UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory


Sphynx and Devon Rex Coats


Domestic cats have a variety of coat colors and hair types. Long and short hair phenotypes are common, but there are also other mutations that produce curly and nearly hairless coats. Two of the breeds of cats derived from such mutations are Devon Rex, a curly coat variety that appeared in 1959, and the nearly hairless breed Sphynx, which originated from another mutation in 1966. Recent research from Dr. Leslie Lyons’ lab at UC Davis demonstrated that these 2 mutations are in the gene Keratin 71 (KRT71). The nearly hairless coat of the Sphynx breed is recessive to normal coat, and the curly coat of the Devon Rex breed is recessive to the hairless Sphynx coat. VGL offers tests for the Sphynx hairless and Devon Rex curly mutations to assist breeders in determining if a cat carries these mutations. For breeders of Sphynx, the tests identify hairless cats that carry the Devon Rex mutation and would not breed true for the hairless phenotype depending on the genotype of the mate.

Procedure for collecting a feline DNA sample

Allow 2-6 business days for results.

Results reportd as:

Test Result Sphynx and Devon Rex Coats
N/N Coat is normal
N/HR 1 copy of Sphynx hairless gene is present
N/DR 1 copy of Devon Rex gene is present

2 copies of Sphynx hairless, cat is hairless


1 copy of Sphynx and 1 copy of Devon Rex. Cat will produce offspring that can be normal, hairless or Devon Rex curly depending on the genetics of the mate.

DR/DR 2 copies of Devon Rex curly, cat is curly coated


Gandolfi B, Outerbridge CA, Beresford LG, Myers JA, Pimental M, Alhaddad H, Grahn JC, Grahn RA, Lyons LA. The naked truth: Sphynx and Devon Rex cat breed mutations in KRT71. Mammalian Genome (2010) 21:509-515. Doi 10.1007/s00335-010-9290-6

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL