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Birman vs Ragdoll Cats: The Differences (With Pictures)

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Birman vs Ragdoll

People confuse the Birman and Ragdoll breeds all the time. We can’t deny that telling them apart is a bit of a challenge if you haven’t owned or been around one of them before. Even though their physical features are similar, they have distant personalities.

When you research their differences, you can make an informed decision about which one best fits your lifestyle. This article covers every aspect of how the breeds differ, and by the end, you’ll know whether the Birman or Ragdoll is the ideal companion for you.

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Visual Differences

Birman vs Ragdoll side by side
Image Credit: (L) Borkin Vadim, Shutterstock | (R) madeinitaly4k, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Birman Cat
  • Origin: Myanmar and France
  • Height: 8–10 inches
  • Weight: 10–12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13–15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
Ragdoll Cat
  • Origin: California
  • Height: 9–10 inches
  • Weight: 8–10 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

hepper single cat paw dividerBirman Cat Breed Overview

The Birman cat is a rare breed from Myanmar, also called Burma, and was officially recognized by France in 1925. It wasn’t until 1967 that they were recognized in the United States.

birman kittens
Image Credit: Borkin Vadim, Shutterstock


Birman cats are not that genetically diverse, so most of them look very similar and are prone to several health problems. They have long, silky hair and deeper blue eyes. Most of them also have different-colored socks on each foot. Birmans grow about 8 inches tall and weigh around 10 pounds.


There aren’t many cats that are as loving and affectionate as the Birman. They’re bred for companionship and adapt well to the family lifestyle. Most have a docile and quiet temperament and don’t tend to be very vocal.

Birman cats are not the most intelligent breed but are still smart and trainable. They love people but aren’t so needy that you must pay attention to them for most of the day.

Birman cat on the floor
Image Credit: Daydream Photographie, Shutterstock


Because they don’t have diverse genetics, there are quite a few health issues they’re prone to. The biggest threat is feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which eventually leads to paralysis of the back limbs and heart failure. They are also at a higher risk for kidney disease.


Cats with long coats usually leave patches of hair around the entire house. Even though the Birman has a long coat, the shedding isn’t nearly as bad as other long-haired breeds. You only have to brush their hair once weekly to keep the fur from matting. However, most Birmans do a decent job of keeping themselves clean. Don’t forget to take them to regular vet appointments for deworming and check-ups.

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Ragdoll Cat Breed Overview

Ragdolls are a little more popular than Birmans. They were bred right here in the United States in the 1960s. Today, they are popular in countries around the world.

ragdoll and kittens
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock


The Ragdoll has an unforgettable look. They have large, muscular frames with medium-length, soft coats. Their light-colored bodies have darker patches on their faces, legs, tails, and ears. Three patterns are associated with them as well. Ragdoll cats reach about 9 inches tall and weigh 10 pounds.


Ragdoll cats are famous for their personalities. They have such good temperaments that there is a rumor that they act more like dogs than cats. Ragdolls are affectionate and love to be handled and cuddled. They are also highly intelligent and one of the easiest breeds to train. They are descended from the Birman breed, which explains their similar looks and docile personalities.

ragdoll lying on the floor
Image Credit: Kadisha, Pixabay


Ragdolls have been inbred in the past. Today, they’re vulnerable to urinary and kidney issues. Like the Birman, they are also prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


The coat of a Ragdoll isn’t as long as the Birman’s coat. They don’t require a lot of grooming but benefit from weekly brushing. Like the Birmans, Ragdolls do a good job of keeping themselves clean and don’t require monthly baths like some other pets.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

There aren’t too many differences between the Birman and Ragdoll cat breeds. In general, Birman cats are a couple of pounds bigger than Ragdolls, but the Ragdolls are taller on average. Ragdolls also are a bit more affectionate and trainable than Birmans. Either breed makes an excellent pet.

If you give them lots of love, they’ll love you back even more. Birmans and Ragdolls are kind, docile, and smart. Whichever you choose, you can be confident that you won’t make a mistake that leaves you with overwhelming responsibilities and regrets.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: (L) Patrik Slezak, Shutterstock | (R) Luxurious Ragdoll, Shutterstock

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