Origins of the "Sphynx" Cat
"Baby" One of our Queens as a kitten!
In 1966 a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto, Canada. It was discovered to be a natural mutation and the Sphynx cat, as we know it today, came into existence. This cat and a few other naturally hairless cats have been found worldwide.
Hairlessness is a trait which has occurred in several places at different times.
There are reports of this mutation occurring in France, Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Australia, Canada, USA, Mexico, Morocco, Russia and Hawaii.
The first properly recorded hairless "breed" was the now extinct Mexican Hairless (also called the New Mexican Hairless). It was claimed that these were the last survivors of an ancient Aztec breed of cat.
They resembled the modern Sphynx but were less extreme in face shape. Sadly, the Mexican Hairless was lost through lack of a breeding program.
The modern Sphynx (Canadian Hairless) may be advertised as the hairless cat from the scrolls of antiquity, but it derives from Canadian cats of either the 1960s or 1970s.
It has variously been known as the Moon Cat, Moonstone Cat or Canadian Hairless and may be spelled either Sphynx or Sphinx, though the former spelling is more common.
Rather than being totally hairless, the modern Sphynx derived from Canadian cats and other genetically compatible spontaneously occurring hairless cats has a light peach-fuzz on the skin and sometimes fur on the tail-tip.
Unlike the Mexican Hairless, it does not grow a ridge of fur during the colder seasonsHairless cats were reported in England in 1981 and 1984, but for many years, the Canadian-bred Sphynx was unopposed as the sole hairless cat breed.
This changed with the appearance of the Don Sphynx (Don Hairless, Russian Hairless, Don Bald Cat, Donskoy/Donsky) in 1987 with a hairless blue tortoiseshell cat, which became foundation cat for the Don Sphynx breeding line.
The gene for hairlessness is dominant to the gene for normal coat. The Don Sphynx cats were bred to European Shorthairs, Domestic Shorthairs and Russian Blues.
The first true Peterbalds were born using a tortie oriental female and tabby Don Sphynx with some Oriental traits.
The Don Sphynx was also bred with Russian Blues to produce more Don Sphynx, but some of the offspring were used in the Peterbald breeding program.
It is a medium sized cat with curly whiskers and tail tip and may have soft, dense, close lying, slightly curly coat.
For more Information:
The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA)
CFA Sphynx Breed Profile
CFA Breed Standard
The International Cat Association (TICA)
TICA Breed Standard
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