If asked to name a pedigree cat breed, the Siamese would certainly be one of the first that most people came up with, because they are so distinctive, exotic looking and generally historically popular in the UK as a favoured pedigree breed.
However, it might surprise you to learn that the Siamese cat doesn’t even make it into the top five most popular breeds in the UK based on Pets4Homes’ data collated over the last two years, instead falling into the sixth spot with several other breeds that you may not expect currently being more popular.
So, is the Siamese cat still a popular pedigree breed in the UK, or have they started to fall out of fashion? In this article, we will attempt to find out. Read on to learn more.
Based on data collected over the last two years, the Siamese cat is the sixth most popular based on advertisement data on Pets4Homes. The other breeds that beat the Siamese are, in descending order:
As you can see, there are a couple of potential surprises in the list-the Siamese of course being in sixth place, but the Persian too falls lower than many people would expect, being beaten out by the Ragdoll, a breed that was actually founded using Persian stock.
So, how come the Siamese isn’t quite as common or popular as you may think? Let’s look at it in more detail.
If you take another look at the top six UK cat breeds as notated above, you will observe that only of of them is a breed that was founded in the UK-the top positioned breed, the British shorthair. The Bengal, Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds all originate from the USA, and really only begun to be exported internationally in large numbers over the last decade. Combined with the continuing spread of the internet and its usage internationally, this means that not only can UK cat lovers potentially buy foreign breeds much more easily than they would have been able to historically, but that potential buyers in the UK now have access to mush more information about different cat breeds, including those from abroad.
While the Siamese cat breed wasn’t founded in the UK-they in fact come from Thailand-historically known as Siam-hence the breed name, the Siamese cat has been a popular import since the 1880’s, and the breed is now very firmly established in the UK and cats are rarely imported rather than home-grown.
This means that up until the late 20th century, there was a much smaller number of pedigree cat breeds commonly available in the UK, as breeds such as the Bengal were only beginning to gain a foothold in their country of origin, and other breeds popular elsewhere such as the Maine Coon were not exported in great numbers.
Ergo, if you saw a pedigree cat out and about, the chances are that it would be one of a comparatively small number of breeds, such as the Persian or Siamese. As a natural result of this, the number of Siamese cats around would have been sufficient that they would come to the attention of other cat lovers which in turn increases demand, and additionally, portrayal of the Siamese cat in popular culture (such as Disney’s Lady and the Tramp) would further enforce their desirability and exoticness.
The Siamese is one of those “Marmite” breeds-few people have no opinion about them, and people generally either love them or hate them! On the plus side, they are beautiful looking, very elegant, and bond strongly with their owners. They often follow them around the house and disliking to be left alone.
They also tend to be rather chatty, and like to be the centre of attention! While these traits are highly appealing to many, for others a cat that it so potentially loud, demanding and unusual would be a nightmare-and it is fair to say that many people who get their first Siamese cat have no idea what they are letting themselves in for, and not everyone gets to grips with it well!
This means that there is a fairly firm divide in the UK between Siamese fans and those that find them too high maintenance or even in some cases, unsettling, meaning that they are not a universally popular breed.
When it comes to the breeds that compete with the Siamese for popularity in the rankings, it is interesting to note that a huge number of popular modern breeds have Siamese ancestry-including the breed in second place on our list, the Bengal cat. Other breeds that were created with Siamese lineage include the Tonkinese, Oriental shorthair and the Havana brown, and so if you count up pedigree cats in the UK that are technically part Siamese, the numbers rise!
Whether or not the Siamese breed will ever climb back into the top five position in terms of UK breed popularity is uncertain-but with so many other pedigree breeds relying on Siamese input, the breed is in no danger of becoming truly rare any time soon!