Ragdoll vs. Himalayan

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan

Buying a cat is a long-term commitment; a healthy cat can live for 15 years or more. It’s essential when choosing a cat that you pick a cat whose personality and needs will fit in with your family.  What are the differences between Ragdoll vs. Himalayan cats?

This article will dive into these two cat breeds to help you better understand them to help make your decision easier.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan

Himalayans and Ragdolls are both gentle, laidback cats who are ideal family and apartment cats. The Ragdoll is bigger, less vocal, and more playful than the smaller, sedate, and more vocal Himalayan. Both cats are tolerant of other animals. The Himalayan requires more grooming than the Ragdoll.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Comparison Factors

Perhaps, you have just started your search for a new kitty companion, or maybe you have already narrowed down the list of potential breeds. Either way, it is crucial to understand the differences and similarities between Himalayans and Ragdolls in order to make an informed choice.

Ragdolls and Himalayans are stunning cats with equally gorgeous personalities. Since Himalayans and Ragdolls are long-haired blue-eyed beauties, and deciding which breed to pick can be a tough choice.

Examining the factors below will give you more insight into each breed to make your decision easier.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Size

Male ragdolls tend to be larger than their female counterparts. They will weigh between 15–20 pounds, whereas females’ average weight is between 10 – 15 pounds.

Originally the Himalayans were much smaller cats due to the influence of Siamese blood. However, since the inclusion of Himalayans into the Persian group, Himalayans’ overall size has increased to match a traditional Persian’s weight; males are often more than 12 pounds and females 8-12 pounds.


A healthy Himalayan can easily live until 15 years old; a few exceptionally hardy cats will even live to celebrate their 20th birthdays.

The Ragdoll can be even longer-lived than the Himalayan. The average lifespan for a Ragdoll is 15-25 years.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Appearance

The Himalayan is a moderately large blue-eyed, long-haired cat. The nose and face should be relatively flat with large, round eyes and a pleasant expression.

The bone structure should give a relatively compact, dense appearance, although the fluffy coat can obscure this. There are 19 accepted color variations, although the color is restricted to the face and extremities.

Ragdolls are longer-legged and larger than Himalayans, but like Himalayans, they also are a pointed blue-eyed breed. They have medium-length coats. They have four pattern variations and 20 color variations, although all ragdolls have an inverted V-shape on their foreheads.

Ragdolls are one of the bigger cat breeds in their class and can take up to 4 years to fully mature. Ragdolls are moderate cats with no extreme features. Instead, they are characterized by gentle-graceful shapes and lines connecting different body structures.

Grooming Needs

Grooming your Ragdoll 2-3 times per week with a slicker brush and comb is usually sufficient to keep your Ragdoll’s coat looking good.

Himalayans, like all Persians, require intensive daily grooming. The long, dense coat of the Himalayan sheds extensively and is prone to becoming tangled and matted.

Ideally, you should have four different brushes for your Himalayan; a slicker brush, a de-matting brush, a de-shedding brush, and a comb for bath times.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Health

Himalayans are vulnerable to a variety of hereditary and congenital conditions. When purchasing a Himalayan from a breeder, it is essential to ensure that the parents have been genetically tested and cleared for:

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Himalayans often develop respiratory and eye problems due to their skulls’ brachiocephalic (flat-faced short-nosed morphology) shape.

When buying a kitten, always confirm with a breeder that the parents have not struggled with respiratory or eye problems. It is better to get a kitten with a slightly longer face to avoid future health issues.

Ragdolls are typically a robust, generally healthy cat breed. The most prevalent hereditary health issue affecting Ragdolls is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).

This condition causes thickening of the cardiac wall and eventually cardiac failure. Luckily, a genetic test has been developed. Your Ragdoll won’t develop HCM if its parents have been tested free of the genes responsible for HCM.

Both Himalayans and Ragdolls will benefit from annual vet checks, a strict vaccination, and deworming/ pest control schedule, as well as highly-quality nutrition, regular grooming, and stress-free living.

Space Required

Neither Ragdolls nor Himalayans require vast amounts of space to be happy. Both cats can quickly adapt to apartment living, especially the ultra-laid back Himalayan.

However, if the cats are apartment cats, they should be encouraged to exercise and be stimulated with various enrichment toys. The higher energy Ragdoll will require more attention, stimulation, and input than the more sedentary Himalayan.


The price of pet Ragdolls is approximately $800, although show-quality Ragdolls can fetch prices close to $2000.

Himalayans show even more price variations than Ragdolls. A Himalayan price can vary between $500 and $2500.

Generally, kittens from reputable breeders will be more expensive than those sold in pet shops, by unethical breeders, or from rescues.

