The hind legs of a Manx are longer than the front legs, creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump giving the cat a rounded appearance. Ears are smaller than most cat breeds and Manx can come in any colour, including Tortoise-shell, Tabby and all solid coat colours. Heads are round in shape, and often very expressive, with cute eyes and small nose.
Manx kittens are classified according to tail length:
- Rumpy - no tail whatsoever
- Rumpy Riser - stub of cartilage or several vertebrae under the fur, most noticeable when kitten is happy and raising its 'tail'
- Stumpy - partial tail, more than a 'riser' but less than 'tailed' (in rare cases kittens are born with kinked tails because of incomplete growth of the tail during development)
- Tailed - complete or near complete tail
- Stubby - half tail, or short tail
- Tail length is random throughout a litter.
Manx cats exhibit two coat lengths. The short-haired Manx has a double coat with a thick, short under-layer and a longer, coarse outer-layer with guard hairs. The long-haired Manx, known to some cat registries as the Cymric, has a silky-textured double coat of medium length, with britches, belly and neck ruff, tufts of fur between the toes and full ear furnishings. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) considers the Cymric to be a variety of Manx and judges it in the short-hair division, while The International Cat Association (TICA) judges it in the long-hair division. Short or long-haired, all Manx have a thick double-layered coat.
Manx Syndrome is a colloquial name given to the condition which results when the mutant tailless gene shortens the spine too much. It can seriously damage the spinal cord and the nerves causing spina bifida as well as problems with the bowels, bladder, and digestion. Some only live for 3 years; the oldest recorded was 5 years when affected with the disease. In one study it was shown to affect about 20% of Manx cats, but almost all of those cases were rumpies, which exhibit the most extreme phenotype.
Renowned feline expert Roger Tabor has stated that "Only the fact that the Manx is a historic breed stops us being as critical of this dangerous gene as of other more recent selected abnormalities." The breed is also predisposed to rump fold intertrigo and corneal dystrophy.
The Manx breed, in spite of the absence of tail, has no problems with balance, mostly because of its long legs and round features.