Burmese vs Ragdoll – A Breed Comparison

Burmese and Ragdoll cats are two of the most popular cat breeds in the world. Known as two of the most affectionate and friendly cat breeds out there, they have gained significant popularity over the years. Let’s dive into the breed history, features, and personalities of these two cat breeds to discover what they have in common and what are the biggest Burmese vs Ragdoll differences.

Breed History

Champagne Burmese Theo Mitchell Seasedge Burmese Nova Scotia Canada IMG_2868 Burmese vs Ragdoll
Champagne Burmese Cat owned by Theo Mitchell, Seasedge Burmese & Bombays, Nova Scotia Canada

One of the biggest differences between the histories of Burmese and Ragdoll cats is that the Burmese is a natural breed (has developed due to adaptation to the environment that has occurred naturally) originating from Burma, while the Ragdoll is a crossbreed developed in the United States.

The origins of the Burmese

As suggested by the name of the breed, this cat is originally from Burma, now officially named Myanmar. According to the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), it made its way to the US in the 1930s when Dr. Joseph Thompson from San Francisco brought a small brown female Burmese cat named Wong Mao. He bred her with Siamese cats and eventually developed a new brown coat color named Sable through selective breeding.

Sable Burmese kittens Theo Mitchell Seasedge Burmese Nova Scotia Canada IMG_4898
Sable Burmese kittens owned by Theo Mitchell, Seasedge Burmese & Bombays, Nova Scotia Canada

The Sable Burmese cat then got official recognition from the CFA and the Burmese breed was included in the championship. While Sable was the color recognized officially, the other Siamese colors were eventually noticed in Burmese litters. Eventually, the CFA recognized four official colors in Burmese cats:

  • Sable – dark brown
  • Champagne – warm beige
  • Platinum – pale gray with fawn undertones
  • Blue – medium gray with fawn undertones

Burmese can come in up to 10 colors depending upon what the respective Association accepts. The common 4 are sable (the original), champagne, blue and platinum. There are also breed differences between the Foreign or European Burmese and Burmese. They are two distinct breeds in many cat organizations.

The origins of the Ragdoll

Seal Mitted Ragdoll Kitty Kitty Cayenne proudly owned and loved by Judith Gil IMG-0645
Seal Mitted Ragdoll Kitty, Cayenne, proudly owned and loved by Judith Gil

The Ragdoll cat was created in the 1960s by Ann Baker. To develop the very first Ragdoll cat, she bred Josephine, a white female Angora Persian cat with a Himalayan coat pattern to a Birman male with a long coat. This proved to be a very interesting combination in terms of coat texture, ultimately developing into the rich non-matting Ragdoll coat.

It wasn’t until 1965 that Ragdolls were officially recognized by the National Cat Fanciers Association. Ragdolls also had a controversial journey through cat shows, with certain colors still not unanimously recognized between associations today. It was Denny and Laura Dayton who introduced Ragdolls to cat shows. They purchased a pair of cats from Ann Baker herself and took them to American, then English cat shows.

Burmese vs Ragdoll – Features

The Ragdoll is a large-sized cat with a rich impressive long-sized coat. Underneath its beautiful fur, it has a long and muscular body. It has a broad chest, a short neck, and very sturdy legs. It comes in nine color variants (which we list below) and it has piercing blue eyes.

The Burmese is a short-sized cat with a compact muscular body with heavy boning. Its defining characteristic is that it is rounder all over – from its head to the tips of its ears, its eyes, and even its feet. It comes in four official color variants (and quite a few others that have yet to be officially recognized) and it has gold-yellow eyes.

Sable Burmese Theo Mitchell Seasedge Burmese Nova Scotia Canada IMG_3888
Sable Burmese Cat owned by Theo Mitchell, Seasedge Burmese & Bombays, Nova Scotia Canada


There are few similarities between the features seen in these two cat breeds. While they might be similar in other aspects such as their personalities, Burmese and Ragdoll cats are quite different when it comes to physical features.


Burmese and Ragdoll cats differ significantly in terms of size and weight. The Burmese is a small-sized cat. On average it is 7-10 inches from nose to tail, with males weighing 8-12 pounds and females 6-10 pounds. The Ragdoll, on the other hand, is a large-sized cat with an average length of 18.5-21 inches from nose to tail. Males typically weigh 12-21 pounds and females 8-15 pounds.

Burmese vs Ragdoll – Coat Color

Burmese and Ragdolls are quite different when it comes to coats. The Burmese is a short-haired cat, while the Ragdoll is long-haired. Let’s see what the similarities and differences between them are.


When it comes to Ragdolls and Burmese cats, the biggest similarity between them is that they are both low-maintenance cats in terms of grooming. The Burmese is a short-haired cat with a rich coat, so brushing it once a week or even less often will be enough to keep it looking good.

