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A special "Thank you!" goes to Beth Fillman - Calico Rose cattery, who supported me with her help and lovely pictures!
Munchkin LH tortie Van
Calico Rose Talisman
Breeder: Beth Fillman, Calico Rose cattery, New York, USA
 
Munchkin may be long-haired and short-haired.
Munchkon SH seal point
Munchlets Teddy Rose
Breeder: Kelly Thompson, Munchlets cattery, Strasburg, Colorado USA
 
Munchkins come in all colors and patterns:
solid white, black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red, cream
tortie tortieshell, blue-cream, chocolate tortie, lilac tortie, cinnamon tortie, fawn tortie
with silver smoke, shaded, shell
all tabby patterns
  • classic tabby (blotched), mackerel, spotted, ticked
  • and - of course - also silver tabby
Munchkin LH white
Russicat's Pupa
Breeder: Svetlana Ponomareva (Int. allbreed judge and president of Alisa-Best), Svetlana Konovalova, Russicat cattery,  Moscow, Russia
Munchkin SH red ticked
Russicat's Big Mac
Breeder: Svetlana Ponomareva (Int. allbreed judge and president of Alisa-Best), Svetlana Konovalova, Russicat cattery,  Moscow, Russia
 

Let's continue with the colors:

with white
  • Van, Harlequin, bicolor, Mitted, with white
  • of course also:
    silver with white, tabby with white, silver tabby with white
Colorpoint
  • with solid colored points
  • tabby point (Lynx-point)
  • pointed with white

Munchkin SH chocolate spotted bicolor

Calico Rose Truffle
Breeder: Beth Fillman, Calico Rose cattery, New York, USA
 
Munchkin LH red ticked & white
Russicat's Fox
Breeder: Svetlana Ponomareva (Int. allbreed judge and president of Alisa-Best), Svetlana Konovalova, Russicat cattery,  Moscow, Russia
 
Munchkin SH black bicolor
Kittymews Merlin of Calico Rose
Owner: Beth Fillman, Calico Rose cattery, New York, USA
 

Eurocatfancy

Standard AACE
Standard LOOF
Standard SACC
Standard TICA
 
  [Napoleon]
  [Skookum]
 
[Lecture Munchkin & Napoleon]
 
LH: Show breeders
SH: Show breeders
 
Enter cattery into breeders list
 
 

Breed profile

The Munchkin is medium in size. The main characteristic are its short legs. Munchkin may appear in longhair and shorthair.
The head is medium long with higher set cheekbones and a medium long muzzle. The head has rounded contours, and the cheeks and muzzle are rounded. The nose is medium long, straight with a slight stop between the eyes.
The ears are medium to large, wide at the base and relatively high set. The eyes are medium in size and walnut shaped.
The head is carried on a strong neck which is not too short.
The body is strong and medium in length, shoulders are strong, the chest is well formed and the hips are firm.
The legs are short and strong, hind legs slightly longer than front legs. The tail is medium long and carried erect, when the cat is in motion.

Munchkins can have long and short coat. Undercoat is medium.
Long-haired cats have a silky all-weather coat with britches on the hind legs, the ruff is is not very full and the tail has a full plume.
Short-haired cats have a plushy, resilient all-weather coat.

 

History

The mutation that created the low riders have been documented:
  • In Great Britain in 1944 in the Veterinary Record by Dr. H. E. Williams-Jones, who also described an 8 1/2 year old black female and documented it as having had an extremely healthy life. Her dam, great dam, and some of her progeny were similar in appearance. He described the cat’s movements as ferret-like, but other than the short legs the cats were reported to be normal in every way. Unfortunately those cats seem to have disappeared during World War II.
  • 1956 in the Zoologischer Anzeiger Max Egon Thiel of Hamburg, Germany, described a cat that he had first seen in Stalingrad in 1953. The cat had unusually short legs but was in no way functionally hindered and was seen playing among its normal siblings and other young cats, also named as the “Stalingrad kangaroo cat” because of its behavior sitting on its hind legs having its front legs in the air similar to an alert rabbit. Before he departed the cat was taken away by a Russian physician.
  • In New York in the 1950s and New England in the 1970s.

The breed, as it is known today, started in Rayville, Louisiana in 1983. Sandra Hochenedel, a music teacher discovered two cats hiding under a pickup truck, because they had been cornered by a bulldog. Hochenedel took those two cats home and noticed later two things: both were pregnant, and both had short, stubby legs. She kept Blackberry, the black cat, and gave away Blueberry, the gray. When Blackberry produced her first litter, Hochenedel gave one short-legged kitten, named Toulouse, to her friend Kay LaFrance, who lived in Monroe, Louisiana. Since the cats of LaFrance were allowed free access to the outdoors and were not altered, a feral population of Munchkins occurred around Monroe, where they apparently competed very well with their long-legged friends for hunting for food and mating opportunities.
In 1990 Hochenedel and LaFrance contacted Dr. Solveig Pflueger, chairperson of TICA’s genetics committee. Her studies revealed that the short legs were the result of a mutation affecting the long bones of the legs and were inherited by a dominant gene, as she stated in a paper published in January 1999.
The breed was introduced to the public in 1991 at the INCATS TICA show at Madison Square Garden in New York. In 1991 breeders tried to gain acceptance from TICA for the Munchkin, they were turned down on the basis that not enough was known about the breed. They tried again in September 1994 and this time were accepted, from May 1, 1995 the Munchkin was recognized as a new breed in the NBC class (new breed and color class) by TICA.
It took several years more that the Munchkin was recognized for championship by TICA in 2002.
Unfortunately there are organizations like FIFe, where the Munchkin is not permitted.
The breed was named for the little people of Munchkinland from the 1939 classic movie "The Wizard of Oz".

 

Genetics

The opinion, that the Munchkin is a man-made breed, is wrong!
The special feature, the short legs (like in some dog breeds) is based on a spontaneous mutation, which was detected quite a time ago and mentioned first in 1944 in the Veterinary Record (Great Britain) by Dr. H. E. Williams-Jones.
The short legs are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.
An 8-years study, done by Solveig Pflueger, Ph.D and M.D., director of Medical Genetics laboratory at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, and chair of TICA's genetics committee and David S. Biller, DVM, Head of Radiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, did not find any spinal anomalies up to now and encouraged the breeders of this breed.
Breeders are using domestic cats for outcross. From a heterozygous Munchkin one may also get long-legged cats, named as non-standard Munchkins.
Get more information about the Feline Genome Project about the Munchkin on the homepage of Dr. Leslie Lyons.

 

Temperament

The Munchkin has an extremely sweet personality and is very affectionate to people. Despite their short legs they are self-assured, curious, confident and outgoing and are treated by their long-legged companions as any other cat-companion.
The Munchkin can run as fast as any other cat, bouncing like ferrets. They can climb trees, cat posts and curtains just as well as other cats. Munchkins can jump onto beds and chairs, and also on the kitchen counter.
Sometimes they are called magpies, because the stay playful during their whole life and like to hide things in secret places.

 

Grooming

Munchkins are very easy to care for. The coat does not mate and has no tendency to show knots. It sheds very little. They need rather little grooming, but they love to be brushed.

 
 

 
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