The Munchkin is a relatively new breed of cat characterized by its very short legs, which is caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Named after the short-statured characters from Wizard of Oz, the breed was developed in the 1980s in the United States. Much controversy erupted over the breed when it was recognized by The International Cat Association in 1995 with critics voicing concern over potential health and mobility issues. But early speculations that the Munchkin will develop spinal problems commonly seen in short-legged dog breeds did not materialize. In 1995 several Breeders had their oldest Munchkins X-rayed and examined for signs of joint or bone problems and no problems were found.
The Munchkin is generally described as a sweet-natured, playful, people-oriented, outgoing and intelligent cat which responds well to being handled. The shortness of their legs does not seem to interfere with their running and leaping abilities. The Munchkin comes in all colors and patterns.