A potted Sphynx history
The Sphynx cat first appeared in Ontario, Canada in 1966 when a black and white domestic shorthair named Elizabeth, owned by a Mrs Micalwaith, gave birth to a litter of kittens, which included a hairless male. His name was Prune and when old enough, he was mated back to his mother, which resulted in a litter of coated and hairless kittens, some of which were exported to Europe and acquired the breed name of Sphynx
Sphynx were first imported from Canada into Holland by breeder Hugo Herenandez, who used two youngsters named Punkie and Paloma to establish an original European line of Sphynx. This was the start of the breed as we know it today.
Although the hairless cats have appeared in many countries since the early 1900s, they were never taken up a part of a breeding programme. In the early days, Devon Rex were used for out crossing to expand the gene pool, but this is no longer allowed in the Sphynx Club's breeding policies under GCCF rules due to genetic co-dominance. Acceptable outcrosses are Domestic shorthair and Russian Blue.
In 1988 Jan Plumb and Angela Rushbrook, seasoned breeders of Devon Rex, imported the first Sphynx into the UK. Tulip (or Hathor de Calecat to give her full pedigree name) was a 4 year old black and white Sphynx imported from The Netherlands.
In 1990 Jan & Angela applied to the GCCF for the breed to be recognised, but this was refused as Governing Council Executive felt the breed was not viable in a normal pet home and consequently were not allowed to place Sphynx on exhibition any more. However this did not stop the breed gaining popularity and in July 2005 the Sphynx were once again allowed to be placed on exhibition at GCCF shows.
There are currently 3 breed clubs for the Sphynx cat in the UK recognised by the GCCF. The first was The Sphynx Cat Club and it was this club that worked for such a long time for recognition of this fabulous cat. Subsequently this has been joined by the Sphynx Cat Association and these have worked hard at developing a breeding policy, aimed at achieving full recognition. We then progressed to preliminary recognition which meant that Sphynx could be shown and assessed by judges for Merit. The required number of cats considered to have the correct type has now been achieved and we are now able to compete for Intermediate Certificates. The required number of cats quickly gained these certificates and we have now moved to full recognition under the GCCF. Jack is the first male to achieve Grand Champion status and he is the first Sphynx to achieve the Imperial Grand Champion title.
Although Sphynx cats appear naked, they are covered with a very fine down almost impossible to see. Slightly thicker down evident on the muzzle, ears, feet and tail. The overall feel of a sphynx is that of warm chamois leather or a peach. Sphynx come in all colours and patterns, but are classified as one variety.
As the Sphynx lacks a coat, and body oils cannot be absorbed by the fur, but these can be removed by bathing, which some Sphynx enjoy. However, I have found that by feeding a raw/wet diet, this problem does not occour. My cats are bathed before a show so they smell nice, not because they have produced excessive oils. Attention should be taken to their ears and feet as they can get very dirty with wax but maybe cleaned easily with cotton buds. Sphynx are not delicate and do not require extra heat, as many people think. In fact, this will make them sweat more. An ordinary cat bed with a blanket that they can wrap up in is perfectly acceptable. Sphynx are lively, intelligent and good natured cats and should be easy to handle. They crave human company, following their owners around the house. They live quite happily with other breeds and dogs. As they are so gregarious they should never be kept as the only cat in a household, but have some form of feline company - ideally another sphynx.
This is a very useful and informative video - it is American and accurate except the bit about regular bathing. A good raw diet means that bathing is not required very often.