Siberian vs Norwegian Forest Cat: A Comprehensive Comparison

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

siberian vs norwegian forest cat

As our feline friends have so many breeds, coming in all shapes and sizes, it may be hard to choose. You may be down to deciding between the Siberian and Norwegian forest cat.

In this article, we will get into the several characteristics these two share and differ in. Starting from their physical attributes to their temperaments.

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the difference between the Siberian vs Norwegian Forest cat and figure out which of the two would be the perfect fit for you and your family!

Siberian Cat Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Origin: Russia
  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 13 – 25 lbs (6 –  11 kg)
  • Color: Comes in any color
  • Personality: friendly, affectionate, sociable, easy to train, and loyal
  • Domesticated: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Price: $1200 – $4000
  • Origin: Norway
  • Height: 9-12 inches
  • Weight: 10 – 20 lbs (4.5 – 9 kg)
  • Color: Comes in any color, except chocolate, lilac, or any white markings.
  • Personality: Intelligent, playful, affectionate, independent, and curious
  • Domesticated: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Price: $400-$1500



As their name suggests their origins, the Siberian cat comes from Siberia, Russia, while the Norwegian cat originates from Norway.

Both breeds come from and are suited for colder climates that go well with their long-fur coats.

  • Siberian cats are a cross between domesticated and wild cats. They were naturally developed and are native to Russia, then after the Berlin Wall, they moved on and migrated to Germany, other European countries, and eventually to America.
  • As for the Norwegian forest cats, they are a natural breed. They are considered Norway’s national cat. Adorably dubbed as “Viking Cats,” where some experts believe they have existed for centuries.

The Norwegian forest cat has presumptively been cited in oral histories as there were tellings of the existence of “a large, long-haired cat well adept at climbing mountains.”

They were also included in Norse mythology that Thor, the God of Thunder, could not lift the cat himself, as it was Jorgunmand, a child of Loki, who had disguised himself as a cat.

Differences Between Siberian vs Norwegian Forest Cat

For the characteristics of the Siberian and Norwegian Forest cats, we’ll focus on their origins, physical traits, personalities, lifespan, and even price to see if they match you and your family.

1. Size


Both cats are of medium-large sizes. In a cat size comparison to an average housecat (9-10 inches), the two can be considered quite long. As the Siberian forest cat size can be as long as 12 inches, and the Norwegian cat length is about the same.

Furthermore, they are also rather big cats; however, the Norwegian forest cat seems very well-balanced due to its bone structure, while the Siberian is pretty strong.

2. Color


These two cat breeds can range in any color. Below are the common coats found in Siberian cats:

  • Solid color (white, black, blue-gray, red, cream)
  • Bi-color (black and white, blue and white, gray and white, etc.)
  • Smoke (blue, black, cream, etc.)
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tabby (brown, blue, white, gray, etc.)

The Norwegian forest cat comes in most of these colors too, yet it does have chocolate, lilac, or any white markings similar to Siberian cats. Furthermore, tabby colors are the most common among Norweigan forest cats.

3. Appearance


Regarding the physical traits that help you differentiate between the two cats, you might want to check out their head, eye, and body shapes.

Siberian cat Norwegian forest cat
Head shape Head is pretty round with a small slope above the nose Its head resembles a longtriangular
Body shape Barrel-shaped body More muscular and longer

Back legs are a bit higher than front legs

Eye shape Round and pretty large

A bit apart from each other

Almond-shaped and large

4. Personality


The Siberian and Norwegian forest cats are known to be affectionate personality type. They are friendly, pleasant, and considered both family and pet-friendly. You can introduce them to just about anyone; they’d be open to snuggling up next to them.

5. Domesticated


As for domestic life, Norwegian cats can still be considered more reserved and can be comfortably left at home in comparison to Siberian cats who are much more accustomed to being active around others, but wouldn’t mind being a lap cat, as well.

Otherwise, both are intelligent and easy to train that can meld in great with you at home.

6. Hypoallergenic


Regarding being hypoallergenic, Siberian cats have one over Norwegian Forest cats as they are known to produce less allergenic proteins than most cat breeds.

Though since there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic cat, reactions can still vary from person to person, and it is important to spend some time with them before taking them home as a precaution.

7. Lifespan


The life expectancy of cats heavily depends on a cat’s health, diet, and environment. Domestic cats can live up to 12-14 years old, whereas wild cats can live as long as 16 or more.

The Siberian forest cat has a lifespan of 8-10 years, which is quite young compared to the average lifespan of cats, and the Norwegian forest cat can live up to 12-15 years old.

8. Price


Due to their rarity in the US, the two purebreds come with a hefty price. The Norwegian forest cat can go between $400 up to$1500 and the Siberian cat to $1200-$1500.

Which is Right for You?


When choosing between the Siberian and Norwegian forest cat, it’ll boil down to your lifestyle and preferences.

If you are often away from home, the Norwegian cat may suit you better as they are comfortable being left alone but would snuggle up to you when they have a chance.

However, if you live with more children and/or pets who may want to play more, between the Norwegian forest cat vs Siberian cat, a Siberian cat may be a better option for you.


In conclusion, even when you’re leaning towards either the Siberian vs Norwegian forest cat, it is important to remember owning a cat is a long-term commitment and not a pastime.

It is essential to consider all factors as to their size, personality, and other potential effects to your lifestyle and as well as the cat’s well-being, before bringing one of these furry friends home. Once you’ve considered all things, then you are ready to welcome a new member to your family!

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