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Lovely Cats on Short Legs

“With its genetically inherited charm of the hairless Sphynx and the touching spontaneity of the short-legged Munchkin, Bambino is the most unusual breed among cats.”

(Cats and Dogs magazine No. 9 for 2007)

         Have you ever seen anything more extraordinary looking? A hairless cat and on very short legs to boot – this little charming darling is called Bambino.
BAMBINO is a shock-cat.
         You experience a shock when you first see this small animal, in which you don’t even recognize a cat straight away. On first encounter this little creature has been called a doggy, a baby kangaroo, a mini-pig. Those who saw Bambino in action suggested that it might be some uncommon breed of rabbit or marten. And the faster it disappeared from view the longer was the audience’s perplexity. Whatever was people’s reaction to Bambino – from delight to occasionally even fear – one thing was constant: no one remained indifferent at the sight of this extraordinary cat.
         The hairless pear-shaped body on very short legs, the skin with lots of mobile folds, huge locator-like ears on wrinkled head adorned with large lemon-shaped eyes with a surprised look.
         Our citizens have long become used to hairless cats as pet animals at home. Moreover, Sphynx cats have also become popular characters in animated cartoons and other multimedia venues such as advertising films and all sorts of captions and stills. One could say that Bambino is a continuation of the “hairless series” but that would not be quite fair – Bambino is indeed a hairless cat but in all other respects it is inimitable and unique, having incorporated all the extreme characteristics of the species within its little body.
         When Bambino is lying still you can take it for a Sphynx. But when it gets on its feet it gives you a shock. Its legs are quite short and covered in leathery wrinkles, and it is touchingly bow-legged. Then the little creature starts moving and your heart melts with tenderness – here is an extra-terrestrial baby for you. When Bambino walks with its head high and its characteristic air of importance it resembles a human infant on its fours, who believes itself to be quite grown-up and independent. When Bambino romps and plays it is impetuous as a hunting Dachshund. Bambino’s manner of running is so unlike feline, its movements are so unusual and unpredictable (some people say it brings to mind a marten) that you get another shock: how can it be so agile on such tiny legs? It’s not an easy task to catch a Bambino at play: it can sprawl flat on the floor and maneuver as a ray on sea bottom. Moreover, it is fully aware that it’s a game: Bambinos are very smart. They intentionally try to amuse and inspire you with their tricks and they rejoice in the game as little children.
         Finally, when you take a Bambino into your arms, you experience the strongest shock: you realize that it can be taken away from you only by force.

About the Bambino Cat
Bambinos are the deliberate hybrid of long-boned shortened dwarf cats, including the Munchkin and the extremely short-coated or hairless cats, the Sphynx, the desired results being a hairless, short cat with an athletic appearance and a gentle but lively, outgoing and affectionate personality. Bambinos are intelligent, friendly cats that are agile as their size does not hamper their movements. They respond well to being handled as they are very interactive, social cats.
Bambino litters produce both short-legged and long-legged kittens. The only difference between the short and tall siblings are their leg lengths. Bambino long-legs are vital to the Bambino breeding program as they match the standard in every other way and are essentially the same as Sphynx. They do not carry a short legged gene.
Bambinos are currently accepted for registration in the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR). They are recognized as an experimental new breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) and will be shown in TICA as Sphynx, New Trait.
A "short" Bambino History
Short, hairless cats, being the product of Munchkin to Sphynx outcrossings, have been around for a number of years. Stephanie and Pat Osborne of HolyMoly Cattery acquired one of these Munchkin/Sphynx hybrids and instantly fell in love with his personality and appearance. After much research into the health and viability of these short, hairless cats, the Bambino breed was established and founded by Stephanie and Pat in 2005. Pat is from an Italian heritage so we chose the name Bambino. Bambino Cats, or "Baby Cats" in Italian, is a true description since Bambinos keep their kitten like appearance and behaviour all of their life.
The first litter of registered Bambinos were born to HolyMoly Cattery. An application for registration status was sent in to The International Cat Association (TICA) for acceptance as a new breed and in 2006 by Stephanie and Pat. TICA recognized Bambinos as a new experimental breed and began registering them as such. Bambinos are also accepted for registration by the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR).

