
  2. Immunizations received (recommended: feline enteritis, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and chlamydia) and a health record sheet.
  3. A guarantee of freedom from external and internal parasites.
  4. Written instructions on the care, feeding, and accomodations of the kitten/cat.
  5. Clear and specific enumeration of the buyer's responsibilities to the breeder, including the procedure and time period for notification of defects and other limitation of guarantee.
  6. Whether registration papers and pedigrees will be provided at the time of sale (breeder and show quality kittens) or within thirty days after receipt of proof of alteration (pet quality kittens).
  7. Additionally, I shall provide for breeder and show quality animals a five-generation pedigree complete with registration numbers and colors.
  8. I shall also specify in the sales contract the course of action to be taken should kitten/cat prove to be sterile, in poor health or suspected of a genetic defect, or incompatible with the buyer's family.

Advertising. Advertising, written or oral, shall be factual and not misleading, shall be in conformity with federal, state, or local consumer protection laws, and shall contain no price quotations.

While I am a Provisional Breeder Member, I shall not advertise myself as an MCBFA member, recognizing that such designation is reserved for those who have achieved full Breeder Member Status.

Sponsorship. While I am a Provisional Member, I shall maintain close relations with my sponsor and shall use my sponsor as a guide and resource in this period.

After I have advanced to Breeder Membership, I shall view any role as a sponsor of another beginning breeder as a solemn and meaningful one.

I shall endeavor to know as well as possible the person whom I sponsor, the breeding program planned, the conditions of the cattery involved, the extent to which the person is truly devoted to advancing and protecting the breed, to what extent the person is making an effort to meet and get to know other breeders and to participate in showing the Maine Coon Cat.

I shall try to limit my sponsorship role to my own geographical region and to sponsor only so many at one time as I am truly able to guide and help.

Sportsmanship. I shall behave at all times in a manner that will reflect credit upon myself, the Maine Coon Cat, and MCFBA. I agree to abide by the rules and customs that govern each show, whether I am a spectator or exhibitor. I shall view success as a concern secondary to the health and well-being of the cat and to my relationship with others among the cat fancy and MCBFA.

Agreements. In accordance with MCBFA's strong recommendations, I shall document in writing all transactions, including contracts for stud service, sales of kittens/cats, agency agreements, leasing arrangements, and the like. I shall also follow MCBFA's recommendation that all moneys be exchanged by check and that receipts shall be issued for all payments received.

Enforcement. I am aware that upon sufficient proof of violation of this Code of Ethics, action shall proceed according to Article 7 of the MCBFA By-Laws.

Amendments. The MCBFA Code of Ethics may be amended by action of the Executive Council upon recommendation from the Ethics Committee.

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Buyer Responsibilities

If you have decided to buy a Maine Coon kitten, the following are your responsibilities:

  1. Unless special arrangements are made with the breeder in advance, kittens should be paid for before shipping and the buyer should expect to pay all shipping charges. The buyer should also be prepared to pay for a rabies shot if it is required for shipping.
  2. The buyer should be prepared to supply an airline carrier for shipping. The buyer may use his own carrier, supply funds for the breeder to purchase one, or in some cases borrow one from the breeder.
  3. The buyer should be waiting at the freight office to pick up the kitten. As soon as possible, the buyer must notify the breeder, by telephone, that the kitten has arrived.
  4. MCBFA recommends that the kitten be examined by a veterinarian within 48 hours of its arrival (excluding Sundays and holidays). Thereafter, a vet's services should be used whenever necessary.
  5. The buyer should expect the kitten to be nervous and off its diet for a day or so, until it becomes accustomed to its new surroundings. Do not feed the kitten immediately upon its arrival; offer it only fresh water. The kitten should be kept in a small, quiet area with water and its litter box until it begins to become adjusted.
  6. Your cat should be combed often enough to keep it free of hair mats. Provide companionship every day.

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MCBFA's Guarantee

Should a veterinarian find a cat or kitten in ill health within 48 hours of arrival (excluding Sundays and holidays), the breeder shall be responsible for any related vet's bills. However, the buyer must immediately notify the breeder by phone of any illness or other problems.

If requested, the buyer must provide the breeder with a written vet's report. Should a cat or kitten die from an illness contracted prior to shipment, the breeder must replace the cat with one of equal value, or refund the purchase price plus cost of shipping. The total liability of the breeder shall in no case exceed the purchase price plus cost of shipping.

The Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association as an organization subscribes to the Guarantee above, and each of its individual members is expected to abide by it. Members failing to adhere to the MCBFA Guarantee will be subject to action by the association.

