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15 Designer Cat Breeds (with Pictures)

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

Savannah F1 kitten

We all have heard the cute, but sometimes ridiculous sounding, names for mixed dog breeds—Chiweenie, Shorkie, Pomsky, and the list goes on. But did you know that there are also mixed breed cats?

These hybrid breeds, often referred to as designer cats, result in a unique cat with traits from its genetic ancestry. These unique-looking pets are attractive to cat owners as they’re unlike any other pet you’ve seen.

Are you curious about what a Munchkin mixed with a Persian would look like? How about a Selkirk Rex and a Munchkin? Whether you’re considering adopting a designer breed or just want to look at cute cat pictures, we have you covered. Keep reading to learn more about 15 of the most popular designer breeds, their origins, and their personality traits.

The Top 15 Designer Cat Breeds

1. Ashera

ashera cat
Image Credit: Mirencats, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 8 – 10 years
Average weight: 22 – 30 pounds
Personality traits: Calm, loyal, affectionate

Ashera cats are a beautiful and exotic breed that’s a direct descendant of the Asian leopard, the serval, and the common household cat. It is one of the newest designer cat breeds and came to be through genetic manipulation in Los Angeles.

This breed seems to have more characteristics of dogs than cats. They’re very vocal, can learn to walk on leashes, and are calm despite their wild appearance. They can grow to be four feet tall, so their households need plenty of space to accommodate their large size.

Asheras are sterile, meaning you can only find one to adopt through the laboratory where they were designed. They come with a hefty price tag starting at around $22,000, with reports of some folks paying upwards of $125,000 for one kitten. A hypoallergenic version is available but its price starts at $28,000.

There was a rumor several years ago that the existence of Ashera cats was a gimmick, that they were a variant of the much more affordable Savannah breed.


2. Bengal

Bengal cat hunting outdoor
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 10 – 16 years
Average weight: 8 – 17 pounds
Personality traits: Curious, mischievous, energetic

Bengals are one of the most commonly thought of designer breeds. They have a beautiful spotted coat and a strong body that looks very similar to an Asian leopard. In fact, it’s thought that Bengals are a descendant of the wild Asian leopards.

These cats are very active and intelligent. They’re fun to have around but can be challenging to live with. They are known for getting themselves into all sorts of trouble, like jumping onto every surface in your home and scratching at furniture. Bengals love playing in water so it’s not unusual for them to dip their paws into fish tanks or jump into the water with you either.

Despite being recognized as an official breed by TICA in 1986, there are still some places in the world that won’t allow you to keep one as a pet. Some US states have laws that state the Bengal you adopt must be four generations removed for the Asian Leopard, while others have made it illegal to own any generation.


3. Ocicat

ocicat
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Average weight: 6 – 15 pounds
Personality traits: Devoted, energetic, vocal

Like the Bengal, Ocicats resemble wild animals. The difference between the two breeds, though, is that Ocicats have absolutely no wild cat DNA in their gene pool at all. It looks wild, but its temperament is exactly that of a domestic cat.

Ocicats are a mix of Siamese, Abyssinian, and the American Shorthair. Their personality consists of bits and pieces from each of those breeds. They’re great cats for homes with gentle children and even other pets.

They’re very social, friendly, and trainable. Some even love water! They need a lot of attention from their owners and don’t like being left alone if they don’t have another animal companion to spend time with.


4. Chausie

a Chausie in dark background
Image Credit: Tania__Wild, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Average weight: 15 – 30 pounds
Personality traits: Intelligent, active, athletic

The Chausie is another designer cat that looks like it stepped out of a jungle in our homes. It came to be through breeding a non-domestic species of jungle cat (Felis chaus) with domestic cats. It was first recognized as a domestic breed in 1995.

Chausies are very active and need a lot of stimulation and company to stay happy. They can be very busy as kittens and retain most of their playfulness and athleticism throughout their life.

They’re loyal and affectionate to their families and tend to get along well with people of all different ages. They’re easygoing and mix well with other cats and dogs—provided the introduction is done correctly.


