Sphynx Breed Information
The Sphynx (aka Canadian
Hairless) is a rare breed of
cat. 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
soft, fine down, which is almost imperceptible to both the eye and
touch. On the ears, muzzle, tail, and feet, a 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. Their skin is the color their fur
would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point,
van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found in Sphynx too. People are
surprised by how different their personalities are. Many describe
them as part monkey, pig and human because of how intelligent,
extroverted and affectionate they are.
Many people with typical allergies to furry cats find that they tolerate the sphynx breed. This may be due to the fact that the proteins in cat saliva are often the culprit. Because sphynx lack hair and do not leave it behind, many have fewer difficulties living in harmony with the breed. There is no guarantee, however, and allergies vary greatly between individual people.
Sphynx cats are not maintenance-free. Their lack of hair results in increased body oils. Regular bathing is often necessary. Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop a sunburn, similar to that of human exposure. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat in colder temperatures, and their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations.
The Sphynx breed is known for a sturdy, heavy body (many cats of this breed also develop a pot belly), a wedge-shaped head, and an alert, friendly temperament. Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history (hairless cats seem to appear naturally about every 15 years or so), breeders in Canada have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s. The current American and European Sphynx breed is descended from two lines of natural mutations:
* Dermis and Epidermis (1975) from the Pearsons of Wadena, Minnesota, USA.
* Bambi, Punkie, and Paloma (1978) found in Toronto, ON, Canada and raised by Shirley Smith.
Other hairless breeds might have different body shapes or temperaments than those described above. There are, for example, new hairless breeds, including the Don Sphynx and the Peterbald from Russia, which arose from their own spontaneous mutations. The standard for the Sphynx differs between cat associations such as TICA, FIFE and CFA.
It has been theorised that Sphynx hairlessness might be produced by an allele of the same gene that produces the Devon Rex (re), with the Sphynx allele being incompletely dominant over the Devon allele and both recessive to the wild type. However a different genetic symbol (hr) is given to the Sphynx gene and it is more likely that these are different genes interacting with each other. Sphynx were at one time crossbred with Devon Rex, but unfortunately this led to the introduction of some genetic diseases and is now forbidden in most breed standards associations. Herediary spasticity and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (a genetic heart defect) were introduced by the Devon Rex breed. The only allowable outcross breeds in the CFA are now the American Shorthair and Domestic Shorthair. Other associations may vary and the Russian Blue is a permitted outcross in the GCCF. In Europe mainly Devon Rex has been used for outcrosses.
In 1999 SGC Apophis Nordstrom of Classical Cats won the TICA International Alter of the Year. In 2006 SGC Classical Cats Valentino won the TICA International Cat of the year. In the Cat Fancier's Association, GC, RW, NW Majikmoon Will Silver With Age was Cat of the Year for 2006. The following year, GC, RW, NW Enchantedlair NWA Cornflake Girl was Kitten of the Year. These awards are handed out for the highest scoring cats, across all breeds.
1. Popular culture
* A Sphynx, Mr. Bigglesworth, appears in the Austin Powers movies as Dr. Evil's cat. Mr. Bigglesworth was played by SGC Belfry Ted Nude-Gent, owned and bred by Michelle Berge of Belfry Sphynx.
* In the Friends episode 'The One with the Ball', Rachel Green buys a Sphynx cat named Mrs. Whiskerson ("What am I gonna call her, Fluffy?"). Both Ross ("Why is it inside-out?") and Joey ("It's not a cat!") think it's hideous.
* In the reality TV show LA Ink tattoo artist Kat Von D has a pet Sphynx named Ludwig.
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