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Blog /10 Rare Cat Breeds
Breed and Genetics August 02, 2023

10 rare cat breeds you might not know about

They may not be the most well-known or popular, but these cat breeds are worth getting to know.

It’s time to give some love to the lesser known cats of the world! Though they may not top many "most popular cat breed" lists, these ten breeds have devoted fans—and for good reason.

Peterbald cat on a leash outside.


If someone asked you to picture a hairless cat, chances are the Sphynx is the first breed that would come to mind. But the Peterbald is another member of the bald cat club. At least some Peterbalds, that is. This breed comes in five coat types ranging from naked (totally hairless) to straight (a normal, short coat). First bred in Russia in 1993, the Peterbald is an extremely social, interactive cat. They love to be the center of attention and will follow their humans around the house. They grow very attached to their people, so don’t expect your lap to be empty if you have a Peterbald in your life.

Kuriliean Bobtail standing on a moss-covered tree branch.

Kurilian Bobtail

Experts believe the Kurilian Bobtail can trace its roots back to short-tailed cats that lived on the Kuril Islands in Russia more than 200 years ago. As their name implies, the standout trait of this breed is a short, pompom tail that can be kinked, curved, or spiraled (among other shapes). These adaptable cats have an outgoing personality and laid back nature, making them a perfect fit for many families. They are smart, easy to train, and have a goofy personality that keeps their humans entertained. They also have keen mousing skills and an impressive ability to jump to high locations.

White Turkish Van with one blue and one amber eye.

Turkish Van

The Turkish Van has been around since the Middle Ages. Hailing from the mountains of eastern Turkey, this high-energy breed loves to run, climb, jump, and fetch. But that’s not all. Aided by a water-resistant coat, these kitties enjoy splashing around in lakes and streams. Though they are loyal companions that like spending time with their people, they are not known for being cuddlers or lap cats. Think of them more as adventure buddies that are always up for a good time.

Burmilla sitting next to some steps.


The first thing you’ll notice about the Burmilla is its shimmering silver coat. An accidental cross between a Burmese and Chinchilla Persian produced a coat so beautiful that it inspired a breeding program all its own. But the Burmilla is much more than a stunning coat. This breed is also known for its charming personality and independent spirit. They love attention and are not shy about letting people know if they could use a little more attention. And their quiet, gentle nature makes them wonderful family pets.

Havana Brown cat sitting on a carpeted floor.

Havana Brown

With its deep chocolate coat, the Havana Brown is a true head-turner. Though its origins date back to the late-19th century, the modern breeding program didn’t begin until the 1950s. Havanas thrive on human companionship and are very affectionate with their people. They have a curious nature, often sticking out a paw to explore objects or running to investigate a new sound. But when it’s time to settle down, they are always game for a nap next to their favorite human.

Korat sitting on the floor looking up at camera.


In their native Thailand, the Korat is considered good luck. These loyal, energetic cats love to run, pounce on feather toys, and fetch objects. They also have a knack for problem solving and have been known to open cabinet doors. Though they do get along well with other pets, they can be bossy and like to be the one in charge of all the furry friends. In terms of appearance, the Korat is quite unique. They have a beautiful silver-tipped coat and are the only cat breed with a heart-shaped head. What’s not to love about that?

Black and white LaPerm against a grey background.


It’s not just a catchy breed name. These cats have a curly coat that was surely the envy of many in 1982 when the LaPerm originated. In addition to their curly fur, LaPerms have kinked eyebrows and curled whiskers. These active and affectionate cats are just as happy playing as napping next to their humans. They also like to participate in all parts of family life, often following people around the house to see what’s going on. And when they want to let you know they love you, they’ll give you a gentle tap on the face.

Chartreux cat lying on an orange cushion.


Despite being the national cat of France, the Chartreux is relatively rare in the US and Canada. Their round heads, full cheeks, and permanent smile give them a distinct (and adorable) look. And they are as intelligent as they are cute. These cats can learn tricks and rarely meet a puzzle toy they can’t master. They are a low-key, quiet breed that adores their humans but doesn’t need constant attention. So if you’re someone that likes a little space, this may be the breed for you.

Lykoi cat sitting on the floor.


The first thing that stands out about the Lykoi is its werewolf-like appearance. A relatively new breed, these cats have a genetic mutation that causes partial hairlessness. They love to spend time with their humans but can easily entertain themselves if left alone. Hunting toys, playing fetch, and chasing around the house are all activities they love. If you’re interested in a high-energy cat that prefers playtime to nap time, consider adding the Lykoi to your family. 

Singapura sitting on the bed on a blue blanket.


The Singapura originated in Singapore and is adored for its dark brown ticked coat and outgoing personality. This breed proves that good things come in small packages. Though males top out around 8 pounds, Singapuras are not short on energy. They love to play and will follow their family members around "helping" them with everything from laundry to cooking. They also love to view the world from high vantage points, including cabinets, bookcases, and the shoulder of their favorite human.

Get to know your cat better

Interested in learning more about cat breeds? Check out our breed library for info on history, behavior, traits, and health. You can also get genetic insights into your unique cat with a Wisdom Panel Complete for Cats DNA test.