Scottish Fold Profile – History, Appearance & Temperament

History   Appearance   Temperament      Health     Suitable for

Scottish Fold cat
Image Soon Koon, Flickr

Scottish Fold at a glance:

  • Origins: Scotland, 1961.
  • Also known as: Scot Fold
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Eyes: Hazel, green, gold, blue
  • Energy: Low
  • Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, sweet and loyal
  • Weight: Males 5 – 6 kg (11 – 13.2 lbs), females 4 – 5.5 kg (8.8 – 12.1 lbs)
  • Colours: All colours and patterns accepted
  • Grooming: Requires weekly grooming


The most recognised feature of the Scottish Fold is the curled down ears, giving the breed a beautiful round face. They are a friendly, gentle and sweet breed who like nothing more than being close to their human companions.

The Scottish Fold is a somewhat controversial breed of cat with many veterinarians calling for the breed to be banned due to concerns over the health of the breed.

History of the Scottish Fold:

Scottish Fold cat
Image Arthur Ivanov, Flickr

The first Scottish Fold appeared as a spontaneous mutation in 1961. Susie, a white kitten with folded down ears was born on a farm near Coupar Angus in Scotland. A neighbouring farmer and cat enthusiast by the name of William Ross noticed Susie’s unusual ears which he pointed out to Susie’s owners, Mr. and Mrs. McRae. Two years later, Susie had a litter of kittens, producing two offspring with folded ears. A white female named Snooks was given to William Ross.  Snooks was bred, producing more offspring. At this point, the new breed was called Lop Eared Cats.

A London-based breeder by the name of Pat Turner visited the Ross’s, returning home with a male called Snowdrift. She began an experimental breeding programme with the breed. Patricia convinced the Ross’s to change the name to Fold.

Three of Snowdrift’s descendants arrived in the United States in the early 1970’s and the breed received championship status with the CFA in 1978. However, some registering bodies no longer/refuse to accept Scottish Folds due to the effects the fold gene has on the breed (see below).

Effects of the Scottish Fold gene on the body:

The ears are in the normal pricked position at birth but start to bend forward around four weeks of age. The gene responsible for the folded ears is known as the Fd gene which causes the cartilage of the ear to fold forwards. The Fd is a dominant gene with incomplete penetrance. Only one copy of the gene is required for the offspring to inherit the trait. The heterozygous Scottish fold will have one copy of the Fd and one copy of the non-fd gene, ie: Fdfd. The chart below explains this.

Unfortunately, the gene responsible for the folded ears also has an impact on the skeletal system. Known as osteodystrophy or osteochondrodysplasia, this condition affects cartilage throughout the body including bone lesions, thickening of the tail, bones in the hind legs becoming thickened and arthritic, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Scottish Folds should never be mated to Scottish Folds as the offspring will be homozygous (ie, have two sets of the Fd gene, making it double strength, so to speak), resulting in debilitating skeletal deformities. Permitted outcrosses are the British Shorthair and American Shorthair.

Appearance of the Scottish Fold:

Scottish Fold
Image britfatcat, Flickr

The Scottish Fold is a medium-sized cat, with a solid/cobby body.  The most prominent feature of the breed is the ears which point downwards and forwards, which gives the head and face a round appearance. This folding occurs to differing degrees, but the more tightly folded and smaller the ears, the better.

The coat of the Scottish Fold is short and dense. Most coat colours can be found in the Scottish Fold, except colourpoint.

Scottish Fold cat
Image catiful, Flickr

The Scottish Fold is a quiet breed of cat. They are affectionate, intelligent, softly spoken, sweet and loyal. Scottish Folds get on with people and other household animals and children.

If you are out of the house for long periods of time, it is recommended you adopt two cats for company.


The Scottish is are prone to developing arthritis in their middle to senior years due to osteodystrophy, a disease characterised by a thickening of the cartilage in the joints.

Suitable for:

The Scottish fold makes a great family pet as they get along with children, cats, and dogs.

Scottish Fold Lifespan:

12-14 years.

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