Skip Navigation

Sphynx | breed profile

Bald but beautiful, the Sphynx cat is an outgoing and loving feline.

Introduction

The Sphynx cat, sometimes known as the Canadian Sphynx was developed through selective breeding of cats with a naturally occurring genetic mutation leading to hairlessness in Canada in the 1960’s. 

Unfortunately, the earlier Sphynx cats were plagued with health and reproductive problems. Eventually more success was had in developing the breed through increasing the genetic pool and better understanding of genetics.

Appearance and Personality

Sphynx cats can come in any cat colour or pattern which is reflected in the colour of their skin. They are a muscular, medium sized cat with large ears and eyes and have a life expectancy of around 10 -15 years. They have wrinkly skin and may have very small or absent whiskers.

The Sphynx is famously bald or has very fine peach fuzz hair. Being hairless may sound like a maintenance dream, but without fur, oily deposits build up on the skin meaning that regular bathing is often necessary with a gentle, cat friendly shampoo. The skin folds need particular attention as oils and moisture may deposit in the folds. Regular ear cleaning is also important as the ears tend to accumulate wax and debris quickly, predisposing them to ear irritation and infection.   

Sphynx are famous for their sociable personalities and love of human company. They are a popular choice for families with children and tend to get along well with other pets.  They are best suited to a household with time to spend with them. Playing and climbing are pastimes that Sphynx cats love well into adulthood, so make sure you’ve got plenty of cat toys available and get ready to enjoy play time with your Sphynx. Keep your Sphynx safe by housing them indoors or in a suitable cat friendly enclosure.

Common Health Concerns

As noted previously, the Sphynx is susceptible to skin and ear problems such as infections and allergies. Check the ears, skin, and wrinkles regularly and monitor for signs of redness, discharge and scratching. If you are concerned your cat might have a skin problem, contact your Vet for advice.

Feline Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an inherited disease in Sphynx cats. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy the heart muscle becomes abnormally thickened, impairing heart function.

According to PetSure data from 2020, the five most common reasons for a Sphynx cat to visit the vet (excluding for routine visits like vaccinations) are as follows:

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Gastrointestinal diseases$280$2,115
2Skin conditions (including infections, allergies)$256$1,732
2Ear infections$153$1,119
4Heart conditions (including cardiomyopathy, heart failure, heart murmur)$394$1,592
5Eye conditions- such as uveitis, corneal ulcers and conjunctivitis$202$2,611

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

For the same period (2020 calendar year), the top five highest single vet treatments (or highest pet insurance claims) for Sphynx cats from PetSure data were:

RankConditionHighest Cost of treatment for condition 
(average pet insurance claim amount)
1Pneumothorax (air around the lung)$4,229
2Squamous cell carcinoma$3,908
3Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)$3,589
4Entropion$2,695
5Corneal perforation$2,611

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Sphynx names according to PetSure 2020 data:

Most popular names

  1. Luna
  2. Yoda
  3. Loki
  4. Roo
  5. Alfie
  6. Dallas
  7. Dobby
  8. Fluffy
  9. Freya
  10. Little

Most popular female names 

  1. Freya
  2. Little
  3. Luna
  4. Mouse
  5. Clyde
  6. Daisy
  7. Delilah
  8. Hope
  9. Lucifer
  10. Lucy

Most popular male names:

  1. Loki
  2. Yoda
  3. Alfie
  4. Dallas
  5. Dobby
  6. Fluffy
  7. Luka
  8. Luna
  9. Roo
  10. Alvin

Did you know?

The gene responsible for the Sphynx’s hairlessness is that which also influences the curly coat of the Devon Rex and Selkirk Rex breeds.

References

  1. The Cat Fanciers Association, About the Sphynx, accessed 11/01/21, available at: https://cfa.org/sphynx/
  2. Wikipedia, Sphynx, accessed 11/01/21, available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphynx_cat
  3. UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, Sphynx and Devon Rex Coats, accessed on 11/01/2021, available at: https://vgl.ucdavis.edu/test/sphynx-and-devon-rex-coats
Share
Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon