The Canadian Sphinx is a pet that does not leave anyone indifferent due to its unusual appearance. Someone considers them unpleasant and even repulsive, and someone simply does not have a soul in these "unearthly" creatures.
- Breed Name: Canadian Sphinx
- Country of Origin: Canada
- Birth time of the breed: 1966
- Weight: from 3.5 to 7 kg
- Life expectancy: 14 – 16 years old
- In the world, the breed is known simply as Sphynx – sphinx, in Russia the adjective "Canadian" is added to avoid confusion with Don and Petersburg (Peterbold).
- Contrary to popular belief, sphinxes are not hypoallergenic, since unpleasant symptoms in allergy-prone people are caused not by wool, but by components of saliva and sebaceous gland secretions.
- Cats are famous not only for their unusual appearance, but also for their incredible attachment to their owners, they adore attention and affection, and they hardly tolerate loneliness.
- Need regular and thorough care, protection from adverse environmental factors.
- Get along well with other cats and even dogs, but the ideal companion will be a second representative of the same breed.
- Preferably home keeping of sphinxes.
- Excellent appetite is compensated by rapid metabolism.
- The average life expectancy is 10-14 years, although there are also long–livers whose age was 16-19 years.
Canadian Sphinx is a loving and sociable pet that easily wins the hearts of people who are not indifferent to cats. The owners of these animals say with one voice that they will never exchange them for representatives of other breeds. For their large ears, expressive eyes and folds of skin on the muzzle, the sphinxes received the affectionate nickname "aliens".
History of the Canadian Sphinx breed
Although the breed is quite young, the existence of hairless cats is mentioned in the annals of various civilizations. The thing is that "bald" offspring can appear in completely ordinary parents as a result of a natural mutation. Most often, such animals were considered an anomaly and were culled by humans.
There is evidence of the emergence in South America of a whole population of graceful creatures with amber-colored eyes. However, unlike Canadians, they could be partially covered with wool in the cold season, and they wore mustaches all year round. It is impossible to judge the genetic characteristics of these animals today, since the breed has disappeared. The last individuals whose existence is documented lived in the 20s of the last century, but then the "Inca cats", as the Mexicans called them, did not interest professional breeders.
40 years have passed, and much further north, in the Canadian province of Ontario, the owner of a black-and-white shorthair cat named Elizabeth was surprised to find an unusual specimen in her pet's litter. The kitten was given the name Prune (English Prune – Prune) and when it reached maturity, it was crossed with its own mother. The first experiments seemed successful, but already in the early 1970s the line was interrupted.
At about the same time, a new stage in the history of the breed began. In one of the nurseries of Baden, Minnesota, there were two furless cats at once. All modern elite lines are descended from them, although in the process of breeding, of course, it was not without cats of different breeds. The best results were obtained by working with Devon rex, actively participated in the creation of the breed and the newly discovered "naked" kittens from the northern neighbors. Initially they were called "Canadian hairless cats", but enthusiasts wanted something more sonorous and drew parallels with the oldest preserved monumental sculpture - the Egyptian Great Sphinx, which guards the peace of the ancient rulers in Giza.
Recognition of international felinological organizations did not come immediately. There were fears that the mutation provokes serious health problems. When time showed the inconsistency of these theories, The International Cat Organization (TICA) was the first to allow sphinxes to participate in its exhibitions in 1986. After 6 years, the champion status was obtained from the Canadian Cat Association (CCA), but the breed standard according to the authoritative version of The Cat Fanciers' The Association (CFA) was approved relatively recently, in 2002.
Video: Canadian Sphinx
Appearance of the sphinx
Sphinxes are not among the large breeds. Females usually weigh 3.5-4 kg, the weight of males varies between 5-7 kg. At the same time, the body is muscular and dense, because cats really turn out to be heavier than can be expected with their dimensions. The skin is thick and gathers into characteristic folds, especially pronounced on the muzzle.
is medium-sized, has the shape of a slightly rounded modified wedge, where the length slightly exceeds the width. The forehead is flat, the transition from it to the muzzle can be both quite soft and pronounced. The muzzle is short. Cheekbones are high, clearly defined. The chin is strong, forms a perpendicular with the upper lip. The nose is short, with a light or medium "stop". The whisker pads are well developed, although the whiskers themselves are completely or almost completely absent.