Daily Interactions And Exercise Required

Neither Himalayans nor Ragdolls do well when left alone for long periods, although the Himalayans are marginally more tolerant of alone time than Ragdolls.

The Ragdoll will generally get enough exercise if you play with them, and they have free range of the house with access to appropriate toys.

Ragdoll cat playing in yard

The Himalayan may need more encouragement to play. They can be a bit lazy, and many Himalayans tend towards obesity. Their owners may have to make a concerted effort to get their Himalayan to exercise and play for 1-2 hours every day.

Creating aerial walkways and obstacles within the house for your cat can be very effective, especially if treats are strategically hidden through the house. These hidden “treasures” will encourage your cat to hunt for them and, in doing so, receive some much-needed exercise.


Ragdolls are much easier cats to train than Himalayans due to their high play drive. The affectionate and personable Ragdoll can easily be taught tricks and even games like “fetch.”

The ultra-poised Himalayan requires little housetraining and often behaves as if they are born with manners. Himalayans are very responsive to their owner’s moods and will naturally offer comfort and support if their owners are upset. 

Behavior Differences

Both Ragdolls and Himalayans are gentle, quiet, laidback cats. The Ragdoll was so named for its tendency to go limp when picked up.

Ragdolls have slightly higher energy levels than Himalayans and enjoy spending time with their humans. They are sometimes referred to as puppy-dog cats due to their playful tendency and velcro behavior. They are exceptionally tolerant cats and can do well with other pets and children.

While the Himalayan is unlikely to follow you all over the house, they are more likely to “talk” to their owners, with a characteristic gentle meowling. They enjoy spending time with their owners but, for the most part, would prefer to pick a comfortable sunny spot to take a nap.

Cat Fanciers Association Recognition

In order for a cat breed to be recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), a breed needs to have an established breed standard for temperament, conformation, and color and demonstrate at least three direct generations of cats who meet the breed criteria.

Ragdoll CFA Recognition

In the 1960s, a long-haired feral white cat was captured by Ann Baker to be included in her breeding program. This wild cat was named Josephine. She produced several litters for Ann when she was crossed with Birman and Burmese-like males and has been credited as the founding mother of all ragdolls.

Unlike most breeders, Ann did not attempt to join the CFA. Instead, she established her own breed society, the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA), with a formal breed standard and strict breeding criteria. Cats were not allowed to hold a dual registration with both the IRCA and CFA.

In 1975, Denny and Laura Dayton deregistered their breeding ragdolls from the IRCA and developed a mainstream breed standard for acceptance into the CFA. Due to the work of the Daytons, the CFA formally recognized ragdolls as a distinct cat breed, allowing them to compete in all major shows.

The CFA was only allowed to officially call the cats Ragdolls in 2005 when the trademark on the name “ragdoll” expired and was not renewed.

Himalayan CFA recognition

The recognition of the Himalayan as a distinct breed by the CFA has historically been relatively controversial.

During the 1950s, breeders began outcrossing Persians with Siamese to create the colorpoint Persian or Himalayan. During this time, a British breeder, Brian Sterling-Webb, established a hereditarily stable long-haired colorpoint Persian breed which he called the Himalayan.

On 18 December 1957, Mrs. Gosforth’s application for recognizing the Himalayan as a distinct breed was granted by the CFA. However, the proposed breed standard was identical to the Persian breed standard except for color.

In 1984, the Persian Breed Council distributed a ballot querying member on whether Himalayans should be a separate breed or a Persian subdivision. The identical breed standards of Persians and Himalayans served as justification for this survey.

Despite most members voting to keep the Himalayan a separate breed, the CFA autonomously decided the retract their recognition of the Himalayan breed.

The CFA reclassified them as a subdivision of Persians. Himalayans have been successfully competing in Persian classes since 1984.

Which Breed Is Right For You?

When choosing which breed to go with, you should first make a list of all the criteria important to you and your family.

It can be helpful to identify non-negotiable factors and then prioritize the remaining criteria according to relative importance.

For example, you may want a quieter lazy cat and don’t mind intensive grooming, in which case the Himalayan may be perfect; or perhaps you would prefer a higher energy velcro-cat that is your shadow, in which case a Ragdoll would be the better choice.

Gathering additional information from breeders, owners, and cat associations can be an excellent way to help you make your decision.


There are pros and cons for each cat breed. It is crucial when making your choice that you give due consideration to the cons of each breed as well as the pros. It’s altogether too easy to fall in love with these cats’ looks and personalities without considering the financial and time investments that come with cat ownership.

Ragdolls and Himalayans are easy cats to love. The greatest difficulty in choosing between Ragdolls and Himalayans is only being allowed to select one.

If you aren’t sure that either breed is right for you, check out how the Maine Coon cat compares to the Norwegian Forest cat.