The inscrutable Sphynx
The Sphynx cat first appeared in Ontario, Canada in 1966 when a black and white domestic shorthair named Elizabeth, owned by a Mrs Micalwaith, gave birth to a litter of kittens, which included a hairless male. His name was Prune and when old enough, he was mated back to his mother, which resulted in a litter of coated and hairless kittens, some of which were exported to Europe and acquired the breed’s name.
Sphynx were first imported from Canada into Holland by breeder Hugo Herenandez, who used two youngsters named Punkie and Paloma to establish an original European line of Sphynx, which was personified in his home bred cat Q’ra. This was the start of the breed as we know it today. Although the hairless cats have appeared in many countries since the early 1900s, they were never taken up a part of a breeding programme.
In the early days, Devon Rex were used for out crossing to expand the gene pool, but this is no longer allowed in the Sphynx Club’s breeding policies.
Sphynx in the UK
In 1988, the first sphynx to enter the UK from Holland was a four year old female called Hathor de Calecat (Tulip), bred by Hattie Nathon, who worked closely with Hugo Hernandez. Tulip was jointly owned by Jan Plumb and Angela Rushbrook. Tulip became a great ambassador for the breed and was put on exhibition at three GCCF shows where she gained much admiration fro the public. Tulip lived to be over fifteen years old.