The Skookum cat is one of the dwarf cats of which there are no less than thirteen breeds.
All are created by crossing cat breeds with normal legs with the founding dwarf cat, the Munchkin. The mutant gene that produces the dwarfism is dominant.
The Skookum is a cross between the Munchkin and the LaPerm cat breed. The LaPerm is one of the Rex cat breeds with a curly coat so it is no surprise that this cat, as the above picture clearly shows, is a short legged curly coated cat. The rex type fur is low shedding.
There is the notable disparity in leg length, the hind legs being noticeably longer than the forelegs.
An interesting subject is the naming of this cat breed. Roy Galusha created the Skookum in 1990s and he explains the naming of the breed on this page: The dwarf cat and the origin of the breeds.
License see note
In brief, the name Skookum was carefully considered by Roy and this an an extract from the story behind the name:
“……A local Native American word that comes from the Chinook language and was part of the Chinook Trade Language was Skookum (pronounced Skoo Kum). The word Skookum means mighty, powerful or great. It is also used to signify good health or good spirits. If someone really likes something, they might refer to it as being really skookum (“Boy that apple pie is skookum”) or if you really like a horse (“that is one skookum horse)….”
The middle cat is a Skookum kitten. I’ve lost the credit – please notify me. Unfortunately, the naming of this cat became a contentious issue with TICA. They thought that it could translated to mean “scary monster”.
The Skookum cat is registered with the Dwarf Cat Association and TICA as an experimental breed. This breed is also recognized by the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry and as a new breed by Catz Incorporated the New Zealand National Registry for Cats.
The dwarf cats generally are agile athletic cats despite their short stature. They have a cobby body conformation. If you wish you can read lots more about the dwarf cat breeds by clicking on this link: Dwarf Cats and Miniature Cats. There are links on that page to the other dwarf cats.
Here’s some more information on the cats that make the Skookum cat:
This is a well established curly haired cat that is either short or longhaired. The above link takes you to a comprehensive discussion on the breed.
The founding dwarf cat and a popular and well known dwarf cat. The link takes you to some fine Helmi Flick photographs and a full description.
Photo center of page: Permission granted by image author and owner of cat in photo, Beth Fillman, for the promotion of education.
P.S. This page has been re-dated to 14th Dec 2018. It was written in around 2008.
Please, anyone who has a desire to breed other species for form alone, just don’t do it. If you must indulge in husbandry, breed for function alone, true, beautiful form will follow.
With all due respect, by which I mean ‘none’ breeders of novelty, vanity companion species are unethical, greedy, cruel morons.
I do not care how clean your cattery is, your ethics are irretrievably filthy.
I live in Saskatchewan
Sorry I am breeding them. Have a laperm and a munchkin and got 2 short legs and 2 long legs.. and have done this cause I know there a rare breed.. but couldn’t fine anyone with them to figure out how much to seek them for. Thank you so much.
How much do these little beauities sale for.
Hello Corinne, I’m not actually sure whether the breeder still breeds these cats. They are very rare and I have a feeling that he no longer breeds them but I could be wrong. If he is breeding them then the price will probably be around the $1000 mark but that is a guess.
Stumbled on your post again and thought I would reply. Not sure if there are any Skookum Breeders left in the USA. I know there were some in New Zealand. At one point, Skookums were registered as an Experimental Breed in TICA and as a New Breed and Color in UFO. I checked with the TICA site and the Skookum is no longer an experimental breed. I could not find a current reference to UFO, so I am not sure it still exists. I believe they were dropped as breeds because of a lack of breeder participation in TICA and UFO shows.
My personal feeling is that if someone is presenting a Skookum for sale, then the Skookum should be the same price as a LaPerm or a Munchkin; it should not sell for any more.
Yes, we did stop breeding the Skookum because the whole breed issue started revolving around politics and of money; not about the Skookum cat. TICA opposed the breed primarily because of a couple of judges who did not want to see the LaPerm put into other breeds and others because they didn’t want the Munchkin infused in other breeds. UFO wanted us to put other curly breeds in as foundation stock and we wanted to limit it to one curl so you could predict the curl and not have a hodge podge of curls to deal with. Our original breeding stock became farm cats on our ranch in Western Washington. We don’t have any short legs and curls left.
We developed a breed standard and had pictures of what we wanted the breed to look like. We were trying to focus on developing a very standard breed appearance and didn’t want them to look like either the LaPerm or the Skookum. Unfortunately, the Skookum breeders were of a different mind. They wanted to produce something that they could get the most dollars for. They wanted to be able to register the cat according to how it looked. So they would breed a LaPerm to a Munchkin. If the offspring was short legged and curly, they would call it a Skookum, if it had long legs and curls, they would register it as a Laperm, if it had short legs and no curls they would call it a Muchkin and if it ended up with long legs and no curls, they would register it as breeding stock of either Munchkin or Laperm. They did not want to breed to the standard. The standard was the cat Winky who is at the top of your page. Most Skookums came out looking like munchkins with curly hair or LaPerms with short legs. Neither were acceptable in our minds. Both of the other pictures look like LaPerms with short legs. We felt the breeders that continued to breed did not want to work with a standard and just wanted to produce cats for quick sales.
