Are Maine Coons Rare?

Most people have heard of this gentle giant of the cat world. It’s a cat with numerous attractive features including its size, fluffy coat, sociable personality, and gentle nature. Where did they originate and are Maine Coons rare?

Today, Maine Coons are not rare, though they once were. This large, sociable cat is one of the least rare breeds! However, there was a time in the early 20th Century when Maine Coons almost became extinct. Certain Maine Coon colors might be rare but the breed now quite common.

Are Maine Coons rare? Classic tabby
A classic tabby Maine Coon

Maine Coon Origins

Maine Coons are authentic native American cats. Known records mention the breed as originating in Maine, North America in the mid 19th Century.

They lived in barns and worked on farms and were noted for their sociable personalities which led to farmers breeding and showing them. The majority of original Maine Coons were brown tabbies and they were referred to as Maine cats.

Eventually, the name became Maine Coon, though no one truly knows the reason why. Some say it was because their tails were ringed like raccoons, others say they were named after a Captain Coon whose brown tabby ship cats mated with local moggies.

When Maine Coons Were Rare

During the early 20th Century, Maine Coons became less popular as other exotic cats such as Persians became the new favorites. It was at this time that Maine Coons disappeared from the cat show circuit and became quite rare.

At one point in the 1950s, Maine Coons were thought to be extinct but thankfully, in the 1960s the breed made a comeback. In 1976, the Maine Coon finally received the accreditation it deserved by being accepted as a breed by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA). The transition from barn cat to show cat was complete.

In 1985, the state of Maine honored the Maine Coon by appointing it as the official state cat, a title it quite rightly deserved. Since then, these cats have increased in popularity.

Are Maine Coons rare anywhere?

Wherever there are Maine Coon breeders, you’ll find Maine Coons available. One way or another, Maine Coons are available in all countries.

Contrary to popular belief, Maine Coons can thrive in hot or cold areas. Their long coats keep them warm in cold climates but also help to regulate their temperatures in hot weather. Some people are of the opinion that Maine Coons should be shaved in hot weather – this simply is not necessary.

If they are rare or unavailable where you live, it is possible to import Maine Coons. Be very careful if you go down this route. I would highly recommend you travel to collect a kitten yourself as otherwise, you will be buying blind. I’ve read numerous horror stories about health conditions and traveling injuries.

Rare Maine Coon Colors

Some Maine Coon coat colors are much rarer than. The most common Maine coon color is the brown tabby. These can be found with classic, mackerel or ticked patterns. Find more about these coat patterns in Tabby Cat Colors and Patterns.

Are Red Maine Coons rare?

A solid red Maine Coon is very rare because cats referred to as solid color tend to have a little bit of tabby pattern emerging somewhere in their coat, usually on their faces. You are far more likely to see a red tabby Maine Coon. Red is also referred to as ginger or orange, sometimes sandy, and occasionally marmalade! Whatever you prefer to call it, it’s a beautiful color.

Red female Maine Coons are rarer than red males because of complicated genetics.

Are Maine Coons rare? Red tabby
Our red tabby, Harry
Can A Maine Coon Be Orange?
Solid or not? I can see a tabby ‘M’

Can Maine Coons be white?

Solid white Maine Coons are somewhat rare but part-white are widely available. I think the solid white Maine Coon is one of the most stunning cats ever. Cats with solid white and part-white Maine Coons sometimes have a fairly rare feature – odd eyes. These are only usually seen on cats with white coats or some white fur.

Are Maine Coons rare? White Maine Coon
Our solid white, Charlie

Are Blue Maine Coons rare?

Solid blue Maine Coons are quite rare but blue tabbies are quite easy to come by. This color is sometimes referred to as gray and it’s easy to see why! Gray coated-cats are actually called blue because their fur has a faint tint of blue. The blue coat is genetically a dilute black coat.

The Blue Maine Coon: A Useful Guide With Images
Solid blue Maine Coon

Maine Coon Rarity Today

Are Maine Coon cats rare today? Absolutely not! After their brush with extinction in the 1950s, Maine Coons grew in popularity and they are now one of the most sought after and revered 21st Century breeds.

Some polls place them as the most popular pet whilst others place them second or third. It’s not clear how these statistics are gathered but either way, there are literally millions of Maine Coons in existence today with no sign of them ever becoming rare again.

Rare Heavyweight Maine Coons

Maine Coons are sizeable cats. Traditionally, the weight range of a Maine Coon is set at 8 to 18 lbs. Many owners laugh in the face of these numbers as their Maine Coons spin the needle on the scales past the 25 lbs mark.

Maine Coons weighing 30 lbs plus have made the headlines but rest assured, Maine Coons of those proportions are rare. Most Maine Coons are not, and should not be, that heavy. Don’t expect your Maine Coon to grow this large and don’t let the thought of such sizes deter you from buying one. They are a rare occurrence.

Healthy, heavy Maine Coons occur naturally. Heavy, unhealthy Maine Coons result from overfeeding and lack of physical exercise. Indoor Maine Coons are particularly prone to becoming overweight. This is because they eat out of boredom if they are not sufficiently stimulated and often don’t move enough.

Maine Coons and Rare Behavior

Maine Coons may exhibit certain behaviors that are rare in cats. Many have dog-like tendencies such as playing fetch and acting in a loyal way. Our red tabby Maine Coon comes running to greet us whenever we come home and he loves to play fetch with hairbands.

Maine Coons are quite trainable which is a rare feature in cats. Of course, this is rare and neither of our current Maine Coons has ever responded to any training attempts.

Talking is a Maine Coon thing that is quite rare in most cats. They obviously don’t speak our language but they do possess one of the widest cat vocabularies. Expect to hear a range of trills, chirps, and chirrups as well and variations of the standard meow.

Are Maine Coons rare compared to any other breeds?

If you thought the Maine Coon was rare, you may have confused it with another similar cat that is fairly rare – the Turkish Angora. Take a look at the similarities below. Interestingly enough, myth has it that Maine Coons descended from this Turkish breed after Marie Antionette boarded hers on a ship headed for North America in the mid 19th Century.

Are Maine Coons rare? a Turkish Angora
White Turkish Angora
Are Maine Coons rare? Young white Maine Coon
White Maine Coon, Charlie, posing like the Turkish Angora above

Rare Maine Coon Health Conditions

What is heart-warming is the fact that many Maine Coon genetic problems are becoming rare. This is because of good screening practices before breeding.

Maine Coons can have the following genetically transmitted health issues:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Anyone who is considering breeding Maine Coons has a moral duty to ensure all breeding cats (male and female) are thoroughly screened to ensure they do not possess the ability to pass on faulty genes.

It’s because more and more breeders adhere to such standards that painful and debilitating genetic conditions are on the decline.

Of course, there are still people who ignore such standards and breed their cats without following the guidelines. Until they cease their practices, genetic health problems won’t be completely stamped out.

Are Maine Coons Rare? – Conclusion

Maine Coon cats are not rare today. The breed has existed since at least the mid 19th Century and only during the 1950s were they rare to the point of near-extinction.

Some Maine coat colors are rare, with solid red probably being the least available. Maine Coons weighing over 30 lb are also rare.

Overall, the Maine Coons is a large, friendly, popular cat that is a pleasure to own and I thoroughly recommend them, particularly as family pets.


I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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