The Cymric is a little-known breed of long-haired cat. One reason that it's relatively unknown outside cat fancy circles is that some people disagree that the Cymric is a separate breed. These cats are sometimes considered to be a type of Manx cat with longer than usual hair. As a result, Cymrics are sometimes called Manx Longhair or Long-haired Manx cats. As many people are aware, the Manx breed is famous for having no tail, and indeed the Cymric breed is also traditionally tailless. Other unique characteristics, however, make the Cymric more than worthy of its own special place in cat breed registries.
Actually, to say that the Cymric has no tail is a bit misleading. Cymric cats can be born with tails that are nearly as long as the tails of other breeds. Because the traditional form of the breed has little to no tail, however, Cymric cats with long tails are usually not considered valuable by cat breeders. Originally, Cymrics came from the Isle of Man, near Wales, and the tailless trait developed as a genetic mutation. Since the gene for short or absent tails is dominant, this unusual physical characteristic came to be a hallmark of the breed. However, if a cat inherits the tailless gene from both parents, it will die before birth, resulting in miscarriage. Therefore, breeders select for this trait carefully; nevertheless, Cymric litters often contain one or more miscarried kittens.
In terms of personality, Cymric cats bear a strong resemblance to the Manx breed. Both breeds are playful and friendly, while maintaining independence. Healthy Cymrics are very agile and can jump better than many cat breeds. However, Cymrics are to a certain extent susceptible to diseases that can inhibit their ability to move. One example is the spinal deformation known as Spina Bifida, which causes the vertebrae to have abnormal gaps between them. Even in healthy Cymrics, the vertebrae are shorter than normal, giving their backs a hunched appearance. This can occasionally affect the way the cats move, as well, but it is not considered a deformity. In fact, the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) indicates that an ideal Cymric should have noticeably longer hind legs than front legs.
Highlights from the ACFA Standard
Because of its long hair, the Cymric is arguably more attractive than the Manx, but it wasn't until the 1970s that cat breeders and fanciers began to show this breed at cat shows. According to the ACFA standard, the Cymric's flank should have a greater depth than any other breed. That means that the side of the cat in between the ribs and the hip should be large in proportion to the rest of the cat's body. For example, many cats get thinner in the flank as their bodies taper behind the ribs. In Cymric, this should not happen. The ACFA also prefers Cymrics to have a faded color, although many colors are possible.
Cymrics in the Home
When caring for a Cymric in the home, the Cymric's long hair needs to be groomed at least once or twice per week, making it a more time intensive breed to maintain than a standard Manx. Like the Manx, however, Cymrics are very loyal and loving. Some will make noises similar to growling if they notice an intruder, and they can even be taught to fetch and do other simple "dog-like" tricks. These characteristics make Cymrics good companions for cat fanciers and families alike.