We do not breed Skookums any more. Nor will we start again. It took us to long to develop our breeding cats to the point that the cats were coming out to what we wrote the standard to (we wrote the standard not to what we initially produced, but rather to what we wanted them to be). It would take us many years to get back to where we were when we quit. You can not have one breeder breed to the standard and other breed willy nilly.
It pains me to say, I agree with one of your previous posts, the breed was a failed breed. And no, I don’t think you will find a Skookum breedeer in the US; if you do, I would believe they are trying to produce a cat for extreme profit and have no interest in really developing a breed.
Michael, if you ever need any more information, feel free to contact me.
K I have a question. Skookum Cat bred with a munchkin and a la-perm if the have long legs what are they some please tell me. I have a litter but they all long legs. Are they still Skookum. Or what.
The Skookum is a dwarf cat so the breed has short legs. If they have long legs they’ll be something else! Or a Skookum-mix.
There’s so much desire to “own” something rare or exotic, or in this case “designer”. I wonder about this. I understand the attraction to a cute cat or other animal, as you’ve covered in other posts. But would a conscious cat lover be “dying” to have one, and to breed more? What’s the motivation?
I guess when money is no object, people buy what they want through whatever means. I think there’s a reason that this cat mutation isn’t so available.
I think the desire to own rare and exotic animals is exactly the same as the human’s desire to own an expensive car or any other manufactured item. Purebred cats are “manufactured”. Many people just have not got the right attitude towards animals. Taken globally there are more people with the wrong attitude towards animals as those with the correct attitude. The wrong attitude is treating animals as non-sentient beings.
The Skookum is not that desirable. More cute and rare than exotic. The breed failed to be honest.
I understand your goal for specific breeding, I show IGs and own both Iggys and cats. However I am concerned with what is done with the litters and cats that are born and do not meet the “new” breed standards and/or goals.As precious as the cat is, it is deliberate breeding of an abnormality, ie dwarfism, and if an irresponsible owner owned one and it was lost, would it be able to protect itself? I am concerned because there are so many puppy mills based on designer hybrid dogs and would absolutely be crushed if this happened to cats. Thank you for reading and your time. Blessings to you and your cats.
I understand your concerns about dwarf cats. The cat associations have similar concerns. They are popular though.
OMG ok, so i want to know if there are any places i can get s Skookum in New York, and IF so, whats the price range? I’ve been DYING to have a Skookum ever since i saw them featured on Cats 101. ^.^ they are so extremely unique, i would also like to know if I could breed them and how hard it would be, also WHAT breeds i would have to get to make Skookums.
The best thing you can do, Margaret, is to contact the Dwarf Cat Association. Google “Dwarf Cat Association” and you will find their website.
I don’t think there are any breeders left and if there are it will only be a handful in the USA. Good luck.
We are very very interested in the skookum kitty you have on your website that I filled out this commentary on. If you are able to give me any information on how to purchase the skookum, it would be very much appreciated.
Hi Crystal. Thanks for visiting. You probably know that Roy Galusha in the USA created the Skookum. I wrote this page about 5 years ago. I have lost track of him although at the time I wrote the page I was in contact with Roy. The Skookum is an experimental breed. As far as I know there is only one breeder: Roy Galusha and he may have stopped. Probably has in fact. If I were you I’d google the Dwarf Cat Association, TICA and Roy Galusha and make contact with them if you can. It is just possible that Roy may have a cat to sell. But this cat breed must be extremely rare. I feel that you will be lucky to succeed in adopting a Skookum but it is possible. Good luck.
The only person I know who may be breeding Skookums is Beth Fillman on Long Island, NY. I met Beth a number of years ago, she had a very clean and efficient cattery. Her cattery name is Calico Rose. She is listed on several web sites. I know there were several other breeders and if you search on the internet you may be able to locate them. I don’t know if you can contact TICA and if they will refer anyone.
We stopped breeding a number of years ago. We got tired of the politics and chose not to continue trying to work with TICA. The last dealing I had with TICA was when I choose to represent the Skookum in New York at the TICA Annual meeting. I had put a breed proposal together, TICA accepted the proposal to go on the agenda. I flew from Washington State to New York with some Skookums to show in the presentation. TICA established the Experimental category at that meeting and decided that they were not going to hear my proposal after I arrived.
The tabby at the top of the page (his name was Winky) was as close to the standard as we could get. I am not sure if the standard has been changed or not, as we have not bred in about 7 – 8 years. We altered the last of our Skookums and let them live out an old age on the farm.
I found the Skookum is a very enjoyable cat. They are very friendly and outgoing. Ours would greet everyone at the door, whether they knew them or not. They got that personality from the LaPerms.
Also, Michael, I remember our conversation a number of years ago. I found you to be real receptive and friendly. Thank you for your continued support of the Skookum.
Nice to hear from you again Roy. I am pleased you are OK. Thanks for replying to Crystal’s comment. And thank you too, for being helpful and friendly yourself. Best of luck for the future.
Gosh i want a skookum cat so bad! So cute!