Sphynx have a wedge-shaped head with prominent cheekbone, large, lemon-shaped eyes. Very large ears with no hair on inside, but soft down on outside base. Well-muscled, powerful neck, a medium length muscular torso, barrel-chested, and full, round abdomen, sometimes called a pot belly. Their paw pads thicker than other cats, giving the appearance of walking on cushions. A whiplike, tapering tail from body to tip, (sometimes with fur all over tail or a puff of fur on the tip, like a lion)
The Sphynx is very affectionate, always wanting to be close to you. He likes the company and, he likes having someone to snuggle with so that he stays warm. They love attention, playing with teasers and toys, they have comical characters, and love drawing attention to themselves.Very highly social, these amazing cats that are great companions.
Though Sphynx cats lack a coat to shed or groom, they are not maintenance-free. Body oils, which would normally be absorbed by the hair, tend to build up on the skin. As a result, regular bathing is usually necessary weekly or bi-weekly. Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat’s exposure to outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop sunburn and skin damage similar to that of humans. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat when it is cold. In some climates, owners provide coats or other clothing in the winter to help them conserve body heat.
While they lack much of the fur of other cat breeds, Sphynxes are not necessarily hypoallergenic. Allergies to cats are triggered by a protein called Fel d1, not cat hair itself. Fel d1 is a protein primarily found in cat saliva and sebaceous glands. Those with cat allergies may react worse to direct contact with Sphynx cats than other breeds; even though reports exist that some people with allergies successfully tolerate Sphynx cats, they are fewer than those who have allergic reactions, according to David Rosenstreich, MD, the director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York City, New York. These positive reports may be cases of desensitizing, wherein the “hairless” cat gave the owner optimism to try to own a cat, eventually leading to the positive situation of their own adaptation.
Sphynx cats can also have more ear wax than most hairy domestic cats because they have little to no hair in their ears. Dirt, skin oils (sebum), and ear wax accumulates in the ears, and needs to be cleaned out on a weekly basis, usually before bath time.
The Sphynx breed also tends to accumulate oils and debris under their nails as well as the skin fold above the nail due to the lack of fur, so, like the ears, the nails and surrounding skin folds need to be cleaned properly as well. Due to these factors the breed may require more grooming than a typical domestic cat with fur. Specialty products for this cat have been developed, though they still require more grooming than most breeds.
The Canadian Sphynx face challenges unique to their nature. Because of their lack of protective fur, skin cancer may be a problem if exposed to sunlight for long durations of time.
The lack of hair can cause health issues with kittens in the first weeks of life because of susceptibility to respiratory infections. Reputable breeders should not let their kittens go to new homes without being at least 14 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is mature enough to cope in a new environment.
The breed does have instances of the genetic disorder hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Studies are being undertaken to understand the links in breeding and the disorder. The Sphynx cat has a high rate of heart disease, either HCM or mitral valve dysplasia. In a study of 114 cats, 34% were found to have an abnormal heart. 16 had mitral valve dysplasia and 23 had HCM. These prevalences were found in cats with an average age of 2.62 years.
A type of muscular dystrophy associated with alpha-dystroglycan deficiency, and similar to that seen in Devon Rex cats, has also been described, but is rarely seen.
Here is a helpful guide for the different characteristics of the breed. On a Scale of 1-5. 1 being very low level to 5 being high level.