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Updated on May 8, 2010


Dominant trait: short leg bones
Dominant trait: short leg bones
Gray Munchkin with gold eyes
Gray Munchkin with gold eyes
Dwarfed breed: many fear arthritis will develop in breed
Dwarfed breed: many fear arthritis will develop in breed
Calico look
Calico look
Big cat look
Big cat look
Munchkin kitten
Munchkin kitten
Black & white Munchkin
Black & white Munchkin


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.


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.


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    • Jason Melancon profile image

      Jason Melancon 

      7 years ago from San Francisco, Ca

      Excellent article, valeriebelew. I have a Munchkin myself that's 12 and still acts like a kitten at times. They never seem to grow up.

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Thanks for your comment Felicia. Sounds like a wonderful cat! (:v

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I own a munchkin... She's is 4.. Her name is latte and she's is absolutely classic!! So steals t bone steaks off your plate when your not looking! Meows all day! Attacks my dog (a staffy) trys to get my snakes turtle and frogs and loves to watch tv they are the best breed if you like entertainement if you want a lap cat that is quiet this is definitely not the cat for you. ;)

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Thanks for reading my article, bjh. I have three cats, who are also my babies. They never really grow up, and that is much of the pleasure of having pets.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have three munchkins and one non-standard (both parents munchkin but born long legged). They are all our "kids". It's like having permanent kittens.

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      I have three, but not this breed. Mine are a Himalayan Perisian, Ms. Frances, her half breed "love" child, Michael, and a neutered male mixed breed, Fluffy, the white furball from hell, all my babies.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh, I love cats. I have 3 of them.

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Thanks for visiting my site, Nell. The American Curl is another breed example that began with a mutation. You might want to check out my hub about it.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, Wow, I have never seen these before, they are so cute. thank you for showing them, as I love to hear about the different sort of cats. thanks nell

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Breeders come up with some weird combinations just for something different, but vets fear the cats will develop genetic problems. Thanks for commenting on my site.

    • Whitney05 profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      The cat reminds me of the Dachshund. Cute, but looks like it'd have many health problems.


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