Tuesday 21 October 2008

Munchkin cats

Munchkin cats - Here's a fantastic photograph of "Galadrial" by Helmi Flick. He's a bit of a star. See him again but in large format and with notes explaining the breed standard (the guide as to how this breed should look): Munchkin cat.

Munchkin cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick - respect copyright

A bit About the Munchkin

Perhaps it is worth reminding ourselves that this cat breed is a normal-sized cat in every way except for the shortness of the long bones in the legs. The leg length may be as short as 5 inches from floor to shoulder blade. It is said by the breeders of this cat that the short legs do not interfere with the jumping ability of this cat except commonsense dictates that this breed will be less athletic than say a Bengal cat, for instance. They are very endearing companion cats, it must be said and very cute to look at.

The first munchkin cats to be documented (I am sure the mutation has happened elsewhere and at other times) was in 1983 in Louisiana, USA. When this discovered cat was breed to a "normal" cat half of the offspring had short legs and a new breed of cat was born. The dwarfism gene is autosomal dominant. The body type is either semi-cobby or semi-foreign - see cat body types (src: Legacy of the Cat). The head is almost an equilateral triangle (see cat head shape) and a modified wedge (in short, the usual cat head shape). The ears should be medium in size and the eyes large with a slight upward tilt.

Munchkin cats are shown in all colors, all divisions and all categories. This is a very sweet cat and very cuddly and they tend to stand up on their hind legs, kangaroo style, to look around.

A cat cannot get more cute than the Munchkin kitten in the above video! One problem though is that this kitten has Scottish Fold ears. It would seem that this cat carries two different kinds of defective genes both affecting cartilage production and one causing dwarfism and the other causing folded ear flaps. The combination may produce health problems that are not immediately apparent.

Showing the dwarf cats and Munchkin parent.

Some Links

Munchkin cats are the founding dwarf cats of what might be called the dwarf cat dynasty. There are after all 10, yes 10, different type of dwarf cat and you can get to see them all (well nearly all) on this page:

Dwarf cats and Miniature cats

If you'd just like to read and see more on the just Munchkin cats you might like to go here (or stay on this page - see more below):

Dwarf cats - Munchkin the founding dwarf cat

What happened is that the dwarf cat breeders crossed the lovely Munchkin (the most popular and best known of all the dwarf cats) with other cat breeds. For example, and this is one of ten examples, the Napoleon is a cross between the Munchkin and the ever popular Persian cat or one of the cats from the Persian group: Persians, Himalayan and Exotic Shorthairs.

The Dwarf Cat Names

One of the interesting things about dwarf cats is the names. The breeders kindly told me how they created them. You can read about the stories here:

The Dwarf Cat and the Origin of Breed Names

Of course, the name "Munchkin" is quite famous (especially for film goers and fans of the old films, which includes me) as it refers to the Munchkins (the little people) in the Judy Garland, Oscar winning film, The Wizard of Oz. Actually the actors who played the Munchkins have been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, USA (this happened about a year ago).

Health and Genes

Many cat breeds have started out on the road to becoming a purebred show cat as a result of a genetic mutation, dwarf cats are just one example. The mutant gene is dominant. If you'd like you can read more about this mutated gene here:

Cat Breeding - dwarf cats

Dwarf cats and Munchkin cats are generally healthy cats. Like all animals there are health issues. Humans have a lot of health issues. Some cat breeds have more genetic diseases than others (see genetic diseases in purebred cats). Dwarf cats are low on the list. If you'd like you can read more about Munchkin cats and dwarf cats health issues here:

Cat Health Issues - dwarf cats

Here's the son of a TICA champion "Milton". He is a fine Solid Cinnamon, longhair, male Munchkin:

Munchkin cat
Munchkin cats - The son of Milton a TICA champion. Photo is copyright Terri Harris

Munchkin cats - The son of Milton a TICA champion. Photo is copyright Terri Harris

Munchkin cats to Home page

1 comment:

  1. i am literally dieing, that cat was so cute


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