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Are all hairless cats Sphynx?

Sphynx cats are adorable, even though they lack the furry coat we traditionally associate with cats. They are certainly a sought-after breed. You might hear some people talk about hairless cats and others talk about Sphynx. Are they one and the same cat? Are all hairless cats Sphynx?

Though all Sphynx cats are hairless not every hairless cat is a Sphynx. Four other hairless cat breeds have been developed from the Sphynx and there are also three Russian hairless breeds totally unrelated to the Sphynx. Some of these breeds are relatively new to the cat world but all are equally hairless.

How did the hairless cat originate?

The first hairless cat appeared in the swinging sixties with a naturally occurring genetic mutation. In 1966 a hairless kitten was born in Canada and then in the 1970s, two more hairless litters occurred which led to the Sphynx cat breed being developed via selective breeding. Since then several other hairless breeds have come into existence.

The Sphynx

This is the original of the hairless cat breeds in existence today. Naturally occurring hairless kittens caught the attention of breeders and they crossbred these and further generations of these kittens until a robust, healthy Sphynx cat resulted. The Sphynx was first recognized as a breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1979.

The Sphynx is quite expensive to buy as it’s not as common as hairy breeds. It also requires quite a bit of care to keep its skin clean and healthy. Sphynx owners also spend a fair amount of money heating their homes to keep their cats warm.

Occasionally there are reports of Sphynx cats become hairy! You can find out more about this subject here.

Hairless cat: Sphynx face

The Bambino

This Sphynx and Munchkin cross was developed in 2005. It has the short legs of a Munchkin cat and is usually bald. Bambinos can occasionally have a small amount of hair. They are a playful, energetic breed so and need plenty of toys plus playtime with their owners.

I can’t find an image labeled for reuse to show you here but you can see an example by searching for ‘Bambino cat’ in Google Images.

The Elf cat

This is a relatively new hybrid developed from the Sphynx and the American Curl in 2007. The idea was to create a robust breed free of the heart condition that can afflict the Sphynx. It still hasn’t been officially recognized as a breed. The Elf cat has a sociable and playful nature which makes it an ideal family pet.

The Dwelf

This is a relatively new breed developed in about 2008. It’s a dwarf cat and is a cross between the Sphynx, the American Curl, and the Munchkin. All images of this cat appear to be copyrighted and not for reuse so I can’t add one here, but you can easily see one by searching ‘Dwelf cat’ in Google Images.

The Minskin

The Minskin is a Sphynx, Munchkin, Burmese, and Devon Rex cross and as developed in Boston in 1998. It was registered by TICA in 2008. It has the short legs of a Munchkin and a stocky body. Despite their size, the Minskin is an energetic breed and needs plenty of space indoors. It is also a clever little cat and that’s quite easy to train

The Donskoy

The Donskoy cat is also known as the Don Sphynx or Russian Hairless. It is not, however, related to the Sphynx. The breed was developed from a hairless kitten born in Russia in 1987. It was accepted as a breed by the World Cat Federation (WCF) 10 years later and then in 2005 The International Cat Association (TICA) also recognized it as a breed.

Hairless cat: Donskoy

The Peterbald

The Peterbald is also Russian and was developed in St. Petersburgh in 1994 from a Donskoy cat and an oriental shorthair cat. It became a recognized breed in 1997. The Peterbald is a sociable, playful breed that is often compared to a dog because of its loyal tendencies.

Hairless cat: The Peterbald

The Ukranian Levkoy

The Ukranian Levkoy is another hybrid and was developed from the Donskoy females and the Scottish Fold males in the year 2000. It was recognized as a breed in Russia in 2010 and has the distinctive folded ears seen on a Scottish Fold.

Hairless cat: Ukrainian Levkoy
Nickolas Titkov from Moscow, Russian Federation, Ukrainian Levkoy (3417712206)CC BY-SA 2.0

Is a hairless cat totally hairless?

Hairless cats feel like chamois leather to the touch because they are covered with very short downy fur. Some have noticeable eyelashes and whiskers and some of them have tiny, curly, stubbly whiskers. The name hairless is in reference to their lack of topcoat.

Occasionally hairless cats sprout a little hair if they are kept in conditions they find too cold. They can also grow fur during hormonal changes which are common in unspayed or unneutered cats.

Are all hairless cats Sphynx? – Conclusion

All Sphynx are hairless but not every hairless cat is a Sphynx. There are several hairless cats that have been developed from the Sphynx and a few that aren’t related at all. All our equally, beautifully bald.

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