At first glance, some ragdoll cats bear a resemblance to Birman cats. Unlike the Birman, however, the ragdoll has a number of different patterns, all seen in a variety of colors. Even when a ragdoll displays the pointed pattern similar to the Birman, several distinct differences exist between the two breeds.
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The Birman cat is a slow-maturing breed of moderate size and somewhat heavy bone structure. The medium-length, nonmatting coat lacks an undercoat. It comes in one pattern: pointed, in seal and chocolate brown, blue-gray, light gray, red, cream or with tortoiseshell-colored markings on their face, legs and tail. Birmans have four white paws and a golden cast to the cat's body color. Their light to dark blue eyes are almost round. The breed's Roman nose and high cheekbones are two features unique to Birmans. The Birman is a soft-voiced, social breed with a quiet and patient temperament. They get along well with other pets and children.
The ragdoll originated in the 1960s. Like the Birman, the ragdoll is a slow-maturing pointed breed with a medium-length coat. However, the ragdoll has four different marking patterns: colorpoint, mitted, van and bicolor. The two patterns most similar to the Birman are the colorpoint and the mitted. Colorpoint ragdolls have a solid mask and solid markings on their legs and tail. While mitted ragdolls also have the colored points, as well as white markings on their feet and legs, they also have white chins, which Birmans do not. Ragdolls are very large cats, with males reaching up to 20 pounds. They have light to moderate bone structure. Ragdolls are known for their laid back, affectionate temperaments.