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European vs. American Maine Coon Cat: The Main Differences (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

European Vs American Maine Coon

Nicknamed “The Friendly Giant,” the Maine Coon is a large, domesticated cat with a sweet disposition. European Maine Coons and American Maine Coons are the same cat breed but with some distinct differences. Both types of Maine Coon cats have medium to long fur, tufted ears, and large, well-tufted paws that serve as “snowshoes” during winter. In addition, the European and American Maine Coons come in a variety of colors and patterns, such as solid white, cream, red, blue, black, bi-color, tortoiseshell, or calico.

Are you interested in learning more about these two similar yet different Maine Coon cats? Continue reading to find out more about the two types!

Visual Differences

European Maine Coon vs American Maine Coon

At a Glance

European Maine Coon
  • Origin: Europe
  • Size: 12-18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
American Maine Coon
  • Origin: America
  • Size: 12-18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

European Maine Coon Overview

calico maine coon cat lying on the grass
Image Credit: Aleksei Verhovski, Shutterstock

It may surprise you to learn that the European Maine Coon is simply a Maine Coon that’s been bred in Europe. As mentioned above, the European Maine Coon and American Maine Coon are both the same cat breed. The difference between the two is that breeders in Europe tend to go after a wilder look.

Characteristics & Appearance

European breeders often have Maine Coons with taller ears, more prominent ear tufts, and longer, bushier tails than American breeders of the same breed. The European-bred Maine Coons also have higher cheekbones and large, distinct squarish muzzles.

Once you see photos of European and American Maine Coons side by side, you’ll notice that the European Maine Coons have a very regal look. They have very distinct Lynx-like ears and big square jaws. Some European breeders put such an emphasis on producing kittens with large jaws that the adult Maine Coons they raise have muzzles that almost look square.


European Maine Coon cats are kept mostly as family pets. These are very sweet-natured cats that get along well with people and other pets. These cats are often kept on farms as pets because they’re known as being good mousers.

American Maine Coon Overview

maine coon cat lying on the ground
Image Credit: DieGambe, Pixabay

The American Maine Coon originates in the state of Maine in the United States. While the exact history of the American Maine Coon isn’t known for sure, there’s a popular theory about the breed’s past. It’s thought that ships sailing into New England carried this breed’s ancestors from Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

More specifically, many people believe that a ship captain named Jack Coon brought his long-haired cats to ports along the New England coast, including Maine. While anchored in port, the captain’s cats left the ship and bred with feral cats. These offspring became known as Coon’s cats because they looked so much like his.

Characteristics & Appearance

Compared to Maine Coon cats bred in Europe, the American Maine Coon cats have the same medium to long fur and colors. The American Maine Coons have a softer overall look than their European-bred counterparts. The ears of the American Maine Coons are a bit shorter and less tufted, and their tails aren’t quite as big and fluffy.

The big difference between the American and European Maine Coon is the muzzle size and appearance. The American Maine Coon has a narrower muzzle that’s more natural-looking than the often-exaggerated squarish muzzle of the European Maine Coon.


The American Maine Coon is a popular cat breed that many people keep as pets. These big, fluffy cats are good hunters and are often chosen for their ability to hunt mice. These cats are often kept on farms to keep rodent populations under control.

What Are the Differences Between European Maine Coons & American Maine Coons?

While the European and American Maine Coon cats are the same size and have the same lifespan, there are some visual differences between the two types that we’ve covered above.

If you’ve decided to buy a Maine Coon, know that European Maine Coons tend to cost more than American Maine Coons. This is because European Maine Coon breeders put an emphasis on ensuring their cats have the more prominent features like well-tufted ears, higher cheekbones, fluffier tails, and square jaws.

While an American Maine Coon costs around $800, a European Maine Coon can go for $1,000- $2,000 depending on a few factors, like location, bloodline, health history, etc. If you’re on a budget and can’t justify spending over $1,000 on a cat, you should search for a breeder that has American Maine Coons for sale.

It pays to shop around when looking for a Maine Coon because many breeders specialize in this cat breed. With some luck, you may find a breeder near you that has kittens for sale.

two playful maine coon cats chasing each other in the garden
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Which Breed Is Right for You?

Now that you know that both the European Maine Coon and the American Maine Coon are the same cat breed, it’s up to you to decide which type is right for you. You should know that there are breeders in the United States that specialize in European Maine Coons. These breeders have simply imported cats to breed, so they have the more prominent squarish jaw and longer, more tufted ears.

If you can’t decide which type is right for you, get in touch with several reputable breeders to see what’s available. Maybe you’ll find a breeder with cats of a particular color you like or characteristics you favor. Regardless of whether you pick a European or American Maine Coon, you’ll be getting a big, fluffy cat with a loveable personality!

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Featured Image Credit: Kanashi, Pixabay / Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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