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Calico Sphynx Cat: Origins, Facts, & Rarity (With Pictures)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

calico sphynx cat on the table

Sphynx cats can come in a range of colors, including calico. This color pattern involves a combination of orange, white, and black. Usually, the white is found on the chest, belly, and legs. The other two colors are located in random spots across the cat’s body.

Height: 8–10 inches
Weight: 8–12 pounds
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Colors: Calico
Suitable for: Families who live in warmer climates
Temperament: Affectionate, playful, intelligent

Generally, Calico Sphynx cats are only female due to how the calico pattern is inherited. To be a calico, cats must have the calico gene and two copies of the X gene. Because only females have two X genes, males cannot be calico (unless they have a rare genetic mutation).

These cats can be very friendly, playful companions. However, they are a bit harder to find than other cats.

Calico Sphynx Cat Characteristics


The Earliest Records of the Calico Sphynx in History

The Sphynx breed began in the 1960s when a domestic cat named Prune was discovered in Toronto, Canada. Prune was a stray cat with a naturally occurring genetic mutation that caused her to be completely hairless. She became the foundation cat for the development of the Sphynx breed.

Prune’s hairlessness was the result of a recessive genetic mutation, and the mutation caused a lack of the fur that covers most domestic cats. While Prune appeared completely bald, she did have a fine layer of downy fuzz on her skin, which gave her a unique appearance.

Prune was mated with other domestic cats to create a breeding program aimed at producing more hairless kittens with the same distinctive trait. Early breeders faced challenges in maintaining hairlessness while avoiding inbreeding, which can lead to health issues. Therefore, they introduced other domestic cats into the breeding pool to diversify the gene pool and improve the breed’s overall health.

Simply put, haired and hairless cats were bred together, and then the hairless cats were put into the breeding program. In that way, the breed was developed to be hairless while still retaining as much genetic diversity as possible.

calico sphynx cat
Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

How Calico Sphynx Gained Popularity

The Sphynx became pretty famous quickly thanks to their exotic appearance. Their almost completely hairless body and wrinkly skin make them instantly recognizable and well-loved by many. People are often drawn to their uniqueness.

Furthermore, they also gained a lot of media coverage. Newspapers and TV shows featured the breed thanks to its uniqueness. While they are rare, the rarity helped improve their popularity in some cases.

Their personality helped them become more popular, too. They’re known for their friendly personalities and outgoing nature, which makes them very endearing pets. They get along with just about everyone.

calico sphynx cat lying comfortably on a blanket
Image Credit: NatGarmash, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of the Sphynx

Because the Sphynx has such a unique appearance, it isn’t hard to argue that it is a new breed. Therefore, recognition wasn’t as challenging as it was for some other breeds. In fact, it came relatively fast.

The Sphynx began to gain recognition in the cat fancy world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Various cat breed associations, including The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), granted recognition to the breed.

Today, it is still a rarer breed, though you see them at most major cat shows.

Top 5 Unique Facts about the Sphynx

1. They’re Warm to the Touch.

Despite having no fur to keep them warm, Sphynx cats are warm to the touch. Thanks to their silky, warm skin, they feel like a warm water bottle.

2. You Won’t See Much of Their Calico Markings.

Because the Sphynx are hairless, their markings aren’t as apparent as they are with a hairy cat. Therefore, you may not see quite as vibrant calico markings as you might otherwise.

3. They Have a Higher Metabolism.

These felines have a higher metabolism since they must work harder to stay warm. Therefore, they may need to eat more than other cats.

4. They Need Regular Baths.

Sphynx cats need regular bathing to remove the excess oil from their skin. Usually, the oils are soaked up by a cat’s coat. However, without any fur, the cats need the oil removed in a different way.

5. On Top of Being Hairless, They Have Very Big ears and Eyes.

Being hairless is one of the most obvious features these cats have. However, they also have exceptionally large ears and eyes. They contribute to their “cute” appearance.

female calico sphynx cat on the table
Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Do Sphynx Cats Make Good Pets?

Sphynx cats can make great pets for the right family. They are known for being extraordinarily loveable and affectionate. They’re friendlier than most breeds, which helps with their popularity. Plus, their unique coat makes them instantly recognizable.

Often, people purchase a Sphynx cat because of their unique appearance and fall in love with them because of their friendly personality. However, they are a bit more work than other breeds, primarily because of their lack of fur. They’re more sensitive to temperature extremes, for instance. They must be kept indoors when it is very hot or very cold.

They also need regular bathing to deal with the oil buildup in their skin. They require baths at least once a week, though some may need it even more. Their lack of fur also makes them prone to sunburn. They must use a pet-safe sunscreen when outside for extended periods. Sometimes, they even need a special diet due to their heightened metabolism.


Calico Sphynx cats aren’t as common as those with other colors and patterns. Because of their rarity, they may cost more than other Sphynx and be harder to find. Although they’re well-known for their hairless bodies and unusual features, Sphynx are friendly felines that love spending time with their owners. The calico variation isn’t much different than any other color—they have the same temperament and care needs.

Featured Photo Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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