The purchase of a cat or kitten should be handled as any business transaction and be fully documented in writing. For the protection of all concerned, the use of sales contracts between buyer and seller is strongly urged. MCBFA regrets that it cannot be responsible for the liabilities of its individual members.

MCBFA attempts to ensure that healthy kittens are sold by its member catteries, but MCBFA cannot guarantee the show or breeding potential of those kittens. MCBFA strongly recommends that any purchaser becomes well informed about the Maine Coon Standard and the meaning of cat show awards before acquiring a show/breeding cat or kitten.

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FIFe Standard

II MCO Maine Coon Standard
    The Maine Coon is a natural breed of amiable character that traces its origin to the working cat found on the farms of Northeast America.
General Appearance The Maine Coon is large framed with a square outline of the head, large ears, broad chest, solid bone structure, a long, hard muscled, rectangular body and a long flowing tail. Good muscle tone and density give the cat the appearance of power and robustness.
Size Large.
Head Shape Medium in size; square outline. Profile with a gentle concave slope.
Forehead Gently curved.
Cheeks Cheekbones high and prominent.
Face and nose of medium length with a square outline of the muzzle. Distinct transition can be felt between muzzle and cheekbones.
Chin Firm, in vertical alignment with nose and upperlip.
Ears Shape large, wide at the base. Moderately pointed. Lynx-tufts are desirable. Tufts of hair in the ears extend beyond outer edges of ears.
Placement Set high on head with a very slight outward tilt. Ears should be placed one ear's width apart. The width extends slightly in older cats. Lower base set just slightly further back than upper base.
Eyes Shape Large and widely set. Slightly oval, but not almond shaped, appear round when wide open. Set slightly slanted towards the outer base of the ear.
Colour Any colour is permitted. There is no relationship between eye- and coat colour. Clear eye colour is desirable.
Neck   Males have a very strong muscled neck.
Body Structure The body should be long, substantial bone structure. Hard muscled, powerful, broad chested. Large framed, all parts of the body in proportion to create a rectangular appearance.
Legs   Substantial, medium length to form a rectangle with the body.
Paws Large, round and well tufted between the toes.
Tail   At least as long as the body from shoulderblade to base of tail. Wide at the base tapering to the tip; with full, flowing hair. The hair on the tail is long and always remains flowing.
Coat Structure All weather coat. Dense. Short on head, shoulders and legs, becoming gradually longer down the back and sides, with long, full shaggy baggy trousers on the hind legs and belly fur. A frill is expected. Texture silky. Coat has distinct body, falling smoothly. The undercoat is soft and fine, covered by the coarse smooth outercoat.
Colour All colour varieties are permitted, including all colour varieties with white; except pointed patterns and chocolate and lilac, cinnamon and fawn. Any amount of white is allowed, i.e. a white blaze, white locket, white chest, white on the belly, white on the paws, etc.
Condition   The Maine Coon should always be in good balance, condition and proportion.
Remarks   Type must always take preference over colour.

Very slow maturing of the breed should be taken into account.

Mature males may have larger and broader heads than females.

Females are proportionally smaller than males. Allowance must be made for this significant difference in size.

Length of coat and density of undercoat vary with the seasons.

Faults General Unbalanced proportions.
Overall small cat.
Head Round head.
Straight or convex profile.
Nose Nose break.
Muzzle Pronounced whisker pads.
Round or pointed muzzle.
Chin Undershot chin.
Ears Wide set, flared ears.
Eyes Slanted almond shaped eyes.
Body Fine, light bone structure.
Short cobby body.
Legs Long stilty legs.
Tail Short tail.
Coat Lack of belly shag.
Coat of overall even length.
Lack of any undercoat

Scale of Points Points
Total   100
Head General shape, shape of nose, cheeks and muzzle, jaw and teeth, forehead, chin. 25 40
Shape and placement of ears. 10
Shape and placement of eyes. 5
Body Shape, size, bone structure, legs, shape of paws. 25 35
Shape and length of tail. 10
Coat Quality and texture. 10 20
Length. 10
Condition     5