Ears are one of the distinguishing features of the Canadian Sphinx breed. Compared to the head, they are very large. Erect and open. The base is wide. The inner surface is woolless.
The eyes of sphinxes are large, shaped like a lemon, because with a wide middle part they narrow equally on both sides. Planted wide and slightly obliquely. The color is not regulated, but should be in harmony with the color.
Medium length, slightly arched, with well-developed musculature.
The body of the sphinx is of medium length, muscular. The thorax is wide and rounded. The belly is rounded, full. The posterior part of the trunk is rounded.
Medium length, proportional to the body. Strong and muscular. The rear ones are slightly longer than the front ones.
Oval, with thick pads and well-developed long fingers.
The length of the tail of the Canadian sphinx is proportional to the body. Elegant and flexible, gradually tapers from the base to the tip.
Cover and skin
The skin of Canadian sphinxes is thick, forms folds, which are especially numerous on the muzzle and legs. They seem to be completely hairless, but usually the body is covered with delicate down (a length of no more than 2 mm is allowed). The norm is the presence of short sparse hair on the outside of the ears, tail, between the fingers and in the area of the scrotum. The bridge of the nose is covered with the usual short hair for cats.
Despite the lack of wool in the usual sense, sphinxes have many colors: white, black, red, chocolate, purple (lavender), tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolor, calico (tricolor), color point, mink. None contradicts the CFA standard.
Photo of the Canadian sphinx
The character of the Canadian Sphinx
The ancient sculpture of a lion with a human head lost in the African sands was once called by Arabic speakers differently - Abu al–Haul, that is, the Father of Horror. But her little namesakes do not seem intimidating to their owners at all. These are real "tails" that will follow a person everywhere and will not miss the opportunity to get on his lap.
However, such affection is not an indicator of laziness at all. Sphinxes are very mischievous and playful creatures, they get involved in active fun with great passion or independently invent entertainment for themselves like "hunting" a bug that happens to be in the apartment. Games should be versatile and challenge not only agility and muscle strength, but also intelligence.
Sphinxes tolerate loneliness badly, which should be taken into account by potential owners whose work is associated with frequent and long business trips. Canadians are attached not to a place, but to "their" people, so separation is a difficult ordeal for them, even if in your absence the care of a pet is entrusted to reliable and kind hands.
Sphinxes are absolutely not aggressive, so they get along with children of different ages without any problems and calmly share their home with other pets. Moreover, they are able to be friends with both cats and dogs, which helps to brighten up the long hours of waiting for a meeting with a person.
Representatives of this breed quite easily get used to being in a large crowd of people. Thanks to this, sphinxes feel good at exhibitions, and some bring the skill of equanimity to such a level that they become real movie stars. The most striking example of this is Ted Nugent, who played the role of Mr. Bigglesworth, the cat of Dr. Evil from the famous Austin Powers film series.
Care and Maintenance
The absence of wool may seem like a great advantage to a busy owner, but in fact sphinxes require even more careful care than their furry counterparts. Sweat and sebaceous glands in these cats work in "normal mode", so a kind of plaque forms on the surface of the skin, which provokes the appearance of greasy spots on the owners' clothes, bedding and furniture upholstery.
To avoid this, hygiene procedures should be carried out regularly. Someone thinks: it is enough to wipe the cat's body with wet wipes that do not contain alcohol and flavorings. But most agree that the optimal solution to the problem is weekly bathing with special mild remedies or baby shampoo. If you teach a kitten to them from an early age, the process will happen quickly and without much hassle. Please note that immediately after the bath, the sphinx must be wrapped in a towel!
