Kurilian Bobtail – Main Forms of the Tail

Ekaterina Grosheva and
Julia Melukova

Svetlana Ponomareva
and Julia Melukova

The Kurilian bobtail’s phenomenon consists in its tail. Every Kurilian bobtail has its unique tail. The tail could be called pompon for its appearance. But its structure may differ. The best way is to say “short tail”, “twisted” or “spiral tail”.
It is absolutely impossible to find two identical tails. The tail serves cats for something like human fingerprints. The tail is as individual as possible. Such a diversity of tails gives still more charm to this breed.

Approved on June 16-17, 2001, in Moscow by the International Collegium of experts-felinologists, the standard currently in force describes the tail as short one in the forms of “whisk”, “spiral”, “snag” or “delayed bobtail”, being bushy. The visible length (without hair) comes to 3-8 cm. The tail consists of 2-10 vertebrae, kinked many times in various directions and with different degree of articulation.
The expert has to establish visible length of the tail, quantity of vertebrae, curves and their angles, flexibility or rigidity of vertebrae junction as well.
The breeders usually subdivide the tails into relative forms in order to describe their pets.

“Snag”tail_01 short cut snag

This form of tail mostly consists of 2-8 vertebrae, strongly deformed as if they stick between them. The vertebrae joint rigidly. The kinks are felt like knobs.

tail_02 spiral snagThe short-cut “snag” usually consists of 2-3 still and rigid vertebrae. The presence of a skin pouch on such a tail may testify that the laying of vertebrae was meant for bigger length. But for some reason, the vertebrae resorbed or simply deformed in the process of embryogeny. The vertebrae of such a tail may coil up, but it is impossible to determine the direction of cockling due to very close fitting. Sometimes, such a “snag” ends with 1-2 vertebrae, thin enough and pointed aside. As is often the case, the vertebrae of so-called “snag with outgrowth” keep partial flexibility.
tail_03 snag outgrowth It is difficult to count the exact number of vertebrae as, very often, only the outgrowth can be felt. So the expert may indicate by mistake on the result sheet that the tail consists of 1 vertebra only. The situation can be clarified when finding the tail base or having roentgenogram. In all cases, the expert must be very experienced.

“Spiral”tail_04 spiral sideway down

This type of tail is the most beautiful and preferable. This tail consists of 5-10 vertebrae deformed in the manner that they form sharp angles in their junctions. These sharp angles permit the tail to coil up. The “spiral” may look like a halfbagel or fishhook.

tail_05 fishhook

The vertebrae junctions can be articulated or semi-rigid. It can also represent the combination of articulated and rigid sections. In this case the cat is able to wag with one or several sections of its tail. Such tails may be long enough if the vertebrae are not so deformed. At the same time, semi-longhairs camouflage the tail length with hair. The shorthairs having spiral tail look very amusingly, if the tail size is in good proportion to the body.tail_06 sideway back
The knitting of the spiral or fishhook-shaped tail base with or their close laying along sacrum is also possible. Then, it is difficult to measure real length of the tail. It is true especially for short spiral tail.


tail_07 whiskThis form of tail consists of 5-15 vertebrae. The length usually runs up to 5-13 cm or 2/3 of normal tail length. The vertebrae curve at obtuse angle. They may keep partial flexibility in some junctions of the tail.  The vertebrae may form one or two strongly pronounced kinks. Such type of “whisk” will look like zigzag. The tail of semi-longhairs is usually bushy and proportionates to the body. But the same tail of shorthairs may look somewhat absurdly.
The standard currently in force allows this form of tails. But a judge must record that the length exceeds 5 cm and the tail does not harmonize with the body.

“Delayed bobtail”

This form of tail commences as normal one. In other words it is straight and free from defects for the space of 5-7 vertebrae, but it ends with a hook consisting of some other deformed vertebrae of different degree of articulation. At botail_08 delayed bobtailttom of fact, the hook represents a spiral or a zigzag. The alternation of curved and straight sections makes odd combinations. It is especially typical for the first descendants of female cats with normal tail.  A kink of the first vertebra may appear with age. Then the tail is directed upward forming so called “squirrel tail”.  The “delayed bobtail” is a fault. The excessive length of straight section represents the corporal defect of a pedigreed cat. Today the owners use such cats for breeding once at their own discretion, if the animals are of great value as an original color or new bloodline carrier. The inbreeding with such cats is undesirable as there is a risk of getting kittens also with delayed or overly long tails. Such cats will not be allowed to obtain titles even if their tails keep within admissible length.

Comments are closed.