5. Dwelf

dwelf cat lying on bed
Image Credit: Jenni Ferreira, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Average weight: 4 – 9 pounds
Personality traits: Social, interactive, loyal

One look at the Dwelf, and you can see how unique it is from most other designer cat breeds. This interesting-looking hairless cat gets its name from its dwarf-like stature and elfin features. Though they are hairless, they do often have downy hairs throughout their body that gives them a lovely suede-like feeling.

Dwelf cats are extremely affectionate and loyal to their humans. They love to be involved in everything you’re doing and don’t do well spending time alone.

Their short stature keeps Dwelfs closer to the ground. They won’t be as active as other designer breeds, but don’t confuse their size with fragility.


6. Highlander

a highlander cat lying on grass
Image Credit: SUSAN LEGGETT, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Average weight: 10 – 20 pounds
Personality traits: Gentle, social, confident

The Highlander comes from the deliberate crossing of the Desert Lynx and Jungle Curl breeds. Its physical traits resemble wildcats but since it was born from two hybrid breeds, it doesn’t have wildcat genes. It, too, is a relatively new breed that began developing in 2004.

Highlander cats are easily recognizable thanks to their curled ears, polydactyl (extra) toes, and short tails.

Cats of this breed are known for their fun and playful energy. Their families need to provide plenty of opportunities to play and ensure they’re spending time every day playing with them.

Like some of the other designer breeds on our list, Highlander cats love water. They’re fascinated with running water and won’t be afraid to dip in a paw or two.


7. Cheetoh

Average lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Average weight: 12 – 25 pounds
Personality traits: Intelligent, athletic, curious

The Cheetoh breed is large, exotic-looking, and active. Their wild appearance makes them look like the wildcats that founded their breed, but their temperament is that of domestic cats. This breed was born from the crossing of Bengals and Ocicats.

Cheetohs are happiest in the lap of their family members and are very gentle and playful with their humans. They don’t like to be left alone and will enjoy the company of other pets.

They are very clever and curious, too. They like to be challenged with puzzle toys and show off their intelligence through learned tricks.


8. Siberian

solid white siberian cat
Image Credit: Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 11 – 18 years
Average weight: 8 – 17 pounds
Personality traits: Agile, affectionate, playful

Siberian cats are sometimes also known as the Siberian Forest Cat. This is an ancient designer breed from Siberia and is the national cat of Russia.

Siberians often have a small arch in their backs, thanks to the discrepancy in the length of their front and hind legs. Their unique shape is part of what makes them so agile. Despite their very large size, they are incredible jumpers and aren’t afraid to make the highest spots in your home their territory.

This sweet-natured breed loves to snuggle and is very devoted to their families. They are so easygoing that they do well in homes with children and other pets, too.


9. Foldex

foldex cat in the couch
Image Credit: Tossatis chongjiragal, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Average weight: 5 – 14 pounds
Personality traits: Cheerful, charming, intelligent

The Foldex, sometimes known as the Exotic fold, is a rare breed that originated in Canada. The breed came from crossing Exotic Shorthairs with Scottish Folds. Foldexes have championship breed status; however, it is only recognized by the Canadian Cat Association.

This breed is very affectionate but won’t be too demanding. They adore cuddles and become loyal to their owners. They’re not shy to introduce themselves to strangers and will approach them without a second thought.

They’re very curious and intelligent but won’t get into as much trouble as other designer breeds.


10. Lambkin

Lambkin munchkin
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Average weight: 5 – 9 pounds
Personality traits: Sweet, easygoing, docile

Lambkins are an adorable Munchkin dwarf cat breed with a distinctive curly coat. Lambkins were born from crossing Selkirk Rex with Munchkin breeds. There is some controversy surrounding this breed as its lineage contains Munchkin genes. Both the Lambkins and Munchkins’ small stature is due to a genetic mutation that essentially causes limb deformity.