The issue of hypothermia in general is quite acute for representatives of this breed. When you hold a hairless cat in your arms, it seems really hot. The fact is that due to the lack of a fur "buffer", heat exchange with the external environment is significantly more active in them than in other animals. This means that in a cool room, the sphinx will freeze no less than a naked person, so buying special clothes for winter and off-season will not be superfluous even for permanent residents of city apartments.
By the way, experienced breeders recommend exclusively home keeping of Canadian sphinxes. If you consider it necessary for your pet to stay outdoors, it is better to limit its duration and keep an eye on the cat all the time. Independent walks are contraindicated not only because of the risk of colds or sunburn (yes, sphinxes can get tan and burn, so in summer they need sunscreen!). Thanks to the characteristic appearance, even a layman can easily recognize in your pet a thoroughbred, which means a potentially expensive animal, which can cause abduction.
Other care tips differ little from the standard ones. It is important to monitor the condition of the eyes and ears in order to avoid infections. Regular brushing of teeth with a special paste guarantees protection from tartar, and clipping of claws will help to keep your furniture and walls in their original form.
The cat will be grateful for a personal "house" with the opportunity to climb higher and play hide-and-seek, but most sphinxes prefer a soft couch to the bed of the owners, where you can comfortably get under a warm blanket.
All sphinxes have an excellent appetite. This is another side effect of the lack of wool, because due to the intense heat exchange, they need more energy than other cats. The main thing is that the quality of food is at a high level and fully meets the needs of your pet in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The easiest way to achieve this balance is specialized premium and super premium feeds. But if you are willing to spend time making a healthy menu of products, natural nutrition will be a worthy alternative.
Health and diseases of the sphinx
In general, with proper diet and proper care, sphinxes are infrequent patients of veterinary clinics. Problems can provoke hypothermia, prolonged exposure to the sun, neglect of hygiene rules on the part of owners, lack of immunity due to missed vaccinations.
But there are also diseases characteristic of the breed. The weak point of Canadians is sensitive skin, it can be affected by pigmented urticaria. Redness and rash on the body can also be symptoms of allergies, including food allergies. Only a doctor can determine the exact cause and prescribe treatment based on the results of tests.
Like Maine coons, sphinxes suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This dangerous heart disease is caused by a genetic mutation, but to date there is no convincing evidence that heredity has a decisive influence on its development.
And here is another disease of sphinxes, myopathy, is transmitted to descendants from parents. They got it in the process of selective work with Devon Rex. Progressive muscle dysfunction has no treatment, progresses individually and often leads to death as a result of laryngospasms. It usually manifests itself at the age of 4-7 weeks, but may be asymptomatic up to 12-14 weeks. The kennel is obliged to warn you if the kitten is at risk.
How to choose a kitten
The main advice is the same for all purebred animals: do not try to save on buying by going to the "bird market" or responding to a random ad. Only the best nurseries and breeders with an impeccable reputation guarantee that you will get a healthy pet, whose origin there is no doubt. After all, the Canadian sphinx is not just a lack of fur, but a graceful, beautifully built, affectionate and intelligent creature that will live next to you for the next few years.
If you do not plan to participate in exhibitions, it is enough to make sure that the selected baby is healthy and active, easily makes contact with a person without showing fear or aggression. The rest will be prompted by the available documents (pedigree, veterinarian's conclusion, vaccination card). We recommend that you get to know your parents and look at the conditions of detention – they will say a lot about the breeder's attitude to cats.
Photo of the Canadian sphinx
How much does the Canadian sphinx cost
If you are offered to buy a Canadian sphinx kitten for $30-$40, you can be sure – there can be no question of any pedigree here.
The price of kittens in proven nurseries starts from $80-$100. Kids who have more or less significant deviations from the breed standard are cheaper. They are perfect for those who dream of a pet with an unusual appearance and a branded "Canadian" character.
Prospective exhibitors, whose parents can boast of championship titles and other titles, will cost their future owners at least $150.