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Munchkin Breed Description

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Breed Organization

TICA Executive Office

The Cat Fanciers' Association

Native Country
United States Of America

Other Names
Munchkin Cat, Longhair Munchkin

Coat Length
Shorthair and Longhair

Life Expectancy
No Information Available

General Description

They are a small to medium sized cat and weigh between 5 and 9 pounds when fully grown. Other than their short legs, they look just like any normal cat. The short legs are a natural mutation that shortens the long leg bones similar to the one that gives the Corgis and Dachshunds their short stature. However the spine of the cat differs in structure from that of a dog and so the short legs do not result in the spinal problems that sometimes appears in canines.

Breed Standard

Head: Shaped like an equilateral triangle with rounded contours. Rounded skull. Flat forehead. Cheeks can be broad, particularly in males. Slender muzzle with a slight break . Moderately long nose. Firm but not prominent chin.
Eyes: Large, walnut-shaped, well-spaced, set slightly at a slant. There is no relationship between eye color and coat color.
Neck: Moderately long, thick, and muscular.
Body: Medium-sized. Round chest. Broad shoulders. Spine as flexible as in other breeds. Moderate to heavy bone and muscle structure.
Paw: Short, medium-boned, very muscular. Medium-sized, round, compact paws.
Tail: Moderately thick, tapering to a round tip. Well-furnished, held high and very straight in motion.
Coat: Two varieties: - shorthaired - semilonghaired Silky texture, moderate undercoat. All colors are recognized.
Fault: Too stocky. Weakness in the back. Arched, too heavily boned paws. Low, prominent sternum. Lockets or white buttons.


A long body and short legs, like a Dachshund In 1991 in New York's Madison Square Garden, a strange cat with short legs was shown. It was nicknamed the "Dachshund Cat" or "Basset Cat". Already by the 1930s, cats of the same type were reported in England but forgotten during World War II. A specimen was described in Stalingrad in 1953. These cats are named after the inhabitants of Munchkin Land in Fleming's famous movie The Wizard of Oz (1939). The ancestors of today's Munchkins are descended from Blackberry, a black cat found in Louisiana around 1982. The gene responsible for short legs, the basis for this spontaneous mutation, is dominant. T.I.C.A. recognized the breed in 1995 and published a standard the same year.


While the Munchkin's short legs do not hinder the cat's mobility, they do prevent it from jumping as high as other cats. Active, lively, and playful, Munchkins are very sociable and affectionate. They adore their owner. They are easy to groom, especially the shorthaired variety.


Early speculations that the Munchkin will develop spinal problems commonly seen in short-legged dog breeds did not materialize. In 1995 several Breeders had their oldest Munchkins X-rayed and examined for signs of joint or bone problems and no problems were found. They are also known to get chicken pox. Two conditions with increased incidence in the breed are lordosis (excessive curvature of the spine) and pectus excavatum (hollowed chest). These conditions can appear in other breeds and some breeders have denied that it is a problem for the Munchkin. Small litter sizes when two munchkin cats are crossed indicate that embryos that are homozygous for the munchkin gene are non-viable. Although the genetic mutation causing the short-legged trait in Munchkins has been referred to as achondroplasia, achondroplasia is typically associated with an enlarged head as well as short legs. This combination of features is not seen in Munchkin cats. The condition has sometimes been referred to as hypochondroplasia or pseudoachondroplasia.

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