Should a Manx cat have hind legs much longer than forelegs?
Yes and no. Yes, if you want the perfect modern Manx cat as dictated by the breed standard (at Feb 2013). But the original Manx cats didn’t look like this. As a result, unnaturally long hind legs that are much longer than the forelegs is a breeder’s “refinement”. It is a false creation.
In other words the modern Manx cat is what breeders want the cat to look like and not what it actually looks like or what the cat looked like.
“The standard is written for the perfect cat in all breeds…..Manx front legs are short and set apart to accommodate a broad, deep chest. Hind legs are heavy with muscular thighs, much longer than the front….(CFA Manx Breed Council website).
Sorry to upset one or two people in writing that but I am afraid to say it is true. No feral, stray or domestic cat, anywhere, including all the naturally occurring tailless cats on the Isle of Man, the place where the Manx cat comes from, had hind legs as described by the CFA breed standard (per CFA Manx Breed Council website). The further you go back in history the more normal looking the legs are for the Manx cats.
The fact of the matter is that all cats have hind legs longer than forelegs and all hind legs are more muscular and “thicker” than forelegs. We don’t need to exaggerate this.
Here is an example of an overbred (extreme breeding) Manx cat that has won at cat shows.
For regular cat lovers this cat should look a bit odd and for some it will be a unsettling.
Sorry, if I sound a bit grumpy but frankly this sort of breeding is crazy. It is not fair on the cat. It is unnatural for a cat to walk around with overly long hind legs in proportion to overly short forelegs. It affects the gait and it may put stresses on parts of the body that should not be stressed. It is not healthy and sensible. The cat above is described on Pinterest as “Grand Champion “Beckn Tinker Bell” – brown patch tabby and white female”.
Here are some Manx cats from over 100 years ago (you may have seen them already but they are useful illustrations). Don’t forget the cat fancy had been in operation for a while when these pictures were made so even these are bred and not entirely natural.
I don’t see a cat with hind legs that are out of proportion to the forelegs. All cats have hind legs that are longer than forelegs but not to the point where the cat leans forward unnaturally.
What Harrison Weir writes in 1889
Mr Weir is said to be the founder of the cat fancy. He was an Englishman. He writes in his 1889 book (page 80):
“the hind legs are thicker and rather longer, particularly in the thighs..”
“Rather longer” does not have the meaning as “much longer”. Yes, hind legs are longer, but that is normal. And when Mr Weir wrote this he did not envisage cat breeders, over 100 years later, using his words as a guide to over breed hind legs disproportionately longer than forelegs. The Manx cat is essentially a tailless cat and that is that. The lack of a tail is due to a genetic mutation. There is no genetic mutation that causes hind legs to be disproportionately longer than forelegs. This is is due to selective breeding and the desire of breeders.
Note about the picture of the extreme Manx cat by Chanan. Chanan is a professional cat photographer. His photos are protected by copyright and I do not have permission to publish it here. However, it is an embedded picture from Pinterest. It is on Pinterest in violation of Chanan’s copyright. If Chanan wants me to remove it, I will, instantly if he asks me. I am compelled to do this in order to compete because Pinterest has created anarchy in respect of intellectual property rights on the internet. Chanan should complain to Pinterest first.