Sphynx cat on a table.

Sphynx Cat Breed

This hairless cat has an endearingly impish character, and its dedication to its owner makes it a great companion.

Probably the best known of the hairless cats that have appeared around the world, the Sphynx originated in Canada and was named for its supposed resemblance to the ancient Egyptian sculpture of the mythical Sphinx.

The cat’s hairlessness is a natural mutation, and interest in its development dates from the birth of a hairless male kitten produced by a short-coated farm cat in Ontario in 1966. This kitten, along with other hairless kittens that appeared over the following decade, was used to found the breed.

Although hairlessness is commonly accompanied by other mutations, careful selective breeding, including outcrosses to Cornish Rex and Devon Rex cats, has ensured that the Sphynx is relatively free of genetic problems. Sphynx cats are not completely bald—most have a coating of fine, suedelike fuzz on their bodies and often a little thin hair on their heads, tails, and paws.

Undeniably an extraordinary looking cat, with its enormous ears, wrinkled skin, and rounded belly, the Sphynx does not appeal to everyone, but its delightfully sociable and loving nature has made more than a few converts.

It is easy to live with but needs to be kept indoors and protected from temperature extremes. Lack of a normal coat also means that excess body oils cannot be absorbed, so regular washing is required. Cats used to baths from an early age are unlikely to object.

Mr. Bigglesworth

A Sphynx shot to fame after appearing as Mr. Bigglesworth, feline companion to the appalling Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers’ trilogy of comedy spy movies, the first of which was screened in 1997.

The cat that played the role was a championship winner named Ted Nude-Gent. Accustomed to being in the public eye at cat shows, Ted remained unfazed by the noise and activity of a movie set and, like many Sphynxes, responded exceptionally well to training.

Origin: Canada, 1960s

Breed registries: CFA, FIFe, GCCF, TICA

Weight range: 8–15lb (3.5–7kg)

Grooming: 2–3 times a week

Colors and patterns: All colors, shades, and patterns.