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Skin Types

 

Did you know that there are different types of Sphynx skin? They aren't all the same! I thought it would be helpful to explain the different skin types to potential kitten families.

**Skin types from left to right- Coated, Coated, Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Naked.

1. Very Bald (Slick or Rubber like)

This is what people sometimes call "sticky bald". It is extremely hairless. This causes them to produce more grease, which means they are very difficult to keep clean.  They need baths once a week, but will probably be greasy in between (and giving more baths is only going to create more grease). This skin type is actually against our breed standard, as Sphynx are not supposed to be sticky bald.

Here is a quote from the TICA Sphynx Standard-

"Appears hairless. May be covered with short, fine down. May have puff of hair on tip of tail."

A "sticky bald" Sphynx will often lack the velvet on the ears and nose. I have owned a couple of Sphynx that had this skin type. Personally, I do not like feeling my hands stick to my cats...or feel like I am rubbing a greasy human palm. I have heard/read about excess oils causing grease stains on furniture...this is simply not the case with a well bred Sphynx with proper skin. All Sphynx do have oils, but it is easily controlled in a cat with proper skin type and the proper grooming. But with sticky bald Sphynx, it is nearly impossible to control the oil.

2. Naked  (with fine hair that is barely visible to the eye)

This is the skin type of about 95% of my kittens. This is also what all reputable breeders aim to produce. This is the happy medium. By our Sphynx standard, Sphynx are not supposed to be completely naked. They are to have soft, extremely short fuzz on their bodies (but not obvious). They also have velvet on their ears and noses. It is also not uncommon for them to have some soft fuzz on the feet and tail. Here is another quote from our TICA Sphynx Standard-

"The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, although it is not truly hairless. The skin should have the texture of chamois. It may be covered with very fine down which is almost imperceptible to both the eye and the touch. On the ears, muzzle, tail, feet and scrotum, short, soft, fine hair is allowed. Lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or broken, or may be totally absent."

The biorhythm of cats are linked to daylight length, which means their bodies respond to shorter days as if it were winter even though they are kept indoors...so during the colder months they will often get a bit of fuzz, and during the warmer months they become more naked. We have also found that an overweight Sphynx will grow more and more fuzz (and lose the extra fuzz after losing the excess weight). They require baths about every two weeks. We NEVER recommend bathing a Sphynx more then once a week. This is very bad for the skin balance and can cause a Sphynx to begin producing extra oils. See our GROOMING page for more info.

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Extra Notes-

NO breeder can guarantee that a kitten will remain completely hairless (or fuzzy) it's entire life...

and any breeder that says they are able to do that is not being honest! As breeders we should be learning as much as possible about our bloodlines. Some Sphynx lines tend to be more naked, while others can have a "fuzzy" pop up. But I have even seen "Sticky Bald" Sphynx that have grown peach fuzz with age..so there can be exceptions. In most cases, a Sphynx will stay very similar to what it appears like on the day you take it home (other than during extreme weather changes).

 

Sphynx kittens are often born with a soft "down" that falls out within two weeks.

3. Fuzzy (this is where the kitten has some short/thin/fine hair)

These kittens usually just "pop" up in litters (although some bloodlines do tend to produce them more commonly then others). These kittens usually have fuzzy faces, ears, feet (more than the velvet that is seen on a naked Sphynx) but they often get a soft down like coat over their body and full "boots" and "mask" on their faces. Many times they are almost completely naked by the time they go home, but I have found that most of the time fuzz will come back. Although sometimes they completely lose the fuzz and it never comes back....but there is no way of knowing which ones will not get it back and which ones will. The fuzzy kittens I have produced in the past were amazing because they require few (once every few months) or no baths at all. The fuzz is super soft (like those wonderfully soft baby blankets).

Sometimes this fuzz can be due to Sphynx carrying the Devon Rex gene. The Devon Rex was one of the cats used to help establish the Sphynx breed. There is a lot fancier explanation, but the simplest way to explain it is the Sphynx and Devon genes are "related"...so a Sphynx could be carrying the Devon gene for many generations.

Other times the peach fuzz Sphynx kittens simply pop up (and even with DNA testing they are shown to have no Devon gene involved). Just like humans have different "hair" types, a Sphynx can have variations too.

To sum up, fuzzy Sphynx kittens can come from two completely naked Sphynx. They require less grooming then a normal naked Sphynx (and wayyyy less than a Bald Sphynx). The families that I have placed fuzzy kittens with have come back requesting to be notified the next time a fuzzy is born! If you are allergic to cat hair, but fine around Sphynx...than a better choice would still be a naked Sphynx for you, rather than a "fuzzy".

4. Coated

These kittens are from an outcross program. That means one parent is coated, and the other is naked. A good example of this can be found on our OUTCROSS EXAMPLE page. Coated Sphynx have all the Sphynx personality and charm, just not the hairless bodies. These kittens are great for a family that isn't quite ready for the adoption fee of a naked kitten. Our coated kittens are generally placed at an adoption fee of $125. Some breeders will charge $150-200. I have been asked several times if the coated Sphynx are okay for allergy sufferers...the answer is no. These cats have a coat no different then a normal "barn cat". So if you are bothered by being around haired cats, then a coated Sphynx is going to give you the same reaction.