Federation Internationale Feline World Cat Federation
The progenitor of the Sphynx appeared in Toronto, Canada, in 1966, born to a domestic cat with a regular coat. The hairlessness is the result of a natural mutation and wasn’t the first example of hairlessness in cats. A pair of hairless cats had been known of in Mexico at the turn of the last century, but they were not related to the modern Sphynx.
The Canadian cat and other hairless cats found throughout the world were bred to cats with normal coats and then back to hairless cats to create a large gene pool. Devon Rex and American Shorthair cats are among the breeds that played a role in the development of the Sphynx.
The most distinctive feature of this cat is its appearance of hairlessness, although Sphynx are not actually completely hairless cats and there should be some evidence of “hair” on the bridge of the nose and the ears. The Sphynx is of medium size and body conformation with surprising weight for its size. Females are generally smaller than males. The body feels warm and soft to the touch, with a skin texture akin to either a soft peach or a smooth nectarine. The Sphynx is sweet-tempered, lively, and amenable to handling.
Head: the head is a modified wedge, slightly longer than it is wide, with prominent cheekbones, a distinctive whisker break and whisker pads giving a squared appearance to the muzzle. The skull is slightly rounded with a flat plane in front of the ears. The nose is straight and there is a slight to moderate palpable stop at the bridge of the nose.
Cheeks and cheekbones: prominent, rounded cheekbones which define the eye and form a curve above the whisker break.
Muzzle and chin: whisker break with prominent whisker pads. Strong, well developed chin forming perpendicular line with upper lip.
Ears: large to very large. Broad at the base, open and upright. When viewed from the front, the outer base of the ear should begin at the level of the eye, neither low set nor on top of the head. The interior of the ears is naturally without furnishing.
Eyes: large, lemon-shaped, with wide-open center while coming to a definite point on each side. Placement should be at a slight upward angle, aligning with the outer base of the ear. Eyes to be set wide apart with the distance between the eyes being a minimum of one eye width. As no points are assigned to eye color, all eye colors are accepted and should be harmonious with coat/skin color.
Body: the body is medium length, hard and muscular with broad rounded chest and full round abdomen. The rump is well rounded and muscular. Back line rises just behind the shoulder blades to accommodate longer back legs when standing. Boning is medium.
Neck: the neck is medium in length, rounded, well muscled, with a slight arch. Allowance to be made for heavy musculature in adult males.
Legs and feet: legs are medium in proportion to the body. They are sturdy and well muscled with rear legs being slightly longer than the front. Paws are oval with well-knuckled toes; five in front and four behind. The paw pads are thick, giving the appearance of walking on cushions.
Tail: slender, flexible, and long while maintaining proportion to body length. Whip-like, tapering to a fine point.
Coat/Skin: the appearance of this cat is one of hairlessness. Short, fine hair may be present on the feet, outer edges of the ears, the tail, and the scrotum. The bridge of the nose should be normally coated. The remainder of the body can range from completely hairless to a covering of soft peach-like fuzz whose length does not interfere with the appearance of hairlessness. This coat/skin texture creates a feeling of resistance when stroking the cat. Wrinkled skin is desirable, particularly around the muzzle, between the ears, and around the shoulders. There are usually no whiskers but if whiskers are present they are short and sparse.
Colour: color and pattern are difficult to distinguish and should not affect the judging of the cat. White lockets, buttons, or belly spots are allowed.
Quiet and smooth.
Weight — 2.5-5.5 kg.
People who love them say that living with a Sphynx is substantially different from having a “regular” cat. The Sphynx is snuggly and affectionate, always wanting to be close to you. Partly that’s because he’s seeking warmth, but he is an unusually friendly cat who loves attention and touch.
The Sphynx adores having company, so if you work during the day, it’s a good idea to have two so they can play and sleep together while you’re gone. If you have more than one, you may find that they travel in pairs or “packs” for moral support, especially if they are in a new situation. You’ll know they are comfortable in a home when they start venturing off on their own.
Expect the Sphynx to follow you wherever you go. He’s always eager to “help” with whatever you’re doing. He will also be the household greeter, welcoming guests, giving head butts, even jumping on an available shoulder. If cats can be said to flirt, the Sphynx certainly does so. He’ll do anything for attention, so you will always be kept laughing by his silly antics. He is fearless, mischievous and clever.
The best thing about a Sphynx? There’s no “rubbing him the wrong way.”
Lifespan — 13-15 years.
Good with children, good with other household pets, very low shedding, high sociability with strangers.
The breed is easy going and may be kept and bred without any problems.
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Sphynx is generally healthy, but he may develop certain conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a neurological disease called hereditary myopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common form of heart disease in cats and causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. An echocardiogram can confirm whether a cat has HCM. Avoid breeders who claim to have HCM-free lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will never develop HCM.
Hereditary myopathy affects muscle function. It eventually causes death when the cat is no longer able to swallow. Fortunately, the condition is rare and breeders are working hard to eradicate it from the breed.
The Sphynx can also be prone to some skin conditions, such as urticaria pigmentosa and cutaneous mastocytosis, as well as to periodontal disease. Teach him to let you brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Even though the Sphynx has a Buddha belly, he shouldn’t be overweight. Keeping a Sphynx at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.