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Home > Cats > 12 Breeds of Calico Cats (With Pictures)

12 Breeds of Calico Cats (With Pictures)

Calico ragdoll cat in the driveway

There’s no mistaking a calico cat when you see one. They have a distinctive coat pattern that truly sets them apart from other cats. They are also like snowflakes: No two calicos look alike.

A calico cat is tri-colored, with a white base color and patches of black and orange in a variety of patterns. However, calico is not a breed; it simply describes the specific coat color of black, orange, and white.

That said, at least 12 cat breeds can have a calico coat. Check out the detailed list, along with other interesting facts about the beautiful calico cat.


The 12 Breeds of Calico Cats

1.  American Shorthair

Cat American shorthair
Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

The American Shorthair is a medium-sized cat with short hair. They are typically good-natured and easy-going and can adapt to various situations. They can make an excellent companion for the entire family, including children.

They come in almost every color and pattern, including calico. But they are most commonly found as tabbies, both regular and white variations.

2.  British Shorthair

young ragdoll british shorthair cat sitting on wooden stool head tilt
Image Credit: Natasha Marie, Shutterstock

The British Shorthair cat has an adorable round face and stocky build and is one of the oldest breeds. They tend to be an affectionate and loving cat that loves spending time with their families.

These cats come in quite a variety of colors and patterns but are famous for their gray/blue coats.

3.  Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex cat
Image Credit: Anna-Stina Takala, Flickr licensed under CC 2.0

The Cornish Rex is definitely an eye-catching cat! Their coat has a wavelike pattern, almost giving them the appearance of a washboard.

These super-social cats love being the center of attention and can do well in a busy household with children and other pets. They come in all patterns and colors.

4.  Devon Rex

Calico Devon Rex cat sitting on the floor
Image Credit: Poppy Pix, Shutterstock

The Devon Rex is a highly intelligent and mischievous cat that loves a busy household. They get along well with other pets but need a human home most of the time. They are often called Velcro cats.

They have wavy coats (not tight waves like the Cornish Rex) and come in all colors and patterns, including calico.

5.  Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Shorthair_Heikki Siltala , Wikimedia
Image Credit: Heikki Siltala , Wikimedia

The Exotic Shorthair is a part of the Persian breed group but has a short and coarse coat. They are quiet, sweet, and gentle and easier to look after than Persians with respect to grooming.

They have round eyes, body, and even tail, as well as a smooshed face. They come in various colors and patterns.

6.  Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtail Cat
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

The Japanese Bobtail is aptly named, as they have a bobtail and hail from Japan. They are an energetic, active cat that is quite playful but also loving.

They are medium in size with a cute little pom-pom tail, and while they come in all colors and patterns, calico is the most common pattern for this breed.

7.  Maine Coon

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

Maine Coons are the gentle giants of cats. They are quite sweet and love just about everyone they meet. They are affectionate, get along with other pets, and fit in nicely with large or small families. These cats are also known for their dense, long coats and the tufts on the ends of their ears.

While Maine Coons are seen most often in a tabby pattern, they can have a large variety of colors and patterns. Maine Coon calicos aren’t that common but they are gorgeous!

8.  Norwegian Forest Cat

Tortoiseshell and White Norwegian Forest Cat
Image Credit: ELENA PETRUNEVA, Shutterstock

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a poofy cat that can be quite large (not as large as the Maine Coon, though). They are playful, calm, friendly, and relatively low maintenance regarding their grooming needs.

Like the Maine Coon, they come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, but they make gorgeous calicos!

9.  Persian

Cute exotic chinchilla Persian calico long hair cat
Image Credit: Esin Deniz, Shutterstock

Persian cats have been around for centuries and are known as much for their fluffy dense coats as their sweet and calm temperaments. These cats prefer a peaceful and quiet environment.

Persians come in many colors, including pointed (which is what Himalayan cats are) and of course, calico.

10.  Scottish Fold

scottish fold cat sitting on wooden table in the garden
Image By: Witsawat.S. Shutterstock

The Scottish Fold, a.k.a. the owl cat, is known for their folded ears. They also tend to be round in appearance, with round eyes and a round head. They are smart and curious cats that love attention and get along with children and pets.

They come in every color and pattern, and they can be long-haired or short-haired and have folded or straight ears.

11.  Turkish Angora

Calico Turkish Angorak
Image By: EVGENII LEONTEV, Shutterstoc

The Turkish Angora is a gorgeous cat in appearance and temperament. They are sweet and affectionate and prefer to spend their time with their families. They are also intelligent and can have a bit of a mischievous streak.

The Turkish Angora is medium in size with silky semi-long hair and is renowned for their white fur and blue eyes. But they come in all traditional colors and patterns.

12.  Turkish Van

The Turkish Van loves water, which is why they are known as the swimming cat. They are energetic, smart, playful, and affectionate. They are similar in appearance to the Turkish Angora with respect to their coat texture.

They tend to be predominantly white with dark coloring on the tail and head. The coloring can be different colors, such as orange and black, but it can also be calico.


Dilute Calicos

Dilute calicos are still calicos cats, just with pale or “diluted” colors. The standard black is gray or blue, and the orange can look pale orange, cream, or tan.

For a cat to have dilute calico coat, both parents must have the recessive gene, but the mother doesn’t have to be a dilute calico herself.


Calicos are often confused with tortoiseshells, also known as torties. Like calicos, tortoiseshells are usually female. The main difference between the two coats involves the white color and the pattern.

Calicos are always white with black and orange patches. Torties have no white and are usually predominantly black, with little splotches of orange. It’s more of a brindle or mottled color, rather than having the distinct patches of the calico.

close up of a tortoiseshell cat
Image By: Pixabay, Pexels

Can Male Cats Be Calico?

Technically, there can be male calicos but they are exceptionally rare. Males make up one out of every 3,000 calicos born. Male calicos are also sterile, so they are unable to breed, though finding a male calico is considered good luck in some cultures.

Here’s how it works: A female cat has two X chromosomes, and a male has an X and a Y chromosome. Calicos must have two X chromosomes, which is why they are predominantly female. The only way for a male to be a calico is for him to have two X chromosomes and one Y, which is incredibly rare.



Some people think that calico cats have a specific temperament, but considering that they are a pattern and color and not a breed, this belief might not be too accurate.

Calicos aren’t always one of the 12 purebreds listed here, as there are plenty of mixed-breed calicos out there. But whatever the breed, calicos are truly one of a kind!

Featured Image Credit: Imaza Images, Shutterstock

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