Moon cats on earth (part 2)
But not so simple. The dominance of the hairless gene in this case is not complete. Kittens heterozygous for this sign partially retain their coat. It can be on the legs, tail, sometimes – to a greater or lesser extent – on the sides, as a rule, the muzzle of such cats is very overgrown, the hair can go beyond the eyes, forming a woolen “mask”. But the degree of overgrowth of heterozygous animals can be very different, even with a seemingly identical genetic formula. This is especially evident in the litter of hybrid kittens (Sphinx X Devon Rex) of the first generation: there can be a complete alignment – from almost completely naked animals to covered with wavy hair all over the body. True, in the latter case, such a kitten will partially lose hair with age, but it will certainly remain on its tail, legs, head, perhaps a little on its sides. But even the hybrid hairless kitten has reduced short hairs along the body, more noticeable and noticeable than the purebred sphinxes.
It is interesting that the main difference between hybrid kittens is not even the degree of growth and type, which can also vary greatly among kittens of the same litter – from very close to the sphinx to completely “devonian” (as a rule, in more overgrown kittens). The most significant difference is the skin. In purebred sphynx kittens, it is thick from birth, gathering in distinct relief folds, which makes their appearance simply unique. In hybrid kittens, the skin is much thinner, more similar to the skin of ordinary cats, folds may also be present, but not as prominently as in real sphinxes. With return crosses on purebred sphinxes, kittens become more and more “sphinx” throughout the entire set of characters, although in each litter there will always be a splitting and partial return to the Devon Rex type, which is manifested in excessive clumping, a short head shortened (like a bad Devon Rex), a characteristic “devonian” set of ears (lower and slightly to the side, and not up, like the Sphinxes).
Among breeds of the breed, it is customary to divide the sphinxes into homozygous (i.e., bearing the paired hairless gene – hrhr) and heterozygous (bearing the hr hairless gene in combination with the re Devon Rex gene). Moreover, most proudly say that it is their sphinxes that are real, i.e. homozygous. In fact, even having a pedigree in which Devon Rex is completely absent does not in itself guarantee homozygosity. There are a lot of “devonian” genes in the breed’s genetic pool due to the massive use of Rex during the formation of the breed, and still such mating is not a bone. It is possible to distinguish a homozygous sphinx from a heterozygous not by a pedigree, but by appearance, especially at birth: homozygous kittens are born completely bald, without signs of any kind of hair, later they develop hair on the nose (but only on the nose, it does not enter on the face!), thin hair grows on the upper half of the ears and … that’s it! Heterozygous sphinxes are always born even with a small and very weak, but a fluff on the body (for example, on the croup). This fluff can completely disappear in 1-2 weeks and at a later age it will be very difficult to distinguish between homozygous sphinxes and heterozygous sphinxes (provided the latter has minimal overgrowth), but in adulthood the hair can appear again, as a rule, in proportion to the amount that it had kitten at birth. Perhaps more important from the point of view of breeding is the general type of animal, determined by the complex influence of genes and slowly improving with directional selection.
Recognizing the Canadian sphinxes as a breed was not easy. After the failure of breeding sphinxes in the first nurseries, an opinion was formed about the extreme instability of the breed and the inability to stabilize it. And only the “second wave” in breeding, which began from repeatedly found animals, allowed us to create this unique breed. The breed is recognized by many US felinological organizations. Here is a complete list of organizations that fully recognize the breed today:
– The International Cat Association (TICA) – International Felinological Association, – American Cat Fanciers Assotiation (ACFA) – American Cat Lovers Association, – American Cat Assotiation (ACA) – American Felinological Association, – American Assotiation of Cat Enthusiast (AACE) – American Association of Cat Breeding Enthusiasts, – United Feline Organization (UFO) – United Felinological Organization, – Canadian Cat Assotiation (CCA) – Canadian Felinological Association.
Most sphinxes are currently registered with TICA. Their number in the organization since 1982 to this day is about 1300 animals, and in recent years approximately 300 new sphinxes have been added annually. But at the moment, the breed is undergoing a significant new stage in its development. In February of this year, the CFA decided to allocate the Canadian Sphinxes in a special class. (“Miscellaneous class”), which means the beginning of breed recognition in this, the largest and most conservative organization in the United States. True, a class open to Canadian sphinxes gives only the right to participate in CFA exhibitions without awarding titles; The breed standard will be developed and approved by the organization in collaboration with the breeders for several years.
In Moscow, the first pair of Canadian sphinxes brought from North America appeared more than four years ago. More than a year before that it was in search of a nursery, negotiations, expectations, expectations … And now the first sphinxes – in Russia. It was the famous cat Pelmen from the Canadian cattery Aztec, and Nefertiti from the cattery Grandpaws. This pair gave the first offspring of the Canadian sphinxes in Russia. About a year later, a pair of Belgian breeding sphinxes appeared in the Rus club in Moscow. Now the third generation (great-grandchildren) is being born from the first animals brought to Russia. New animals, recently brought from America and France, will expand the breed’s genetic pool and will contribute to its breeding in our country. In total, our lovers today have about three dozen purebred Canadian sphinxes, the vast majority of whom live with Moscow lovers. However, recently, sphinxes began to appear in other cities.
It so happened that Russia is the only country in which there are several breeds of naked cats at once – imported Canadian sphynxes and native breeds created on the basis of our local natural mutation, the so-called Don Sphynx (bald) and the hybrid breed of the Don Sphinx, the Petersburg Sphinx, or Peterbald. Moreover, if for breeding the Don Sphynxes, in order to increase the genetic pool of this breed, various local native breeds are used, then for breeding the St. Petersburg Sphynxes hybridization is used only with oriental and Siamese cats. The first breed standards are already being developed, breed enthusiasts are actively seeking its international recognition by felinological organizations. Interestingly, a mutation similar to the one that served as the basis for the start of breeding Don Sphinxes is not unique in Russia. I had to see Moscow variants of the hairless mutation, although the distance from Rostov, where it was discovered and appreciated, was more than enough to Moscow. At the same time, the hairless mutation did not occur, similar to that found on the North American continent. The Hr mutation, causing the hairlessness of the Don sphinxes, is considered dominant, but it would be more correct to speak of the incomplete dominance of the Hr mutation with respect to the normal gene, which determines the presence of coat, in the manner of the incomplete dominance of the hr gene (Canadian sphynx hairless) with respect to the devonrex gene re. In both cases, animals of the first and subsequent generations that are not homozygous for the hairless gene have partial overgrowth. True, the severity and nature of overgrowing varies greatly between Canadian and domestic (Don bald) sphinxes. Unlike the former, heterozygous Don Sphynxes are born covered with crimped, soft or wire wool, which remains for a long time – from several months to a year or more. But homozygous individuals, also few in this breed, are born completely naked, do not even have residual reduced hair on their bodies and a gun on their faces! To the touch, such skin is more delicate than that of “thick-skinned Canadians.” As a rule, the Don Sphynx is less characteristic of the redundancy and mobility of the skin, so inherent in the American mutation. This is especially evident when comparing the ancestors of breeds in both cases. Each breed is based on its own mutation and its own genetic pool, and the task of felinologists and breeders is to guess and make more obvious the type that is laid down by nature itself.