Hairless cats have occurred naturally from time to time in many different places all over the world. At the turn of the 20th century, two hairless cats were known to exist in New Mexico. In 1938 two hairless kittens were born to a Siamese in France. In 1950 three hairless kittens were born to a Siamese. It was not until 1966 that the Sphynx became known as a separate breed of cat, and was given its name. A domestic short-haired cat named "Elizabeth" in Canada gave birth to one hairless male kitten named "Prune"; both were bought by cat fanciers Ridyadh and Yania Bawa, who wanted to develop a new breed of hairless cat. Thus their breeding program took off, and they decided to call the breed Sphynx. Their breeding eventually ceased. In 1978, Shirley Smith of Toronto, Canada rescued two abandoned kittens, which had been born to an ordinary cat. One of these kittens was a hairless male. He was eventually neutered, but two years later, in 1980; his mother again gave birth to hairless kittens. As the hairless gene had been proved to be a recessive one, it was believed that the unknown fathers of these litters must have been descendants of "Prune". Interested parties started to develop this breed further, and to retain health and vigor the Sphynx cats were outcrossed to normal-coated cats regularly.
The Sphynx is a medium sized cat of Oriental type. The body should feel heavier than it looks. The head is long and triangular with very large ears. The eyes are large, lemon shaped, and slightly slanted. The body is muscular and rounded yet slender. The legs are of medium length, the tail slender. The Sphynx gives the appearance of being completely hairless, but when examined closely it can be seen that it is in fact covered by a very fine down, giving the cat the feel of a fuzzy peach. Wrinkled skin is desirable, in particular on the face and shoulders.
Most Sphynx cats have no whiskers, although some have very short whisker sets. Any color can exist, but since the Sphynx lacks fur, it can be difficult to tell what color the cat
The Sphynx have great patience and willingness to put up with almost anything. The Sphynx appears to be at great peace with the worked, at ease with its surroundings, making a devoted pet and excellent show animal. The Sphynx is very outgoing and active, a friendly, playful cat, which loves company. The Sphynx does not like to be left on its own, and prefers to be in the company of similar cats.
Sphynx cats are full of mischief and are very curious, and love jumping and climbing. The Sphynx often attaches itself firmly to one person in particular, and will be very devoted to that person. They get along well with other cats and dogs.
The French standards describe Sphynx cats as "part monkey, part dog, part child and part cat". As they lack coat, their bodies feel very warm to the touch, like a hot water bottle, and they love sleeping in warm spots.