8 Gorgeous Harlequin Cat Breeds (With Pictures!)

Harlequin cats are characterized by their beautiful coats. Their coats have a pattern that is primarily white, with smaller spots of other colors. These patches of other colors are often found on the legs, head, and body. They also typically have a colored tail. Usually, they are black and white, but they can also have other colors.

This coat pattern is not officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association, but other cat associations such as the FIFE and IDP do recognize it. The Harlequin pattern lies somewhere between the bicolor and Van patterns.

8 harlequin cat breeds

If you’re interested in getting a cat with this pattern, knowing which breeds can have it is important. Otherwise, it’s impossible to know what cat to look for! For that reason, we’re going to go over the top 8 breeds that can have a Harlequin pattern. Let’s get into it!


Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese bobtail is a breed of domestic cat that has its roots in Japan. They are known for their short tails, which are said to be the result of a natural mutation.

The Japanese Bobtail is an active, playful, and intelligent cat. They are curious by nature and enjoy exploring their surroundings. This breed is known for its friendly and outgoing personality, and they often seek out human interaction. Japanese Bobtails often get along well with children and other pets, and they make excellent household companions. 

This breed is medium-sized, short-haired, and with a distinctive bobbed tail. They are usually a light to medium brown, with a white underbelly, and they may have stripes or patches of black on their fur.


Turkish Van

Mari Moreshead, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish Van is a breed believed to have originated in eastern Turkey. They are a long-haired breed that usually has the distinctive Van pattern on their coat, although they can also have the Harlequin pattern.

They are typically affectionate and loving, but a study from Finland showed that they might be more prone to fearfulness and aggression. In addition, they might have a lower stress tolerance than other cat breeds. Nevertheless, if you treat them with patience and respect, they’re great companions.


Colorpoint Shorthair

The Colorpoint Shorthair is a cat breed that was created by breeding the Siamese with the American Shorthair. As a result, these cats are very similar to the Siamese. The difference is that Colorpoint shorthairs can have colors that are different from the 4 traditional Siamese colors (seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac point). 

They are very affectionate, outgoing, and loving cats that love playing and spending time with humans. They’re often described as being the extroverts of the cat world due to their outgoing nature. Nevertheless, they can also be quite sensitive, and often do not respond well to a constantly changing environment. Like their Siamese brothers, they can be quite vocal and demanding.


Munchkin Cat

image credit: siru__tteok_

The Munchkin cat is most famous for its short legs. Something that fewer people know is that they can also have a Harlequin patterned coat.

Munchkin cats are a new breed of cat that was first developed in the early 1990s. The breed was developed by crossing a short-legged domestic cat with a Siamese cat. The goal of the cross was to create a new breed of cat with a naturally short-legged appearance, in which they succeeded. Since then, the Munchkin cat has been bred with a variety of other cat breeds resulting in a wide range of cats that have short legs.

Munchkins are typically active and playful cats. They enjoy playing games and are often very curious. Munchkins are typically trusting and affectionate cats, and make good lap cats.


British Shorthair

image credit: jadejinn

The British Shorthair is a breed of domestic cat originating in the United Kingdom. The British Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds and is known for its calm and gentle demeanor. They’re the most popular cat breed in the UK, and among the most popular cat breeds in the world.

The British shorthair has a stocky build, broad chest, and large head. The face is round with a short muzzle and a broad, flat nose. The ears are small and rounded, and the eyes are large and round. The coat is short, dense, and smooth. The British shorthair comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, white, tabby, calico, and harlequin.


Persian Cat

image credit: yoshi.the.persian.cat

The Persian Cat is a very old cat breed originating from Persia. They were brought to Europe by traders. Persians grew in popularity in the West from the 16th century onward because of their beautiful long coats. Their stunning coats come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, white, van, and harlequin. Because of their beautiful appearance combined with their docile personality they’ve stolen many people’s hearts and have become one of the most popular cat breeds in the world.

The Persian is a sweet, docile cat that loves people. They make good lap cats and are usually very calm. Persians do not like to be left alone for long periods of time and can become very attached to their owners. Persians prefer to live in a serene household where little changes from day to day.


Sphynx Cat

image credit: dare2b-baresphynx

Most people know that Sphynx cats are hairless. Because of this, it might seem a little strange that they can have a harlequin pattern, but they really can! The difference between a harlequin pattern on a Sphynx Cat compared to on other cat breeds is that the Sphynx cat will simply have the pattern shown through the pigment on its skin rather than on its fur.

Sphynx cats are known for their outgoing and friendly temperament. One study performed by Asselineau and Abitol in 2012 discovered that the Sphynx cat was rated as the most affectionate cat breed in the world!

Besides being affectionate, they are also very playful and love to be around people. Because of their affectionate and playful nature, they do not enjoy being left alone for long periods of time.


Norwegian Forest Cat

image credit: zoeyandzanzicats

The Norwegian Forest cat is a domesticated cat breed that originates from the cold forests of Norway. To protect themselves from the cold, these cats have a long and thick coat. This coat comes in many different colors and patterns, including the harlequin pattern.

Norwegian Forest Cats are typically friendly, good-natured cats that enjoy being around people. While they enjoy the presence of people, they’re not typically lapcats and too much attention can sometimes be overwhelming for them. Norwegian Forest Cats are also known for being very good hunters, and they love to play fetch and other games.


Is a Harlequin cat right for you?

There you have it, the top 8 cat breeds that can sport the beautiful harlequin pattern. The cats that can have this pattern range from the long-haired Norwegian forest cat to the almost hairless Sphynx cat, so there’s something for everyone. Did you manage to pick out a favorite?

Jesse A.