The Elf is a breed of cat. with two highly distinctive traits: an almost total absence of hair and ears that curl over. These traits are the result of the deliberate crossing in 2004 of a Sphynx and an American Curl and match the intentions of the founder breeders to produce a hairless cat with curled ears.
The Elf is one of the more recent hairless cat varieties and creating pedigree bloodlines and a healthy gene pool are pivotal to establishing the credentials of the Elf as an internationally recognised pedigree breed.
Because the Elf has not been approved as a separate breed by either The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA), the Elf is currently included in the Sphinx with new traits class under TICA regulations.
According to the TICA standard Elf cats should display a medium sized body with a solid bone structure supported by healthy musculature. The chest and abdomen are well-rounded with “the appearance of having eaten a large meal”.
The head is nicely proportioned and features rounded cheekbones. Large lemon-shaped eyes should sit slightly wider than one eye width apart and slope slightly up in the outer corner. The medium length neck should be rounded and supported by well-developed musculature particularly in males.
The ears are broad and open with a soft flap that curls over near the tip of the ear.
The degree of hairlessness that is considered normal for the Elf may vary but a soft peach-like fuzz is generally present over most of the body and short hair may be found on the nose, ears and sometimes on the toes and tail.
The CFA describes the texture of Sphynx skin as something like “a suede hot water bottle or warm chamois, and some cats almost have a buttery feel to the skin”. The skin is loose on the body and this gives the Elf a deeply wrinkled appearance especially around the head and neck.