Sphynx / Hairless Cat – Cat Breeds

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The appearance of this cat’s hairlessness is its most distinguishing attribute. The Sphynx is a medium-sized animal with a surprising weight for its size. The skin texture is similar to a soft peach or a smooth nectarine, and the body is warm and velvety to the touch. The Sphynx has a pleasant temperament, is energetic, and is easy to handle.

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Sphynxes are vivacious; they do monkey-like aerialist feats from the tops of entrances and bookshelves. They are very dedicated and faithful to their owners, wagging their tails in a doggie fashion, kneading with their padded toes, and purring with ecstasy at the satisfaction of being near their beloved humans.

They require your undivided attention and are as naughty (and endearing) as children. Despite this, and their strange appearance, they are still cats, with all the mystery and allure that has captivated humans for hundreds of years. While the Sphynx may not be for everyone, its distinct appearance and endearing disposition have earned it a devoted following.


The Sphynx is not the first case of domestic cat hairlessness. For more than a century, and possibly much longer, this natural, spontaneous mutation has been observed in many areas throughout the world.

Frances Simpson’s 1903 book The Book of the Cat mentions a couple of gray and white hairless cats, Dick and Nellie, who belonged to an Albuquerque, New Mexico cat lover called F. J. Boning. These cats, known as “Mexican Hairless,” resembled today’s Sphynx and were allegedly taken from Indians in the Albuquerque area. “The elderly Jesuit Fathers tell me they’re the last of the Aztec kind known exclusively in New Mexico,” Mr. Shinick writes in his letter. It’s unknown if this is true, but Dick and Nellie died without having children.

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In 1950, three hairless kittens were born to a pair of Siamese cats in Paris, France. The same pair’s future matings generated the same outcomes, however breeding the parents to other Siamese cats produced no new hairless kittens. Other hairless cats have been discovered in Morocco, Australia, North Carolina, and, in 1966, Roncesvalles, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where a pair of domestic shorthairs had a litter that included a hairless kitten named Prune. A breeder bought the parents and started a breeding program, naming the breed the Canadian Hairless. Prune mated with his mother, resulting in one hairless kitten.

The CFA granted the breed preliminary recognition in 1970. This line encountered a variety of challenges; the gene pool was limited, and some kittens perished from undiscovered health issues. Due of the breed’s health issues, CFA discontinued recognition in 1971. The last of Prune’s line was shipped to Dr. Hugo Hernandez in Holland in the 1970s. Two hairless female kittens said to be related to Prune were discovered in Toronto in 1978 and 1980. ACFA followed suit in 1994. One feman conceived, but the litter died. None of Prune’s progeny became the Sphynx breed that we know today.

Milt and Ethelyn Pearson of Minnesota discovered a hairless kitten born to their normal-coated farm cat, Jezabelle, in 1975. This hairless kitten, Epidermis, was joined the next year by another hairless kitten, Dermis. Both were sold to Kim Mueske of Oregon, who used the kittens to develop the Sphynx breed. Georgiana Gattenby of Brainerd, Minnesota, experimented with Pearson line kittens as well, using Cornish Rex as an outcross.

At almost the same time (1978), Shirley Smith of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, discovered three hairless kittens on the streets of her neighborhood and named them Bambi, Punkie, and Paloma. The descendants of Bambi, Punkie, and Paloma in Canada, along with Epidermis and Dermis in Oregon, formed the basis for today’s Sphynx. Since its introduction, the breed has achieved significant progress.

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While most cat fanciers have hailed the Sphynx as distinct and exotic, some wish the Sphynx would put on some garments. The Sphynx, like other breeds that have deviated from the fundamental pattern, has received some criticism. Furthermore, because the cat is more susceptible to both heat and cold, the gene that determines hairlessness can be deemed a hereditary disease. Fanciers, on the other hand, claim that we humans are more or less hairless in comparison to our closest ancestors, and that with a dab of sunscreen, we can get by just fine.

For such an uncommon breed, association acceptance came rather quickly after its creation. In 1986, TICA recognised the breed for championship. CCA recognized the Sphynx for championship in 1992. They were shipped to Holland to mate with Prune’s final male descendent. CFA considered the new and enhanced Sphynx lines for registration in 1998, and the breed was accepted for championship in 2002. All North American cat groups, as well as the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in Europe, currently recognize the breed.

Physical Attributes


The body is medium in length, tough, and strong, with a broad rounded chest and a large round abdomen. The rump is strong and well-rounded. When standing, the back line rises just behind the shoulder blades to allow longer back legs. Shinick. Medium-sized, rounded, well-muscled neck with a modest arch.


A modified wedge, slightly longer than it is wide, with pronounced cheekbones, a clear whisker break, and whisker pads that give the muzzle a squared look. The head is slightly rounded and flat in front of the ears. The nose is straight, and the bridge of the nose has a modest to significant palpable halt. Cheekbones that are prominent, rounded, and form a curve above the whisker break.

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Enormous to extremely large. The base is broad, open, and upright. The outer base of the ear should begin at the level of the eye when viewed from the front, neither low set nor on top of the head. The interior of the ears is naturally devoid of decoration.


Large, lemon-shaped, with a wide-open center and a distinct point on each side. The position should be somewhat upward, coinciding with the outer base of the ear. The eyes should be situated far apart, with a minimum space of one eye width between them.


Legs are proportionate to the body. They are strong and muscular, with the back legs being slightly longer than the front. Five in front and four behind have oval paws with well-knuckled toes. The paw pads are thick, giving the impression that the dog is walking on cushions.


Long, slender, and flexible while remaining proportionate to body length. Whip-like, with a tiny point.

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This cat’s appearance is one of hairlessness. The feet, outer margins of the ears, and tail may have short, fine hair. Normally, the bridge of the nose should be coated. The rest of the body can be entirely hairless or covered in soft peach-like fuzz that does not interfere with the illusion of hairlessness. When petting the cat, the texture of the coat/skin provides a sense of resistance. Whiskers are normally absent, but when they do appear, they are short and sparse.


While the qualities listed below are common for this breed, cats are individuals with unique personalities and appearances. For more information about a specific pet, please contact the adoption group.

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