About the Foundation Breeds
The Munchkin's distinctive short legs developed from a spontaneous autosomal dominant mutation which has occurred several times in the domestic cat. Munchkins exhibit shortening and may have slight bowing of the long bones. The spine is unaffected and similar in form and flexibility to that seen in other domestic cats. The short legs do not hamper mobility or survival ability. The breed has been established from spontaneously occurring domestic cat lines with augmentation by outcrosses to other domestic cats. Munchkins are outgoing, intelligent, and respond well to being handled.
Excerpt from the Munchkin Breed Standard.
The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, although it is not truly hairless. The skin should have the texture of chamois. It may be covered with very fine down which is almost imperceptible to both the eye and the touch. On the ears, muzzle, tail, feet and scrotum, short, soft, fine hair is allowed. Lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or broken, or may be totally absent. The cat should not be small or dainty. The Sphynx is sweet-tempered, lively, intelligent and above all amenable to handling. Excerpt from the Sphynx Breed Standard.

Future Development of the Bambino Cat
Bambinos are still fairly new and rare. Our group of dedicated Bambino breeders are working towards healthy cats that match the Bambino standard and to have them accepted worldwide in all registries.
Baminos are just like the Sphynx and follow the Sphynx/Bambino standard. The long legged kittens in each litter are essentially Sphynx as they carry no dwarf gene but they do carry the Bambino name at this point. Our goal is to have them accepted into a Sphynx breed group eventually. Then the short kittens would be Bambinos and their long legged siblings would be able to be called what they really are: Sphynx.

PERMISSABLE OUTCROSSES: Sphynx, Munchkin, Minskin, Domestic Longhair, Domestic Shorthair

Shape: Medium modified wedge, longer than wide, blunted by almost square muzzle. Gently curving lines form slight muzzle break.
Ears: Large, upright and moderately pointed, set well on top of head, bottom even with corner of eye with outer line not flaring out side of head but continuing the upward sweep of the facial line. Lynx tipping desired.
Eyes: Large lemon-shaped. Separated enough to allow the flat plane of the nose to be completely visible. Outer corner of eye even with beginning of the rise of the ear. Round eyes considered unacceptable.
Profile: Gentle curving line forehead. Gentle concave curve at bridge of nose flowing into a smooth nose line.
Muzzle: Medium in length. Square appearance, not Roman, tapering to an almost blunt end. Nose should be smooth with gentle stop.
Chin: Firm chin that lines up straight with tip of nose to complete the square muzzle.
Neck: Proportionate to the length of the body. Thick and strong preferred to thin. As with the rest of the cat, the neck should be straight and well muscled..

Torso: Medium, sturdy, rectangular with broad chest. Back should be as level as possible with a slight rise in the back legs allowed but not desired.
Legs: Short, well developed. Giving the appearance of strength and power.
Feet: Medium with well defined toes and prominent knuckles.
Tail: Long, slender and flexible tapering to a point. Ideal tail is graceful and slender accenting the athletic appearance. Tail tufts are acceptable.
Boning: Medium
Musculatur e: Well muscled with a stocky appearance.

Length: Skin gives the appearance of being hairless but is actually covered by a very fine down which is virtually imperceptible to the eye but can be felt by touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be short, broken or totally absent.
Texture: Skin should be very soft and have the texture of a warm supple suede.

Bambinos are the deliberate hybrid of the Munchkin and Sphynx, the desired results being a hairless, short cat with an athletic appearance and a gentle but lively, outgoing and affectionate personality. They are a friendly, outgoing cat that's short ststure does not hamper it's movements. The Bambino responds well to being handled as they are very interactive, social cats.

ALLOWANCES: Less musculature in females. A feminine appearance in an altered male. Lockets or buttons.

PENALIZE: Frail, fine boned body.

WITHHOLD AWARDS: Any sign of hair removal. Aggressive behavior.

Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud but may not threaten to harm. The following shall be considered mandatory disqualifications: a cat that bites, a cat showing evidence of intent to deceive, adult whole male cats not having two descended testicles, cats with all or part of the tail missing , cats with more than five toes on each front foot and four toes on each back foot, unless proved the result of an injury, visible or invisible tail faults, crossed eyes, total blindness, markedly smaller size, not in keeping with the breed, depression of the sternum or unusually small diameter of the rib cage itself.