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The generally accepted hypothesis among breeders is that the Maine Coon is descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers (possibly by Captain Charles Coon) or 11th-century Norsemen.

She loaded Clough's ship with her most prized possessions, including six of her favorite Turkish Angora cats.

In the early 20th century, the Maine Coon's popularity began to decline with the introduction of other long-haired breeds, such as the Persian, which originated in the Middle East.

The last recorded win by a Maine Coon in a national cat show for over 40 years was in 1911 at a show in Portland, Oregon. The decline was so severe that the breed was declared extinct in the 1950s, although this declaration was considered to be exaggerated and reported prematurely at the time.

It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat.

No records of the Maine Coon's exact origins and date of introduction to the United States exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested.

In 2010, the Guinness World Records accepted a male purebred Maine Coon named "Stewie" as the "Longest Cat" measuring 48.5 in (123 cm) from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.

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