Sphynx are a medium to large sized cat, muscular, heavy
for it's appearance and size. Their ears are large to
very large, open wide and upright, much like the ears of
a bat. The widely set eyes with their candid gaze gives
the Sphynx an approachable, friendly appearance. There
is no specific eye color and this can vary. The
cheekbones are prominent.
The whisker pads are full, as so are the pads of the
Sphynx are often described as having a "pot belly." This
is an expected characteristic of the cat and should not
be discouraged, especially since the Sphynx has a hearty
appetite and a very high metabolism.
In body, though they appear to be hairless, not all
Sphinx’s are hairless. They are actually covered with a
fine down which can only barely be felt or even seen by
the naked eye. Because of its fineness, the skin of the
Sphynx is often compared to warm suede.
Another unusual trait of this cat are the wrinkles. They
are concentrated around the shoulders, between the ears
and around the muzzle.
Coloring can vary considerably. The standard does not
include color or markings, except to say all colors and
patterns, in any combination that would be found in a
feline, are acceptable for the sphynx.
Personality and Temperament
Sphynx are high energy cats which can perform acrobatic
tricks, much like a monkey. The Sphynx is excellent at
balancing, climbing atop doors and bookshelves, and even
perching on shoulders like a bird. They love human
attention and will perform shenanigans for everyone's
Like a clown, the Sphynx truly enjoys being a show-off.
The Sphynx is curious and mischievous, and these
qualities, coupled with the high level of intelligence
found in this breed, can make it a handful. But, it is
also a well behaved and easy to handle breed.
Because of its friendliness and sense of humor, along
with ease of handling, the Sphynx is a favorite with
show judges. Sphynx are solely indoor cats, since
their charming qualities can get them into dangerous
situation. Sphynx are loyal and affectionate towards its
owners, even following you around the house, wagging its
tail. The Sphynx is a true extrovert. It will demand
your undivided attention and hates to be ignored.
Sphynx also get on well with other animals, both cats
Health and Care
Despite its apparent lack of hair, it is important to
groom the Sphynx. For a regular cat, body oils are
absorbed by the fur, but the Sphynx, clearly lacking in
that attribute, does not have a natural way of keeping
the oil on the skin in balance. This can lead to skin
problems if the cat is not groomed. A regular bathing
routine at least once a week to remove the build-up of
body oils is sufficient to keep the skin healthy and the
An important consideration for the skin, which may seem
obvious, is that the Sphynx must be safe-guarded from
the sun. Only limited exposure. A small amount of sun
will intensify the natural colors of the cat's skin, but
too much will burn the cat, just as it does human skin.
Genetically, the Sphynx is strong, and not prone to
anything specific to its breed. The Sphynx is a hearty
breed, with few health problems.
History and Background
The unusual characteristic of a hairless cat was
probably a naturally spontaneous mutation in the breed.
In Canada, in 1966, a pair of domestic shorthairs
produced a litter that included a hairless kitten. It
was then that the modern Sphynx came into existence.
It was in 2002 that the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
finally accepted the Sphynx for competition in the
Championship class. In 2006, Majikmoon Will Silver With
Age, bred by Rebekah Lewis, won the CFA Cat of the Year,
and in 2007, Enchantdlair NWA Cornflake Girl, bred and
owned by Mary P. Nelson, won Kitten of the Year.
In the 1970's to 1980's, Devon Rex were used as
outcrosses due to fatal genetic abnormalities presenting
in sphynx. Outcrossing with Devon Rex is no longer
permitted. Until 2010, Sphynx were also outcrossed with
American Shorthair to broaden the gene pool.
Currently only mating’s within the breed are allowed, as
the sphynx gene line is now considered stable and
reliable for producing healthy cats.
Text credit: Rachel Pegg.