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The Sphynx is distinguished by its relative hairlessness, though actually it is covered by a soft down. This is not the fabled Mexican Hairless Cat; the breed's origins are actually Canadian, from a black and white mixed-breed cat named Elizabeth who produced hairless kittens.

True show Sphynx have very little hair (on the bridge of their noses and the backs of the ears), but pet Sphynx may have more. Expect to pay more money for one with almost no hair. They are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

"Hair-free" doesn't mean "maintenance-free". Even fully hairless Sphynx still produce natural oils to maintain a "coat" and thus must be bathed regularly (oily cats may leave grease stains on the furniture or develop blocked pores). Because of the size and lack of hair in the ears, owners must clean the ears regularly to avoid wax buildup.

The Sphynx is also not necessarily an appropriate choice for an allergic household. They are not hypoallergenic, despite the lack of hair. They still produce the allergy-causing dander and saliva.

The Sphynx is an affectionate, happy companion cat. They are sociable, alert, and very curious and enjoy the company of humans and other pets. Their skin feels like warm, soft suede to the touch.

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