Recognized Colour Varieties
Remarks The Maine Coon is judged in one of the following colour variety groups, i.e. in each colour variety group a certificate can be awarded.
Colour EMS Code
Group I
Black/Blue MCO n/a
Group II
Black/Blue with white MCO n/a 01/02/03/09
Group III
Black/Blue agouti MCO n/a 22/23/24/25
Black/Blue golden MCO n/a y 11/12/22/23/24/25
Group IV
Black/Blue agouti with white MCO n/a 01/02/03/09 21/22/23/24/25
Black/Blue golden with white MCO n/a y 01/02/03/09 11/12/21/22/23/24/25
Group V
Red/Cream/Tortie solid/agouti MCO d/e/f/g
MCO d/e/f/g 22/23/24/25
Red/Cream/Tortie golden MCO d/e/f/g y 11/12/22/23/24/25
Group VI
Red/Cream/Tortie solid/agouti with white MCO d/e/f/g 01/02/03/09
MCO d/e/f/g 01/02/03/09 21/22/23/24/25
Red/Cream/Tortie golden with white MCO d/e/f/g y 01/02/03/09 11/12/21/22/23/24/25
Group VII
Black/Blue/Red/Cream smoke/silver MCO n/a/d/e s
MCO n/a/d/e s 11/12/22/23/24/25
Tortie smoke MCO f/g s
Tortie silver MCO f/g s 11/12/22/23/24/25
Group VIII
Black/Blue/Red/Cream smoke/silver with white MCO n/a/d/e s 01/02/03/09
MCO n/a/d/e s 01/02/03/09 11/12/21/22/23/24/25
Tortie smoke with white MCO f/g s 01/02/03/09
Tortie silver with white MCO f/g s 01/02/03/09 11/12/21/22/23/24/25
Group IX
White MCO w
with blue eyes  
with orange eyes  
odd eyed  
with green eyes  

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The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy

The Maine Coon is a semi-longhaired cat of medium Foreign type and is distinguished by its large size, bone structure, rectangular appearance and flowing coat. Many colour combinations are accepted but colour' is of far less importance than type, size and coat quality. The Maine Coon evolved as a working domesticated cat in a rural environment; this role is reflected in a muscular cat of rugged outdoor appearance with a characteristic weather-proof coat and the demeanor of an alert capable hunter.


Medium in length, the nasal bridge being equidistant from the ear line and the tip of the nose, with the width being slightly less than the length of the head. Allowance should be made for additional breadth or jowls in mature males.  The muzzle should be square with firm chin; Chin, upper lip and nose leather should fall in a perpendicular line. Cheeks fairly full, with high cheek bones. Bit level. Nose of uniform width with shallow concave at the nasal bridge when viewed in profile, and without a sharp break or stop. Large, tall ears, wide at base and tapering to appear pointed at the tip; set high but well apart.


Full and round, spaced wide apart with a slightly oblique aperture and set. Shades of green, gold or copper; coat colour and eye colour may be unrelated. Odd or blue eyes are permissible in White cats.


Large to medium size, solid and muscular with breadth of chest. Long back with proportionate limbs to create the characteristic rectangular appearance; square rump. Since the Maine Coon is slow to mature (taking up to 4 years), allowances should be made when judging younger cats.  Neck, moderately long; particularly thick and muscular in mature males.  Substantial legs with large round paws; toes carried close, five in front, four behind. Tail long,  at least as long as the length of the back, wide at the base and tapering towards the.


Waterproof and virtually self maintaining, consisting of an undercoat covered by a more substantial glossy top coat. Fur shorter on the head, neck and shoulders increasing in length down the back flanks and tail. A fluffy appearance is undesirable. Breeches and belly fur full and shaggy. Tail fur long, profuse and flowing; not bushy. Ears feathered and preferably tufted at the tips; the ear feathering should extend beyond the outer edges of the ear. Paws tufted, with long tufts emanating from under the paws, extending backwards to create a snowshoe effect. Coat colour and markings are of less importance than coat type and quality. The cat loses coat during the summer months.


Head: Including general shape and proportions; shape, size and ear set; shape, size, set and colour of eyes; nose length and profile; cheeks, muzzle and chin; teeth                            


Body: Including shape and proportions; size, bone structure, muscularity and condition,  height and thickness of legs; shape and size of paws; shape and length of tail .                      


Coat: Including length, texture and frontal ruff; ear feathering and tufting; tail furnishings; paw furnishings                                                                                                       

Colour and pattern                                                                                                                      10

Withhold certificates for:

  1. Cobby body shape and/or fine bone structure

  2. Blue or odd eyes in cats of a colour other than white

  3. More than one third of the fur white in Bicolour and Particolour cats

  4. Definite nose break

  5. Overall even coat length

  6. Untufted paws

  7. Any defect as listed in the preface to the GCCF Standard of Points Booklet

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