.Origin: Louisiana, USA
.Lifespan: 14-18 years
.Temperament: Playful, outgoing, easily trainable
.Weight: Males 4-5 kg (9 – 13 lbs), females 3-4 kg (7.8 – 11 lbs)
.Eyes: Blue, green, gold, yellow
.Colours: All colours
.Grooming: Requires weekly grooming
.Also called: Weiner cat, American Munchkin, Sausage cat, Midget cat
The Munchkin is a short-legged breed of cat who arose from a spontaneous mutation in Louisiana in the early 1980s.
The Munchkin is a playful and outgoing cat who stays kitten-like well into adulthood.
The Munchkin cat is a relatively new breed of cat discovered in 1983 that is characterised by its short-legged appearance. The breed is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.
Originating in the state of Louisiana, a teacher by the name of Sandra Hochenedel rescued two cats who had been chased under a truck by a dog. Both cats had short legs. Sandra gave away a grey cat, called Blueberry and kept the black one, named Blackberry. Blackberry was pregnant at the time of her rescue and went on to give birth to four kittens, two of whom also had shortened legs. One of the short-legged kittens, Toulouse was given to Kay LeFrance. It is Blackberry and Toulouse who became founders of the Munchkin breed.
Munchkins have a genetic condition known as achondroplastic dwarfism. It was first observed in a population of cats in the 1930s but these cats disappeared during the war. The condition affects the long bones of the legs, with all other bones in the body unaffected. The gene responsible is dominant, it needs only one copy from a parent to be passed on. The gene is lethal in the homozygous form (ie; the offspring receive two of the gene, one from each parent) and affected kittens will be re-absorbed in-utero.
Introduction to the cat fancy
In 1991, the Munchkin was introduced to the general public via a live cat show held at Madison Square Garden. The breed achieved championship status with TICA in 2003
Munchkin cat health concerns
The breed is controversial in the cat world, due to concerns about the short legs and long spine will cause lordosis, a downward dip in the spine. This condition also affects short-legged breeds of dog such as the dachshunds. However, supporters claim that the spine of the cat is much different and no such problems occur in the Munchkin. The jury appears to still be out on that. Not every cat body recognises the Munchkin for the above reasons. Those include the CFA, GCCF and TICA.