Lambkins are incredibly easygoing and gentle cats. They’re a perfect pick for families with children and other animals. They are very tolerant and warm, so they don’t have a hard time fitting in.

They are a very social breed so they need a lot of attention and care every day. They love playing games with their owners and do best in households that have time to play with them often.


11. Minuet

Minuet cat sticking tongue out
Image Credit: Dave’s Domestic Cats, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 9 – 15 years
Average weight: 5 – 9 pounds
Personality traits: Charming, sweet, social

Minuets, also sometimes known as the Napoleon breed, is a cross between Persians and Munchkin cats. It has the exotic beauty from their Persian lineage paired with the short stature of the Munchkin. Don’t let his short legs fool you, though; the Minuet is still an incredibly agile breed.

This breed is very people-oriented and gentle, thanks to its Persian genes. It inherited its curiosity from its Munchkin heritage.

The Minuets’ sweet and affectionate nature makes it a great breed for families with children and other pets. They do need a lot of attention to stay happy, so the ideal family will carve out time to snuggle and play with them every day.


12. Siamese Manx

Average lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Average weight: 8 – 16 pounds
Personality traits: Loyal, snuggly, tolerant

The Siamese Manx, sometimes known as Owyhee Bob or Mountain Bob, is a cross between the Siamese and Manx breeds. They are both a designer and experimental cat breed whose existence is only recognized by one registry—the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry.

This breed takes its best personality traits from its Siamese and Manx genetics. They tend to be playful and sociable. They love to take part in family activities and have a dog-like loyalty to their owners. While they can get along with other animals, females can be territorial at times.


13. Skookum

Average lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Average weight: 3 – 7 pounds
Personality traits: Smart, easygoing, playful

Skookum cats are another experimental designer breed. They are developed from crossing Munchkins with LaPerm cats. It takes appearance cues from both breeds it was developed from, with curly hair on a small, short body.

Just because they’re small in stature doesn’t mean that Skookums can’t be climbers or jumpers, though. They love high places and thrive best in homes that provide them with cat trees so they can survey their environment from higher vantage points.

These cats are happy-go-lucky and confident. They are active and playful but know how to take a good nap in their owner’s lap, too. It’s not unusual for Skookums to keep their kitten energy well into adulthood.

Their easygoing nature makes them a great pick for families with children.


14. Savannah

savannah cat looking up
Image Credit: kuban_girl, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12 – 20 years
Average weight: 12 – 25 pounds
Personality traits: Loyal, athletic, bold

Savannahs were born from crossing a domestic cat with servals (a wild African cat). They have a very dog-like personality in that they love to play in the water and can be trained to do leashed walks.

What sets this breed apart from others with wildcat ancestry is its strong hunting instincts. A Savannah may not be a good match for households with small pets like fish or hamsters. Despite this need to hunt, this breed has a mild temperament and can get along well with other animals closer to its size.

Savannahs love to jump and can wreak havoc in homes that don’t provide plenty of climbing space. They do best in environments with hiding spots and room to run. They can jump eight feet high, so there’s no space in your home that’s safe from their antics.


15. Toyger

Toyger cat on tree
Image Credit: Kutikova Ekaterina, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 9 – 13 years
Average weight: 7 – 15 pounds
Personality traits: Calm, friendly, outgoing

Toygers are a newer designer breed with a deliberate tiger-like appearance. It was bred from a domestic short-haired cat and a Bengal to have a domestic cat with a striped coat.

Toygers are playful and friendly. They tend to get along with other pets just fine and love spending time with their families. They can learn tricks just like their Bengal cousins, and some even have performed in agility competitions.

Their high intelligence level requires stimulation daily. Owners will need to provide plenty of opportunities for play and for challenging their cleverness.

Final Thoughts

This list of 15 designer cat breeds is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea of what types of hybrid cats there are out there. If you’re considering adopting a designer cat, do plenty of research beforehand. Many of these breeds have wildcat ancestry and may not align well with your home, family, or goals as a pet owner.

 

Featured Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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