Munchkin – Cat Breeds

by catfood

The Munchkin cat can go around just like its longer-limbed feline friends; it simply takes a few additional steps along the way. These adorable, inquisitive cats are notorious for stealing shiny stuff, so don’t be surprised if these “magpies” steal your favorite piece of jewelry.


Munchkins, for their part, continue to be themselves, self-assured and extroverted, oblivious to the controversies surrounding them. Being short on legs does not imply being short in intelligence or personality. Munchkins are friendly and people-oriented, and they get along well with other cats, dogs, and people. They like wrestling and playing with their long-legged feline buddies, blissfully oblivious that they are different. Their feline buddies do not regard them as vertically challenged. Only humans look at them with suspicion.History

Munchkins, according to their fans, can do everything a regular cat can do except leap to the top of the kitchen counter. However, some fanciers consider this a benefit rather than a negative. Munchkins sprint swiftly despite their small legs, leaping like ferrets and taking corners at full speed. They frequently sit up on their haunches, much like prairie dogs, to obtain a better perspective.

They can climb cat poles and drapes just like any other cat. They can’t jump as high, however, because their back legs are shorter and don’t generate as much leverage. Munchkins can jump onto most beds, chairs, and couches, but they may take a detour onto a chair or other lower item before attempting to climb onto your desk.

Munchkins are sometimes known as magpies because they frequently borrow little, shiny objects and store them for later use. Munchkins, who are skilled hunters, enjoy a good game of catnip mouse, but when playing is over, they want a warm lap to snuggle into and strokes from a loving hand, just like any cat.


The Munchkin, the cat fancy’s version of downsizing, has cat fanciers on both sides debating whether the breed should be recognized. While most new breeds suffer opposition before approval, the struggle over this breed has been especially long and acrimonious because it raises questions about where distinctive diversity ends and abomination begins. This topic has previously been raised within the cat fancy in relation to breeds such as the Sphynx and the Manx, both of which are now generally acknowledged breeds.

Short-legged cats have been documented in England since the 1930s. According to records, these short-legged cats lived for four generations before World War II decimated Europe’s cat population. ” In 1991, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) stated that it “highly discourages anyone from importing such a cat [as the Munchkin] and that there was no intention of recognizing this or any other new breed based on anomalous anatomy or development.” However, the breed as we know it now originated in Louisiana, USA.


Sandra Hochenedel, a music teacher from Rayville, Louisiana, spotted two kittens sheltering under a pickup truck after being cornered by a dog in 1983. Hochenedel rescued the cats and brought them home, later finding three things: they were both female, pregnant, and had short, stubby legs on normal-sized bodies. She retained Blackberry, the black-haired cat, and gave Blueberry, the gray-haired cat, away. Blueberry’s fate is unclear; all of today’s registered Munchkins may be traced back to her and one of her sons.

Hochenedel discovered that Blackberry had given birth to both short and typical long-legged kittens when she had her litter. Toulouse, a gorgeous male Hochenedel named after French painter Toulouse-Lautrec, had an adult-sized torso but child-sized legs owing to a bone condition. Hochenedel gifted Toulouse to a friend in Monroe, Louisiana, Kay LaFrance. LaFrance used Toulouse to build her own Munchkin colony on her Louisiana estate.

Because LaFrance’s cats were permitted unrestricted access to the outdoors and were not altered, a semi-feral colony of Munchkins grew around Monroe, where they competed very well for hunting and breeding chances with their long-legged pals. Blackberry died after only a few litters, yet her genetic heritage lived on. Since LaFrance allowed Blackberry’s offspring, Toulouse, to roam freely, the land quickly became home to a sizable population of short-legged cats. Toulouse and his short-legged offspring had no issue competing for mates using their longer-legged counterparts since cats in heat care nothing about their lovers’ leg length (or much else).

When Hochenedel and LaFrance saw how well the cats were doing on their own, they speculated that this could be the start of a new breed. They named the breed after the Munchkinland residents from the iconic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and approached Dr. Solveig Pflueger, M.D., Ph.D., allbreed judge and chair of TICA’s genetics committee.

Dr. Pflueger performed research to determine the origins and manifestation of the Munchkin’s small legs. She discovered that an autosomal dominant gene (a dominant gene located on a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome) caused the long bones of the hip and legs to be shorter than usual, and that the mutation appeared to have evolved spontaneously within the feline gene pool.

Concerned that these cats would develop spinal dysfunction, degenerative disc disease, or hip dysplasia similar to the short-legged Dachshund, Corgi, and Basset Hound dog breeds, the breeders had the spines of a number of Munchkins examined and X-rayed by David Biller, D.V.M, head of radiology at Kansas State University.

