The Cymric – pronounced "koom-rick" - is a long-haired version of the Manx cat. Both varieties are characterized by the extreme shortness or absence of a tail. The only real difference between the two breeds is the length or shortness of their coats. In many purebred cat registries, the Cymric is no longer recognized as a distinct breed, but instead is included as a long-haired variety of the Manx within the breed standard.
Four different tail-types are recognized in Cymric (and short-haired Manx) cats. The "Rumpy" is a totally tail-less cat and is considered by fanciers to be the most valuable and the best for show competition. Rumpies have no trace of a tail and typically have a hollow, or a "dimple," at the base of their spine, where a tail should otherwise have been. "Rumpy-risers" have a short knob-of-a-tail that is made up of only one or two vertebrae at the end of the spine. "Stumpies" have a small tail stump that is slightly longer than that of a Rumpy-riser and usually is curved, knotted or kinked. Finally, the occasional "Longies" have tails that are shorter than - but approaching the length of – the tails of ordinary cats. This is a muscular, compact, medium-to-large breed with a sturdy bone structure and an overall rounded heaviness to its appearance. They normally weigh between 7 and 15 pounds at maturity. Cymrics have broad round heads, jowly cheeks, large expressive eyes and widely-spaced pointed ears. Their necks are short and thick, and their front legs are somewhat short in proportion to their bodies. The coat of this breed is long, dense and fluffy across its entire body, adding to its beautiful, rounded appearance. All colors and patterns are accepted in the Cymric, and its eye color can be copper, green, hazel or blue, although other eye colors have been seen. Despite its long coat, the Cymric is not prone to matting and is quite easy to groom. The initial breed standard for the Cymric was virtually identical to that of the Manx, with the exception of the long versus short hair coat. Now, at least in America under the breed standard of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), the Cymric is no longer described as a separate breed but rather is included in a long-haired division under the Manx breed standard.
They Cymric got its name from the word "Cymru," which is the traditional or indigenous name for "being of, or from, Wales." Its long-haired, tail-less traits began as spontaneous mutations among the domestic Manx population on the island of Wales in the mid-twentieth century. Over time, some short-haired tail-less Manx cats had long-haired kittens among their litters, most of which were considered not true to type for the Manx breed. However, some Manx breeders became intrigued by these longer-haired versions of their tail-less cats.
The first officially recorded North American Cymric cat was born in Canada in the 1960s. In the latter part of that decade, breeders of Manx cats in America began to focus on the occasional long-haired kittens in their litters as being interesting, rather than simply something to neuter and place only in pet homes. The long-haired gene is recessive to the short-haired gene, which made it necessary to introduce outcrosses of long-haired, fully-tailed cats into Manx breeding programs in order to consistently produce the long-haired variety. Introduction of these outcrosses widened the gene pool and strengthened the type of the Cymric, or what we now call the long-haired Manx.
This highly unusual tail-less cat quickly gained popularity among cat lovers. However, it took many years for the Cymric to become recognized by purebred cat registry associations. The Manx was recognized in the 1920s, but the Cymric was not really developed until the 1960s and did not begin to gain popularity until the mid-1970s. The Cymric is best known in North America and Great Britain, although it is still an uncommon cat. It still has not been officially recognized in the United Kingdom for purebred registry. Today, in America, the Cymric is officially recognized as and considered to be a long-haired Manx, rather than a separate breed.
The genetic mutation that causes the shortness or absence of a tail in this breed is caused by a mutation similar to the one that causes spina bifida in people. Unfortunately, many of the kittens in litters of short-haired and long-haired Manx queens are stillborn, or later develop spina bifida or another neurological abnormality called sacrocaudal dysgenesis. The breed is predisposed to developing gastrointestinal disorders including megacolon and rectal prolapse. They also are at an increased risk of corneal dystrophy, which is a progressive eye condition that typically becomes evident by about four months of age.
Cymrics - or long-haired Manx - are intelligent, affectionate, fun-loving cats that typically get along very well with other animals, including dogs. Like their short-haired counterparts, the long-haired Manx are extremely loyal to their humans and enjoy spending as much quality time with them as possible, every hour of every day. They are wonderfully playful cats. Many Cymrics can easily be taught tricks, which constantly amuse and delight friends and family members, and also household visitors. Despite their outgoing temperaments, these cats are uniformly gentle and non-aggressive and are not known to be pushy, forward or overly demanding of attention.
The Cymric is a stocky, athletic breed, with an ability to jump that defies its husky size, weight and structure. They often are found perching on something that is at the very highest point in a room, without any obvious pathway for how they reached that lofty place. The Cymric, or long-haired Manx, has exceptionally powerful and well-developed hindquarters, which give it the unique ability to successfully leap unusually high and far.
The long-haired version of the Manx is particularly dog-like in terms of temperament and traits. The Cymric is known to bury bones and toys much like a dog, and to retrieve objects willingly during games of toss and fetch. They tend to be either one-person cats or uniformly family cats. If a Cymric is especially bonded to one owner, it can be difficult to successfully introduce it to another owner or household. However, when a Cymric is fully a family cat, it easily adapts to most new family members or changes in environment.
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