Let's talk Munchkins

The Munchkin cat is playful and highly sociable, thriving in the company of others, including children, seniors, and dogs. Curiosity makes these sweet felines stand apart from other cats. You may find your Munchkin sitting up on their hind legs like rabbits to get a better view of something that has caught their attention. And whilst they may not be expert high jumpers, they use their intelligence to find strategic ways to access high perches in smaller steps.

Official name: Munchkin 

Other names: Munchkin Shorthair, Munchkin Longhair 

Origins: United States

Side view of Munchkin cat lying in black and white
 Shedding level:  Medium  Warm weather? Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  High  Family pet? * High
 Compatibility with other pets:  Very high    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of orange Munchkin
13 - 18 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
3 - 5 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
13 - 18 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
2 - 4 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby cat:  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten:  4 to 12 months
 Adult:  1 to 7 years
 Mature:  7 to 12 years
 Senior:  From 12 years

Side view of Munchkin cat on blue cloth background


Get to know the Munchkin

All you need to know about the breed

What’s so distinct about the Munchkin? In addition to their endearing personality, this relatively recent breed is known for their short legs (earning them the nickname of the Dachshund of the cat world), their defining physical characteristic. Even among other small cat breeds, the Munchkin stands apart. Why? Their frame matches the size of more normal adult cats in every way except their legs, which are approximately 3 inches shorter than the average cat.

The breed’s short legs are a result of a natural genetic mutation and do not have a negative incidence on their mobility. In fact, this is a cat that is extremely active, energetic, and playful. Allow your Munchkin to play on their own and you’ll observe them racing around the room at high speeds (as a result, they need ample amounts of space to run and frolic).

In personality, Munchkin cats are social butterflies, and very affectionate. Their loving temperament comes to life as much with their human companions as with other dogs and pets. Whether you live in an apartment or in a house, this is a breed that adapts well to wherever you’re living. As long as you challenge their intelligent minds with games and puzzle toys and give them room to sprint, jump, and explore.

Side view of white and black Munchkin


2 facts about Munchkins

1. A name from Oz

What’s in a name? In this case, the Munchkin draws their name from the famous characters in the book (and film) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

2. Have (short) legs, will jump 

There is no jumping challenge the Munchkin won’t attempt, despite their short limbs and small stature. Be sure to have perches available to your Munchkin as well as cat trees with various levels to encourage safe jumps and above ground exploration.


History of the breed

The Munchkin, known for their ultra-short legs, emerged from a natural genetic mutation. Short-legged cats have appeared throughout history in different places, from the UK to Russia. There was a line of short-legged cats in the UK in 1944 but they disappeared during the Second World War. Similar cats have also been seen in Russia and in different parts of the United States.

But it was a pregnant stray in Louisiana that put the breed on the map. In 1983, music teacher Sandra Hochenedel rescued a pregnant short-legged cat named Blackberry in her hometown of Rayville, Louisiana and sent two kittens from the cat’s litter to doctor and geneticist Dr. Solfeig Pfleuger for evaluation. Showing no deformities and realising the mutation was natural, they used these kittens as the foundation for today’s Munchkin cats.

The Munchkin was developed within The International Cat Association (TICA) beginning in 1994 and, after years of breeding with observation by the TICA genetics committee, they eventually obtained championship status in 2003. The breed remains extremely rare and controversial—some question the ethics of intentionally breeding a cat with a genetic deformity. Case in point: The Cat Fancier’s Association, as well as other cat organisations, still does not recognise the Munchkin.

Black and white Munchkin lying in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Munchkins

1. Ears

Walnut-shaped eyes.

2. Head

High-set ears on a moderately sized head.

3. Body

Very short legs and a long spine.

4. Tail

Tail tapering to a rounded tip

5. Coat

An all-weather, silky coat.

Side view of brown and white Munchkin looking at camera


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Munchkin
Side view of Munchkin kitten standing on green blanket with pom-poms


Caring for your Munchkin

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Easy to live with and easy to groom: The Munchkin’s coat is a piece of cake to keep looking its best. Short-haired Munchkins should be brushed weekly and long-haired Munchkins should be brushed several times a week to keep their coat tangle-free. Like all cats, the Munchkin cleans themselves but their short legs can make it difficult to reach key spots. You should plan on the occasional bath to keep them clean. The breed doesn’t need much assistance for exercising since they are content to run, jump, and play solo but they do need you to provide the toys and scratching trees. Finally, the easy-going and intelligent Munchkin is relatively receptive to clicker training to play fetch and other games and tricks. The key to success? Positive reinforcement.


All about Munchkins

It is impossible to guarantee that any breed will be forever free of health ailments but overall, the Munchkin is a healthy cat that can live up to 15 years. There is a higher possibility that the Munchkin will develop spinal or bone issues linked to their short legs. Be sure to visit your veterinarian regularly for health check-ups. 

The cost of the Munchkin varies according to the breeder but given the relative rarity of the breed, they can be expensive. What’s most important is to find a reputable breeder who provides you with health guarantees for your Munchkin. 



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book