Platinum Burmese Theo Mitchell Seasedge Burmese Nova Scotia Canada IMG_0326
Platinum Burmese Cat owned by Theo Mitchell, Seasedge Burmese & Bombays, Nova Scotia Canada

Ragdoll cats are also low-maintenance grooming-wise, which is surprising when it comes to long-haired cats. Ragdolls don’t have an undercoat, which means that they shed far less than other cats with long coats. It also means that they do not have a tendency to develop mats and tangles, which makes them easy to groom.

These two cat breeds are also low shedders, particularly Burmese cats. As for Ragdolls, it’s their lack of undercoat that prevents them from shedding as much, which makes them atypical longhaired cats.


The biggest difference between Burmese and Ragdolls is in coat color. While they might share the color blue, the rest of the accepted colors for each breed are different.

Ragdoll Coat Colors

Bi-Color Ragdoll Cinnamon proudly owned and loved by Judith Gil IMG-6026
Seal Bi-Color Ragdoll, Cinnamon, proudly owned and loved by Judith Gil

There are only eight Ragdoll cat colors officially accepted by associations. The solid color in Ragdolls remains a controversial aspect, as many associations do not recognize it yet.

  • Blue – deep gray on its points (ears, nose, legs, tails, and on their bodies)
  • Seal – dark brown on its points
  • Chocolate – light brown on its points
  • Lilac – frosty grey with a pinkish tinge on its points
  • Cream – cream/ivory color
  • Tortie – calico
  • Mink – dark version of blue, lilac, red, seal, and tortie
  • Red – dark orange/red
  • *Solid (not officially recognized) – blue, lilac, red, seal, or tortie on their whole bodies

Burmese Coat Colors

There is an ongoing controversy surrounding coat colors in Burmese cats. Initially, the only color recognized officially was Sable because this was considered a central feature of the new cat developed by Dr. Thompson. However, Burmese cats come in many other colors. Presently, there are four colors unanimously accepted for this breed:

  • Blue – medium gray with fawn undertones
  • Champagne – warm beige
  • Platinum – pale gray with fawn undertones
  • Sable – dark brown

Here are some other colors present in Burmese cats:

  • Lilac – similar to the blue Burmese, but with a slightly purplish hue on the face, paws, and tail.
  • Red – dark orange/rust with lighter tones on their underbelly and chest
  • Cream – soft beige
  • Chocolate – lighter than sable, mocha brown
  • Tortoiseshell

Burmese vs Ragdoll – Personalities

It’s not only their dazzling looks that have brought Burmese and Ragdoll cats their popularity. Their affectionate personalities have made these highly sociable cats the cat-lover-favorites they are today. Let’s see what these two breeds have in common and what sets them apart.

13-year old seal mitted with a blaze ragdoll cat Charlie IMG_3251
13-year old seal mitted with a blaze Ragdoll cat, Charlie


Burmese and Ragdoll cats are very much alike when it comes to how adaptable and sociable they are. They are both highly affectionate to their owners, and they are also very good with children and dogs, which makes them excellent family pets.

Another common trait they have is how easily they connect with strangers. However, the Ragdoll is known particularly for this. In fact, there’s even an urban myth about how Ragdolls are so friendly that anybody can pick them up and just walk away with them. While Ragdolls are certainly very sociable cats, this is simply a stereotype.

These two cats form strong bonds with their owners and love spending time with them, but they are not particularly demanding in terms of seeking attention. They will be happy just to be close to their humans.

Both Burmese and Ragdoll cats are highly intelligent cats. In fact, Burmese cats are known to be one of the brightest cat breeds. Ragdolls and Burmese cats thrive on interactive playtime activities, so make sure you spend enough time with your cat. It is very important that they are stimulated intellectually, so look into interactive cat toys that they can play with on their own while you are not home.

Both of these cats are lap cats, so there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to spend your evenings watching TV with your Burmese or Ragdoll kitty purring on your lap. When it comes to temperaments and personalities, there are no guarantees. Each animal is unique and has a personality of its own based on its environment, its interaction with its owners, and how much time they spend together.


There are very subtle differences between Ragdolls and Burmese cats. Ragdolls have an affectionate temperament and love to spend time with their owners, while Burmese cats have a curious temperament and thrive on playing with their family.

Another key difference between these two breeds is in vocalization. While the Ragdoll is quite a silent cat, the Burmese is the exact opposite, meowing often and having conversations with its owners. Please keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Each cat develops its own temperament and may be different from the breed description.

As you can see, Burmese and Ragdoll cats are quite different. One is a small-sized cat with short fur, while the other is a long-sized cat with long fur. But they do share some key characteristics, such as their rich coats that are easy to groom and how both of them shed very little. These two intelligent cats are sociable, child-friendly, and dog-friendly, which makes both Burmese and Ragdolls excellent family pets and companions.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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One Comment

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    TYSVM for such great info, Jenny honey. So many pawesome breeds to learn about. Love the breed comparison posts! 😉 <3

    Big hugs, lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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