Sphynx is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played by this incomparable actor.
The History of the Breed
Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history, breeders in Europe have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s. Like so many other feline breeds, the present day Sphynx line has been a creation of the simultaneous work performed by nature and many committed, competent individuals. Two different sets of hairless felines discovered in North America in the 1970s provided the foundation cats for that which was shaped into the existing Sphynx breed.
The Canadian Sphynx breed was started in 1966, in Roncesvalles, Toronto when a hairless kitten named Prune was born to a black and white domestic shorthair queen (Elizabeth) in Ontario, Canada. The owner named the hairless kitten Prune, due to the wrinkled hairless skin. The kitten was mated with its mother (backcrossing), which produced one more naked kitten. Together with a few naked kittens found later it founded the first attempt to create a hairless breed.
After purchasing these cats in 1966 and initially referring to them as "Moonstones" and "Canadian Hairless," Mr. Ridyadh Bawa, a science graduate of the University of Toronto and his mother Yania, a long time Siamese breeder, and the Tenhoves (Kees and Rita) decided to develop a breed of cats which was subsequently renamed as "Sphynx". It is apparent that the Bawas and the Tenhoves were the first individuals able to determine the autosomal recessive nature of the Sphynx gene for hairlessness while also being successful in transforming this knowledge into a successful breeding program with kittens which were eventually capable of reproducing.
The first noted naturally occurring foundation Sphynx originated at the Wadena, Minnesota farm of Milt and Ethelyn Pearson, who identified hairless kittens occurring in several litters of their Domestic Shorthair (DSH) barn cats in the mid-1970s. Two hairless female kittens born in 1975 and 1976, Epidermis and Dermis, became an important part of the Sphynx breeding program and further hairless cats were found in Texas, Arkansas, and Minnesota. Modern Sphynx, therefore, trace their origins to the second Canadian bloodline and to the Minnesota cats.
In 1978 and 1980, two further hairless female kittens were found in Toronto and were sent to the Netherlands to be bred with Prune's last surviving male descendent. Unfortunately he was not interested in any females and with no male Sphynx left , breeders instead used sparsely-furred, Devon Rex Studs. Now the Canadian Sphynx is a breed with a sound genetic pool. Outcrossing is still permitted using guidelines set down in the "standards" from each Feline Association around the globe. TICA has recognized this breed for over 20 years and there are now several thousand Sphynx registered in the world.
Thanks to determination, hard work and selective breeding, we can enjoy this unique and wonderful breed of cats.