Munchkin Breeders and other related Links


    In the 1944 the Veterinary Record in the UK and Dr.Williams-Jones describes  several generations of cats with short limbs. An eight year old black female cat was reported as having had an extremely healthy life. The cat's movements were similar to a ferret, and inspite of the short  legs, the cat was otherwise normal.   Unfortunately the line was not preserved.  The next time this breed appeared was when in 1956, Max Egon Theil of Hamburg in Germany, described a cat he  had seen in Russia that had short legs but didn't seem to be hindered in any way. This cat was playing admidst its normal siblings.  At times it was noted to sit on its haunches with its front legs in  the air, similar to the alert stance of a rabbit. Because of this behavior, the cat was dubbed the "Stalingrad Kangaroo Cat" by the author. The day before the author was to return to Germany, the  cat was taken away by a Russian physician, and there is no further information about the cat available. However, based on the description, this undoubtedly represents the same trait seen previously in Great  Britain.

    Although the short legged cats from Europe seem to have disappeared, the trait reappeared in New England in the 1970's and in Louisiana in the 1980's. From a pregnant black female short legged  cat found by Sandra Hochenedel in 1983, several colonies have been established which now span multiple generations. The breeding data clearly support an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. The cats  exhibit shortening and bowing of the long bones similar to that seen in the Dachshund and the Corgi, but no other skeletal changes associated with the gene. The spine is usually indistinguishable from that  of other cats.

    At this point there is no evidence to suggest that the gene for short legs hampers survival or quality of life, which is consistent with the British and Russian/German reports of these  cats. Careful study of the short legged cats is being undertaken by Dr. Solveig Pflueger, a clinical geneticist at Baystate Medical Center and on the faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine, and Dr.  David Biller, a veterinary radiologist at Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine, in order to evaluate further the inheritance and expression of the short legged trait and the resultant changes  in skeletal structure through the natural lifespan of the cat. The results of these studies will ultimately determine the feasibility of establishing the breed within the cat fancy.

    Type and characteristics

    The Munchkin's distinctive short legs developed from a spontaneous autosomal dominant mutation which has occurred several times in the domestic cat. Munchkins  exhibit shortening and may have slight bowing of the long bones. The spine is unaffected and similar in form and flexibility to that seen in other domestic cats.

    The short legs do not hamper mobility or  survival ability. The breed has been established from spontaneously occurring domestic cat lines with augmentation by outcrosses to other domestic cats. Munchkins are outgoing, intelligent, and respond well  to being handled.

    Body, Legs, Feet & Tail

    The cat has a thick semi foreign body, medium in size and length, medium bones, well rounded chest, females slightly smaller than males.
    The  upper and lower front legs are equal in length.  The hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs.  Legs length is short.  Feet are round and compact.
    The tail is medium thick with a  rounded tip and in proportion to the body.  Carried high when moving.

    The cat often stands higher in the back but is nearly level at rest. The spine and pelvis are unaffected and similar in form and  flexibility to that seen in other domestic cats. The breed has been established from spontaneously occurring domestic cat lines and should have the general look of the domestic cat


    The head has a broad slightly rounded,  a modified wedge with rounded contours, medium in proportion to body and a flat forehead.  The muzzle length is medium in size.


    The ears are broader at the base, and slightly rounded tips.


    The eyes are walnut shaped, medium large, rather one eye width apart, open and alert expression.  Deeper more vivid colors  preferred.


    The coat is lustrous and medium dense and solid colored cats may have a less dense coat. The texture is plush and resilient.


    Munchkins are outgoing and respond well to being handled.

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