Coat length (long- or short-haired)

Characteristic and trait of inheritance

Coat colours, patterns and texture are determined by the combined action of several genes, only one gene - FGF5 - determines hair length in cats.
To date four different mutations in the FGF5 gene have been identified that are associated with the hair-length differences (M1-M4). Three of them are fairly breed specific (M1-M3), M4 is present in all long-haired cat breeds and crossbreds.
Long-haired coat length is inherited a an autosomal recessive trait, therefore cats that are carriers of the long hair mutation will appear to be normal (short hair) themselves but will likely pass on the long-hair mutation with a probability of 50%.
Long-haired cats can either carry two copies of the same mutation (homozygote recessive) or have two different mutations one on each chromosome (compound heterozygote).

LABOKLIN offers a test for coat length that detects the four currently known mutations in cats. It is possible that there are other mutations causing long hair which have not yet been identified.
The DNA test allows to distinguish between the following genotypes:

N/N: Cat has short hair. None of the 4 long hair mutations detected. Cat cannot produce long-haired kittens.

N/M1, N/M2, N/M3 or N/M4: Cat has short hair and carries one copy of a long hair mutation. Cat can produce short and long-haired kittens depending on genotype of the mate.

M1/M1, M2/M2, M3/M3 or M4/M4: Cat has long hair and will produce only long-haired kittens when bred to a long-haired mate.

M1/M2, M1/M3, M1/M4, M2/M3, M2/M4, M3/M4: Cat has long hair and carries two different long hair mutations (compound heterozygote). Cat will produce only long-haired kittens when bred to other long-haired cats.

By DNA testing, the responsible mutation can be shown directly. This method provides a test with a very high accuracy and can be done at any age. It offers the possibility to distinguish not only between short- and longhaired cats, but also to identify shorthaired carriers of the long hair mutation.


All breed

Test duration

1-2 weeks after arrival of the sample in the lab


The DNA test is performed out of EDTA blood or buccal swabs. Required swabs can be ordered free of charge. (Buccal swab order-form). If a swab is sent in, possibly the genetic material is not sufficient to run the test. In this case it would be best to send in an EDTA blood sample.

Testing procedure

Please send in your sample together with the lab order genetic. Results will be transmitted optionally via post, fax or email. After completion of the test you will receive a separate invoice. Payment can be made via credit card or bank transfer.
Breeding club discounts apply if a copy of the membership card is sent together with the respective samples. Due to administrative reasons the invoiced price can not be altered subsequently.


Please contact our molecular biology team for further questions.

Steubenstraße 4
D-97688 Bad Kissingen

Telefon: +49 (0)971 72020
Fax: +49 (0)971 68546


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