The Siberian Cat Breed, from www.yourcat.co.uk

A large semi-longhair cat, the Siberian came from a harsh environment, evolving on the streets of St Petersburg and the farms of rural Russia. To cope with this, the coat is dense with a heavy undercoat and a longer, weatherproof outer coat. Siberians come in all colours and markings, including colourpoints which are thought to have occurred naturally rather than being the result of outcrossings. The only colours not allowed are chocolate and cinnamon.

A study in America (although not a scientific one) found this breed less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people who normally suffer: the Siberian was said to be deficient in the allergen in the saliva which could cause a reaction. In temperament, this breed is described as affectionate yet independent, and like Maine Coons, Siberians talk to their owners in a chirruping tone. They are still relatively rare in the UK.