Though the Munchkin breed has only been recognized by TICA since September 2, 1994, there are records dating them back to 1944. Dr. H. E. Williams-Jones described four generations of cats with short legs in a veterinary report. This report included an 8-year-old black female that apparently had an extremely healthy life. It included the fact that her dam, Great Dam, and some of her progeny were similar in appearance. And that other than their shortened legs, the cats were described as being normal in every way. Unfortunately, these unique cats seemed to disappear during World War II. There was a sighting of a cat in Stalingrad in 1956 by Zoologischer Anzeiger, Max Egon Theil of Hamburg, Germany. He described the cat as having short legs. In 1970 the trait showed up in cats in New England and also in the 1980's in Louisiana. In 1983 Sandra Hockenedel found a pregnant black female and from her several colonies of these cats have been established and now span several generations. Breeding data clearly support the Autosomal Dominant pattern of inheritance, similar to that of the Dachshund and Corgi dog breeds. These cats came to the attention of Dr. Solveig Pflueger. Dr. Pflueger, a then clinical geneticist at Bay State Medical Center and faculty member of Tufts University School of Medicine, liked what she saw in the Munchkins. She began a long road to acceptance for the breed with exhibition in shows. Other breeders took up the Munchkin cause to get them established as a recognized breed. February of 2002 saw the Munchkin breed accepted by TICA for Championship showing.
Munchkins had been seen in nearly 15 states during the beginning of their comeback. Now, thanks to controlled breeding programs and selective sales, these wonderful cats can be found in other countries. The wide geographic sightings in the beginning were very important to the gene pool, there could not be any possible relation to the original cats. It appears that the Autosomal Gene responsible for short legs is a spontaneous, natural occurring mutation. So, contrary to popular belief that this breed was "genetically man-made", scientific research along with careful breeding observations prove that this breed was created by nature. Munchkins are bred to other Munchkins and to long-legged cats in controlled breeding programs to ensure that the breed maintains the highest possible integrity. Munchkin-to-Munchkin breeding does not always produce all Munchkin kittens. Munchkin to long-legged cats produces a percentage of Munchkins and long-legged kittens. The long-legged kittens are registered as Munchkins and have a valuable place in the breeding program. They help advance the generation code and add to the color pool.
"Cats are like potato chips, you can't have just one"