Munchkin – founding dwarf cat
See a new page featuring a large format image and reference to TICA breed standard plus other views on the Munchkin cat
The Munchkin is the one of the breeds of dwarf cats and the “founding” breed in that many subsequent dwarf cat breeds have been developed by cross breeding from a Munchkin.
What is the history of the Munchkin? The Munchkin’s dwarfism occurred naturally (meaning short legs and normal body proportions). The breed began in 1983 in Rayville, Louisiana, USA, when Sandra Hochenedel found 2 cats with short legs hiding under a pick up truck escaping a bulldog. Both were pregnant. One was grey and the other black. Hochenedel called the grey one Blueberry and the black one, Blackberry. She gave Blueberry away and kept Blackberry who had her kittens.
In recognition of their appearance she called them Munchkins after the little people in the Wizard of Oz. A similar discovery was made in Stalingrad, Russia in 1953, although there is little detailed information about this. It would seem reasonable to believe that this genetic mutation and dwarfism in cats has been around a lot longer than since 1953.
It was determined that the dwarfism was as a result of a dominant genetic mutation (i.e. a mutation of a dominant gene that produced short legs in cats and so their offspring would also have short legs).
Although there appears to be a view by some who are not fully informed that a dwarf cat can be unhealthy (as a result of breeding and because ill health goes with dwarfism), the consensus is that a dwarf cat is not necessarily less healthy than a normally proportioned cat
Sarah Hartwell (a cat expert) makes it clear that dwarfism is a term “which covers numerous conditions resulting in undersized individuals”. In other words there will be some vagueness as to meaning when people talk of dwarfism in cats and when discussing miniature cats.
She goes on to say that during her research on dwarf and miniature cats she “found many inconsistencies…” So take note of this when reading about and discussing this breed.
Above: This is an offspring of “Milton” a fine Solid Cinnamon, longhair, male Munchkin. Milton is also a TICA Champion. This cat is a chip off the old block. Photo reproduced with permission of Terri Harris and her copyright.In 1994 the Munchkin breed was recognised by the TICA (The International Cat Association).
Since the discovery of the Munchkin other different Munchkin like variations have been discovered in the USA. There is a lot of interest in this breed partly I think due to its rarity and partly due to its unusual appearance.
See a new page featuring a large format image and reference ot TICA breed standard plus other views on the Munchkin cat
They are little different to their long legged counterparts, except, quite naturally, they can’t be quite as good a jumper. The DCA says that they “appear to be small and kitten like throughout their lives”.
They are affectionate and outgoing and like to play.