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About the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, heavy boned, yet elegant semi-longhaired cat, the most important features being type and coat quality. Originating in harsh natural conditions, the breed became an outdoor working cat on Norwegian Farms. The appearance of the Norwegian Forest Cat should reflect this natural heritage. The Norwegian Forest Cat matures slowly, and full development of the cat and its coat can take up to four years. A distinctive double coat is required. Coat colour is irrelevant so long as it is not one of the few disallowed colours, such as siamese-pointed. A cat should not be penalised if apparently wrongly registered, as there are no points for colour. The cat should have an alert expression, be in good general condition and well presented.


However, one of the most endearing characteristics of the Norwegian Forest Cat is its temperament - intelligent and fun-loving yet gentle and laid-back, energetic and sociable yet not too demanding - an NFC makes an excellent and rewarding friend for life. As for grooming, this is easily dealt with by means of occasional combing - for their natural coats are largely self-maintaining.  They are “the perfect pet with a hint of the wild” - as a breed they are not the product of planned breeding; and therefore the challenge for today’s breeder is to maintain the breed as nature intended.

History of the breed

Cats similar to Norwegian Forest Cats ('skogkatts') appeared in Nordic folklore for hundreds of years.  However it wasn't until the twentieth century that they became pedigree cats. Breeders in Norway first started showing an interest in the semi-wild Norwegian Forest Cat as early as the 1930’s. Due to the 1939/45 War it was not until the beginning of the 1970s that things really began to happen in earnest for the NFC as a pedigree breed. It had become apparent that if the breed were to be saved from extinction a controlled breeding program must commence. The environment had changed; modernisation spreading into the Norwegian waste lands started to change the landscape so that the cats' habitat was being altered and other pet cats were being imported which could inadvertently mix with and change the traditional type of cat.  If a planned breeding program had not taken place, the Norwegian Forest Cat may not have been preserved. 

The idea of recognition for the Norwegian Forest Cat was taken up by Carl Frederick Nordane and other members of the Norwegian Breed Advisory Committee. They went to see two kittens of approximately six weeks of age, one red and the other brown tabby & white. These kittens were living with the Nyland family near Oslo. The Nylands, together with Freddy were to become the driving force behind the recognition of the Forest Cat. However, at this time it was the brown tabby & white kitten, which caught the interest of the visiting group — this kitten’s name was Pans Truls (pictured) — he was destined to become the Forest Cat to set the standard for all Norwegian Forest Cats. The Breed Advisory Committee took Pans Truls as the breed ideal and set up a standard of points; this is still the basis of the GCCF standard we have today.

GCCF Standard of Points


Triangular, where all sides are equal. Long straight profile without break in line. Forehead slightly rounded. Strong chin.



Large, not rounded, with good width at base. Ear placement high, and open set so that the lines of the ears follow the line of the head down to the chin. With Lynx-like tufts and long hair out of the ears.



Large, oval, well opened, obliquely set and alert expression. All colours allowed.



Big and strongly built, long and muscular with solid bone structure. Having a deep chest and powerful neck.



(and Paws)

High on legs, with back legs longer than front legs. Paws large and round, in proportion to the legs. Tufts of fur between toes.




Long and bushy, should reach at least to the shoulder blades, but preferably to the neck.



Semi-long. the woolly undercoat being covered by a smooth, water repellent overcoat; which consists of long, coarser and glossy guard hairs covering the back, sides and tail. A fully coated cat has a shirtfront, a full ruff and knickerbockers. ( A shorter coat in summer is acceptable).


Colour:- currently in GCCF all listed colours are allowed; except Chocolate, Lilac, Apricot, Caramel, Cinnamon, Fawn and Siamese pattern. Any amount of white is allowed, i.e. white on paws, chest, belly or blaze, locket etc.



Scale of Points


Head  20 Points including general shape, length of nose, profile, chin.
Ears  10 Points including shape and placement.
Eyes  10 Points including shape, size. 
Body  25 Points including overall shape, size, bone, legs, feet and paws. 
Tail  10 Points including length and fur 
Coat  25 Points including quality and texture, length. 

Look for the internal triangle between the eyes and the nose leather; this should reflect the external triangle of the head seen from the front.  A broad, parallel nose bridge can spoil the NFC 'look'.

Cobby, small or delicate build. Break (stop) in profile. Round or square head. Short tail (not reaching to back of shoulder blades.) Short legs. Dry, knotted coat or too soft a coat. Small ears. Round eyes. Any veterinary defect as listed by the GCCF.
NFCs in Britain

It is believed that the first NFCs were brought into this country during 1986/87 from Holland and Norway respectively. Since then, significant numbers of NFCs have been imported from all parts of continental Europe by a band of dedicated breeders. This has given the UK NFC breed an excellent and quite diverse gene pool and enabling us today to produce a quality of cat that can rival those found in the breed’s native land. 

The breed was fortunate to be sponsored in the UK by the Colourpoint, Rex Coated and AOV Club who at that time (before the existence of BACs) sponsored the breed and supported our application with the GCCF for recognition. The breed gained preliminary recognition with the GCCF in late 1989, allowing the first NFCs to be exhibited at the Supreme Show in May 1990.  Since then the breed has gone from strength to strength in Britain, winning many high titles and gaining in popularity due to the breed's easy-care beauty and delightful temperament.

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