Munchkins have very short legs, similar to the Dachshunds and Corgis in the dog world. This trait is genetic, and cats sporting the short legs were reported back in the 1940s. In 1983 in Louisiana, a woman found a pregnant stray and took her in. Half of the resulting kittens had short legs, and it is from that cat that the Munchkin breed descends from.
There was uproar in the early 90s when the breed was first introduced to the cat show circuit. Many believed that these cats would end up having major hip and spine problems, but so far there has been little conclusive evidence for this-- the problems that have arisen are those that can be found across many species of domestic cat. Though there is the issue of breeding-- two crossed Munchkins are likely to have a very small litter size, as kittens with the trait are often non-viable.
The controversy continues, as several cat organizations do not, and will not officially recognize the breed. They cite that it is a cat based upon an abnormality and a genetic disease, and that they are un-sound. There are a handful of registries that do recognize them, including TICA and the United Feline Organization.
Status : Domesticated
Location : United States
Size : Weight upt o 9lbs (4kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : Felis -- Species : F. catus