CANADIAN SPHINX: BREED HISTORY
Mention of hairless cats can be found in antiquity. Naked cats probably were still among the Aztecs. Representatives of the disappeared ancient breed, called Mexican hairless, were shown at the first cat shows in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. The last couple survived until the early 30s, unfortunately, without leaving offspring. According to the description, Mexican hairless differed from modern sphinxes: they had a long body, a wedge-shaped head with amber eyes and long mustaches, which modern sphinxes simply do not have. In winter, long hair grew on the back and tail, which disappeared by the summer. The genetics of this mutation has remained unknown. Perhaps the Mexican hairless was genetically close to the Don Sphinx, because both of them, with their hairlessness, still have a mustache and a tendency to dress in a fur coat for winter. Some cases of the appearance of hairless kittens in litters of ordinary cats were observed around the world. But none of them attempted to create a new breed. The appearance of the breed of hairless cats has been associated since 1966, when a hairless kitten named Prun was born among kittens of a normal domestic cat in Ontario, Canada. After the set time, Prun was crossed with his mother, and normal and hairless kittens appeared in the litter. As long as this was possible, Prun was brought together with his daughters, granddaughters, in order to save as many of the original genes as possible. The result is two varieties of sphinxes, slightly different in appearance. In 1971 CFA revoked the temporary status of the breed, given to her before. What was the matter? Sphynx breeding failed immediately for several reasons: firstly, the breed was extremely small, and there was no hope of stabilizing it using the animals available to the felinologists. In addition, the scouts did not understand the genetics of the sphinxes. It was mistakenly believed that the sign of hairlessness is related to gender. Secondly, sphinx kittens were more demanding to care than their usual counterparts, and often died. And, thirdly, the breed breeding strategy in the first nurseries was unsuccessful. On this, the history of the Sphinxes could have ended, if not for new finds. In 1975, in Waden, Minnesota, a hairless cat was born from a simple shorthair cat, not without humor called the epidermis. A year later, a cat was born there. Both animals ended up in the Z. Stardust cattery, where the epidermis became the founder of the most elite breed lines to date. In the late 70s, on the streets of Toronto, near the location of the first sphinxes, 3 new hairless kittens were found; a black and white cat named Bambi and two cats. Unfortunately, Bambi’s condition, when found, was terrible: one eye leaked out, an urgent surgical operation was also required to remove his badly damaged testicles. So Bambi did not have to become the ancestor of the breed, although his beautiful type deserved it. But Bambi became famous in something else: today he is the champion in longevity among the sphinxes, lived a long and happy life and ended it after his 19th (!) Birthday. Two other cats, called Pinky and Paloma, were sent to Holland, where they became the founders of the European breed line. In the future, in order to maintain the genetic pool of the breed of Canadian sphinxes, the kittens obtained were crossed with both sphinxes and Devon Rexes. The selection of Devon Rexes turned out to be very successful: their type and appearance were closest to the sphinxes, besides, the Devons turned out to be the only breed with mating with which bald kittens were born in the first generation. However, you have to pay for everything. Such a massive rush of blood of another, albeit genetically close breed, was not in vain for the Canadian sphinxes. Unfortunately, often modern sphinxes of some lines look like bald Devons of a mediocre type: thin skin, short “Devonian” head with eyes too round for the sphinx, ears set low, like ears of the Devon, sometimes a bony body light for the sphinx is a clear sign of breed degeneration . Wrinkled skin, which makes them look like little old men, is so common in the first sphinxes, it is less and less common in adult sphinxes. True, the kittens are still dressed in “large pajamas,” but with age, the folds diverge, remaining, at best, on the head, and ideally also on the neck. The sphinxes of many modern lines, especially European ones and those originating from them, American ones, are more likely to look like exquisite porcelain figurines than to the wonderful wrinkled gnomes that they looked at first. Perhaps the most “folded” Canadian sphinxes at the moment are animal lines originating from the legendary epidermis, although they are far from their “ancestral”. New natural mutations of hairlessness are occasionally found now on the American continent. Such animals are very appreciated and try to maximize their potential for breeding.