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Maine Coon Munchkin: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Maine Coon Munchkin - Maine Coon and Munchkin Mix

Maine Coon Munchkin cats are the unusual result of crossing one of the largest breeds of cat, the Maine Coon, with the short-legged Munchkin cat. While they are not an officially recognized breed of cat, Munchkin Maine Coons are a deliberate crossbreed, even if they don’t have a clever name like some other Munchkin mixes. Here is some information on Maine Coon Munchkin cats and the two breeds that make up this interesting mix.

The Earliest Records of Maine Coon Munchkin in History

There is not a lot of information available about the origins of the Maine Coon Munchkin cat. However, because the Munchkin cat breed is relatively new, we can assume that Munchkin Maine Coon mixes were first bred fairly recently compared to some other breeds.

While Maine Coon cats were first recognized in the mid-1800s, the earliest known Munchkin cats made their first appearance almost 100 years later, in the 1940s. These early Munchkin cats were random, short-legged kittens who were born in otherwise normal-sized litters. Reports of these short-legged kittens continued to appear until the 1980s when the first true attempt to develop the Munchkin cat breed began.

Parent breeds of the Maine Coon Munchkin
The parent breeds of Maine Coon Munchkin: Left – Maine Coon (Kanashi, Unsplash) | Right – Munchkin (Phannasit, Shutterstock)

How Maine Coon Munchkin Gained Popularity

Because the Munchkin cat’s characteristic short legs are the result of a genetic mutation, the breed had some issues at the beginning with their health. One way that breeders tried to improve the health of Munchkin cats was to introduce other genetic lines into the mix. Crossbreeding with other breeds of cat or even just common domestic shorthair house cats helped the Munchkin cat become more genetically diverse and healthier overall.

Once the Munchkin cat became a recognized breed in the 1990s, the mixing with other breeds continued, with one of those breeds being the Maine Coon. Munchkin cats and their mixes, including the Maine Coon Munchkin, have been growing in popularity due to their adorable appearance and sweet temperament.

Controversy Over Maine Coon Munchkin Cats

Munchkin cats have been controversial since they first began to be deliberately bred. Because they are the result of a genetic mutation, some people question whether it is ethical to continue breeding that mutation on purpose.

Another factor is that the gene that causes the short legs is what is known as a “lethal” gene. This means that if two cats with this gene are bred together, the kittens won’t survive.

Maine Coon Munchkin cats are safe from the lethal gene because only the Munchkin parent will have it. However, there is some concern over breeding this mix because Maine Coon cats are so usually so much larger than Munchkin cats.  If a small female Munchkin becomes pregnant with Maine Coon-sized kittens, it could be dangerous for her. Breeders of this mix have to be very careful and potential owners should be sure to only work with responsible breeders.

You might also be interested in: 7 Types of Maine Coon Cat Coat Colors: An Overview

Top 3 Unique Facts About Maine Coon Munchkin

1. They won’t all have short legs.

Crossing two breeds of cats together means there is no guarantee how the kittens will turn out. They could take after one parent more than the other or be more of a mixture of the two. Because of this, Maine Coon Munchkin kittens aren’t all going to have the short legs of the Munchkin.  They could have legs of normal Maine Coon length, tiny Munchkin legs, or legs that are somewhere in between.

2. They are named after book characters!

The beloved book and later film, The Wizard of Oz, introduced many memorable characters including flying monkeys and a cowardly lion. However, it is the shortest inhabitants of Oz who first greet Dorothy, that give the Munchkin cat their name. Maine Coon Munchkin owners would probably agree that there’s no place like home without a Maine Coon Munchkin cat!

3. They are a mix of two record-breaking breeds!

Currently, the world record for the shortest cat is held by a Munchkin named Lilieput, who is only 5.25 inches tall! At the same time, the world’s longest cat is a Maine Coon named Barivel, who is a massive 3 feet and 11.2 inches long! Will the Maine Coon Munchkin break records as the world’s cutest cat? Their owners would certainly argue that they should!

Do Maine Coon Munchkins Make Good Pets?

Just like with their appearance, the personality of a crossbred cat could take after one parent more than the other. However, with this particular mix, both Munchkins and Maine Coons are known to be friendly and social breeds so the Maine Coon Munchkin usually will be as well. Because of this, they make great pets for many different families and individuals.

Maine Coon and Munchkin cats both get along well with kids and other pets so we can expect a Maine Coon Munchkin to fit right in with a busy, multi-pet, multi-kid family.

Even if the Maine Coon Munchkin inherits the short legs of their Munchkin parent, you can still expect them to be active and playful cats. Some people assume that short-legged Munchkin cats have trouble getting around, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are still speedy little cats and can get in just as much trouble as a full-size cat!

Maine Coons have famously fluffy coats while Munchkin cats can have coats of any size, color, or length. The amount of grooming your Maine Coon Munchkin will need depends on which parent’s coat they inherit.

Related Read: How To Tell If Your Cat Is a Maine Coon

Summing Up

Maine Coon Munchkin cats are not as easy to find as some other Munchkin mixes. Whether this is because it is tricky to breed them safely or because they haven’t built up a strong following yet, it’s tough to say. While they might be hard to find, it’s easy to see how a cat with the Munchkin’s adorable, kitten-like appearance and the Maine Coon’s affectionate personality would be a great pet.

If what you’ve learned about the Maine Coon Munchkin inspires you to find one of your own, remember to always work with a breeder who guarantees the health of their kittens. That way you can be sure your Maine Coon Munchkin cat is as healthy as they are adorable!

You might also be interested in: Donskoy Cat

Featured Image Credit: Left – Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock, Right – This road is mine, Shutterstock

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