When you think of the Munchkin, think of a cat that is built like a dachshund. A cat built with a long body and short legs. Munchkins are a very recently developed breed. They have only been established since 1983. The foundation cat was a female named Blackberry who was rescued from dogs by school teacher Sandra Hochenedel. Blackberry was a black cat with very short legs. Found pregnant, she passed on her unusual body type to her kittens. Blackberry's son, Toulouse, was left unaltered and it wasn't long before there were a good number of short legged cats living around his owner's home. Strangely enough, Toulouse and his short legged sons had no trouble competing with standard toms for females.
In 1990 a study of the genetics of these short legged cats was conducted. The study found that only one copy of the short legged gene to create more cats with the same characteristic. The spines of these cats were also examined because there were fears that they would have issues just like the low long bodies dog (e.g. dachshund) have. Though nothing wrong was found at that time, judgment was reserved due to the extremely small population that existed at that time.
Munchkins were named for the little people in Wizard of Oz that Dorothy met when she first arrived in Oz. Breeders became interested in the quirky little Munchkin and began controlled breeding programs. The Munchkin was first introduced to the public at the Madison Square Garden Cat Show. The breed has faced some opposition. There are people who believe that deliberately breeding for a mutation, even one that occurred naturally, is ethically wrong. The cats themselves seem unaware that they are in any way different from there long legged cousins. They self-assured, outgoing and curious in nature. Munchkins tend to be people-oriented and bond easily with their people. Munchkins leap and play just like other cats. The only difference is they can't jump as high due to their short back legs.