In 1970, The Cat Fanciers's Association (CFA) granted a temporary breed status to the "furless canadian", but the following year the acknowledgment was taken back due to health problems and difficulties in breeding. By that time it was thought that the gene associated with the lack of hair was letal. However that specific breed of sphynx ended up disappearing.
The Sphynx as we know it today appeared in 1975 when farmers Milt and Ethelyn Pearson found out a furless kitten in one of Jezabelle's litters - the family cat which a standard "coat". This kitten, curiously named Epidermis, joined another furless cat called Dermis. Both were sold to a Oregon breeder, Kim Mueske, who used them to found a brand new breed. In Minnesota, Georgina Gattenby also worked the same line as the Pearson did using red cats to strenghten the gene mix. This line of breeding proved to be quite healthy. And the name Sphynx was chosen with the Great Giza Sphynx of Egypt in mind.
In 1978, the canadian breeder Shirley Smith got a furless kitten called Bambi, who she neutered and kept as a pet. Bambi's mother gave birth to two more furless kittens who in 1983 were sent to a dutchman. Dr Hernandez raised the two kittens, Punkie and Paloma, and mixed them with a Devon Rex. Their offspring alongside with the descendents of the Pearson's cats were the foundation of the Sphynx breed. In the meantime, breeders discovered that even though the furless gene was recessive with the short fur gene it remained dominant over the Devon Rex's fur gene, which led to the increase in number the members of the new breed.
In February 1998, the sphynx registration was accepted by the CFA, which helped its development. In 2000, 120 sphynx were registered in the association, which allowed the achievement of the 33rd place amongst 40 recognized breeds.
After getting over the shock of standing before a naked cat, we notice some other distinctive traits. The ears are big and wide, the paws strong, the lemon shaped eyes expressive, slightly diagonal and quite apart from one another. But there's more: the prominent whiskerless cheekbones, strong chin and triangular head shape. They are medium sized cats with well developed chest and very muscled.
In reality, the sphynx doesn´t have more wrinkles than the other cats. All of them have wrinkled skin and it's the thinest of all household animals, as well the most flexible. It's just easier to find wrinkles on a cat without fur. Nevertheless, the sphynx only appears to be furless, because they are really covered by a thin coat of peach fuzz/fur.
Despite the scarce fur, the sphynx may have many colours and patterns. However, sometimes colour is hard to distinguish, and therefore no points are attributed to that trait at shows.
According to the french standard, ths sphynx is monkey, dog, child and cat altogether. That is, they like acrobatics; they're loyal and they happily follow humans everywhere with their tail up; they ask for attention of their owners; and, finally, they are cats.
We might all be led to believe that a furless cat wouldn't need much care but the truth is that they need to take bath frequently to get rid of grease excess on their skin.