There were no concerns detected, but the breed was so new and the bloodlines so limited at the time that the tests were not considered definitive. Breeders had their eldest Munchkins X-rayed and evaluated for signs of joint or bone problems on their own. There were no problems discovered, but opponents pointed out that absence of proof was not proof of absence, because the eldest Munchkin was only approximately thirteen years old at the time, and the others X-rayed were even younger.

Hochenedel and LaFrance created the first breed standard and a breeding program. Other breeders quickly jumped on board and started their own Munchkin breeding programs. The Munchkin was first seen by the public in 1991, at the nationally televised INCATS TICA event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to both acclaim and opposition. They attempted to get TICA recognition for the Munchkin at the time, but were denied since not enough was known about the breed.

In 1994, the Munchkin breeders attempted again, and in September of that year, the breed was admitted into TICA’s New Breed development program. TICA’s New Breed development program is controlled by the TICA genetics committee, which keeps pedigrees and analyzes breeding statistics as a breed develops, including outcrosses required to develop the breed. This software confirmed that the gene governing short legs is dominant; any cat with the gene will have foreshortened legs and can pass the trait on to its progeny. TICA granted the Munchkin New Breed and Color (NBC) classification on May 1, 1995.


When the acceptance was announced, one of the TICA’s long-time members left her ten-year judging post, claiming that the breed was an affront to any ethical breeder. Others agreed with her, fearing that the Munchkin’s small legs would lead to devastating back, hip, and leg problems in the future, despite the fact that no evidence of such problems existed. Other judges and fanciers, on the other hand, were more tolerant or open-minded, and many cat lovers were delighted about the new breed.

According to breeders, negative opinions against Munchkins are more common inside the cat fancy than in the general public. Ironically, the breed’s burgeoning popularity was aided by the controversies surrounding it. Because of articles in The Wall Street Journal, People, and other publications, demand for the cat fancy’s sports vehicle surged to the point where breeders were unable to supply the demand.

The wait for lcan bets had been long, and supply was limited. The cat elegant’s sports automobile demanded sports car costs as well, and breeders were concerned that unscrupulous persons might take advantage of the Munchkin’s popularity and engage in unethical home breeding methods.

In May 2003, the Munchkin acquired TICA championship status after years of development and discussion. The breed is now recognised for championship in AACE, TICA, and UFO in both long and short hair, but has yet to be recognized in ACFA, CCA, CFF, and CFA. Some associations in other countries have also accepted the Munchkin, including the Waratah National Cat Alliance in Australia, the United Feline Organization in the United Kingdom, and the Southern Africa Cat Council in South Africa.

Other dog breed associations have refused to accept the breed; the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) added to their rules that they will not recognize any breed “showing as a breed characteristic a dominant gene resulting in shortened limbs and legs and other physical defects, such as the Munchkin.”

In the 1950s, a similar cat was recorded in the Soviet Union and called the “Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat” due to its proclivity to sit on its haunches. ” Outcrossing to long-legged domestic longhairs and shorthairs that are not members of recognized breeds will continue in the future to keep the breed healthy and to expand the still very small gene pool. As a result, as new genes are introduced, the body and head conformation, as well as color, pattern, hair length, and coat type, may vary.


Physical Attributes


Not compact, thick semi-foreign body. From the shoulders to the tail, the back softly slopes upward. A broad chest and strong hips. Medium boneing with minimal bulk. Muscular strength that is well-developed.


Wedge with rounded outlines that is proportional to the body. Cheekbones that are defined. Chin is solid but not overly so; it aligns with the nose. Muzzle is modest, with delicate features that are proportionate to the head. The nose is medium in length. The forehead is slanted.



In proportion to the skull, broader at the base, and ending in slightly rounded points; arranged equally on top and sides; not flaring; alert.


Walnut shaped; spaced somewhat widely apart, providing an open and attentive expression, and angled slightly toward the base of the ears. There is no correlation between coat color and eye color.


Legs are short and evenly spaced when viewed from the front or behind. Upper and lower forelegs are the same length. Hind Thigh and lower leg lengths are nearly equal. Feet are round and compact in comparison to the body. All four feet pointed straight ahead, neither inward or outward.


When in motion, carried erect, tapering to a rounded point. Not too thick. The body’s length.


Color, pattern, and length of hair will vary because the Munchkin can be any color or pattern, including the Siamese pattern.


Semi-long. All-weather, flowing and silky texture with a mild to medium undercoat. Britches are shaggy, and the tail has a big plume.


Short to medium. The coat on solid colors may be less dense. Semi-plush texture, all-weather resilience, medium undercoat, and shiny appearance.


While the qualities listed below are common for this breed, cats are individuals with unique personalities and appearances. For more information about a specific pet, please contact the adoption group.

Wondering about Exotic Shorthair? Check it out on our next post!


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