MUNCHKIN CATS: DWARFED & CONTROVERSIAL
MUCH VARIETY: SINGLE DOMINANT FEATURE, SHORT LEG BONES
The Munchkin is as controversial as it is popular. Its single defining dominant factor is short leg bones, meaning it is a deliberately dwarfed cat breed. Breeders of Munchkin cats argue that because there is no direct effect on the cat's other bones, there are no detrimental side effects; however, dwarfed dog breeds, and all other dwarfed species tend to have problems with arthritis, and many fear the same fate will befall the Munchkin. While the flexible feline spine may save this breed from the hip problems common to dwarfed dogs, and cats being mostly inside pets, may be at less of a disadvantage due to short legs, the act of deliberately breeding such animals remains controversial.
The cat's head is medium-sized, neither round nor wedge-shaped, with ears that are triangular and moderately large in size. Its eye and coat color are unrelated to one another. The Munchkin is recognized in all possible colors and patterns; however, tabbies and bicolors are more common than oriental shades or patterns. Munchkin eyes are large and almond shaped, and its body is medium-sized, with level spine or slight rise from shoulders to rump. Its legs are short and straight with paws turned out slightly.
The Munchkin breed originated in Louisiana in 1983, but dwarfed cats have always existed, as have dwarfed animals of every species. Breeders began to work with this mutation, out-crossing to non pedigreed cats, causing much controversy; however TICA granted the breed acceptance in 1995. It is doubtful the more conservative breed clubs will ever do so, since many other breeders fear that doing so would encourage the production of dwarfed versions of their specific breeds. Actually, the TICA standard strictly prohibits such breeding practices, so is is unlikely to become a problem.
PERSONALITY AND CARE
Proponents of the Munchkin breed argue that the attractiveness of this group is not found in its appearance, but in its personality. Munchkins are said to retain their youthful kitten-like curiosity, and comical playfulness on into adulthood. They are vocal cats and very active. Munchkins only require moderate grooming, and have a general temperament that is appealing and inquisitive. They weigh between 5 and 9 pounds (2.25-4kg).
Reference: CATalog, Dr. Bruce Fogle, DVM, A Dorling Kindersley Book.