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Donskoy (Don Sphynx)
Federations: LOOF, TICA, FIFé, WCF

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The Donskoy they are very loyal; in fact, their loyalty is often compared to that of dogs.

Don Sphynx


Characteristics "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a cat of the breed "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)" you know certain factors. You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, their care and if you have small children, their level of tolerance towards them.


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Activity level

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Friendliness to other pets

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Friendliness to children

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Grooming requirements

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Need for attention

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Affection towards its owners

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Until the end of the years 80, the Canadian sphynx it was the only known hairless cat. The discovery of Donskoy in Russia this situation changed. This cat is also known as Don Sphynx or Don Hairless, in reference to the place where it first appeared and its resemblance to the Sphynx cat.

The history of the appearance of Donskoy It is worthy of a children's story: in 1987, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, located in southwestern Russia, near the Sea of ​​Azov and the Black Sea, a teacher named Elena Kovaleva took in a kitten that had been mistreated by children who had used it as a soccer ball. Called her Varvara. As the kitten grew, he started to lose his hair, suggesting skin diseases or parasitic infections such as ringworm. Various treatments were administered to try to fix the problem, But it was in vain. When Varvara gave birth to her first litter of kittens a few years later, some were born with hair and others without hair.

As the kittens grew, those born with hair also began to lose it, as his mother had done. This particularity caused a strong rejection by its owners, that most of them decided to abandon them because they considered that they were in poor health. It was then that a breeder named Irina Nemikina, seduced by these original looking cats, decided to recover one of them and start a breeding program to make it a breed in its own right. The cat in question and its descendants then interbred with the Persian cat, European shorthair cat and the Siberian cat to expand the range.

The gene responsible for the hairlessness of Donskoy (Don Sphynx) is dominant, meaning both parents don't have to be hairless for their offspring to be. For this reason, the cats obtained from these crosses kept the particularity of their ancestor Varvara, although they also had the blood of long-haired cat breeds in their veins, like persian. This genetic characteristic distinguishes the Donskoy of the Sphynx, that it can only transmit its hairless appearance to its offspring if both parents have this characteristic: en el Donskoy, the gene that causes this morphological characteristic is recessive.

The Donskoy also crossed with him Oriental shorthair cat to create a hairless oriental: that's how he was born Peterbald cat in 1994 in St. Petersburg, the city that gave it its name.

The Don Hairless It was recognized in 1997 by the World Cat Federation (WCF), and then in 2005 by the The International Cat Association (TICA). But, was not up 2016 when the latter allowed him to participate in cat shows organized under its auspices. The International Feline Federation (FIFé) also recognized the breed in 2011. On the other hand, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) y el Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) they have not yet taken the step.

Hereinafter, some organizations will not allow any crossing of the Donskoy with other breeds. This is the case of the WCF and the Livre Officiel des Origines Félines (LOOF) French. The TICA allows crossing with street cats.

Despite its recognition by some leading organizations, the Don Sphynx still one of the rarest cat breeds. These may include, in France, only 126 cats have registered in the LOOF between 2003 and 2019. More broadly, worldwide, currently there are only about fifty breeders of Donskoy (Don Sphynx), while there are more than 1500 for him Sphynx.

Donskoy – Nickolas Titkov from Moscow, Russian Federation, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Physical characteristics

The Donskoy (Don Sphynx) is a midline cat with a semi-foreal subtype. He has an unusual physique, compact, elegant and athletic. His muscular form, strong bone structure and relatively broad torso and rump give an impression of strength. Groin area and abdomen are well defined, so that the abdomen resembles a “stomach” where fat is stored during winter. In fact, despite the impression of vulnerability given by the absence of fur, the Don Sphynx is actually a robust breed.

They have a skin dotted with “wrinkles”, but very pleasant to the touch, as it is warm and velvety. These numerous wrinkles are characteristic of the breed and are due to its great elasticity.. They are mostly seen on the head, cheeks, the double chin and under the chin, as well as on the top of the head, with vertical pleats on the forehead, that separate the ears and then spread out in horizontal folds around the eyes. In the body, hug the base of the neck, the chest, the base of the tail, the back and the side of the legs, and then they go from the flanks to the lower abdomen and groin.

There are four varieties of Donskoys: one is born and remains hairless (the Rubber Bald), another is born with hair that is losing as it grows (the Flocked), a third keeps hair only in some places on the body (the Velour), and the latter retains much of its fine fur as an adult (the Brush).

In all four cases, the lightest coat of the Donskoy (Don Sphynx) makes it a hypoallergenic cat breed, which means that the risk of cat allergy is much lower than with other breeds. But, you have to know that there is no zero risk and that all cats can cause an allergic reaction, even the ones who are completely naked.

It also, it is the only breed that potentially acquires winter fur. During this time of year, a soft fur may appear on the chest, as well as hair on the tips of the legs. When the weather heats up, this fur disappears again, and the cat returns to its usual appearance.

In addition to this feature, the skin of the Don Hairless has original similarities with that of humans: sweat in hot weather and can even tan in the sun.

Their Paws they are shorter than the rear ones, but they are still well proportioned to the rest of the body. At the end of the Paws there are surprisingly long fingers separated by membranes, with large inward curved foot pads. The set does not differ from the fingers of a monkey. The tail is moderately long, fine and sharp from base to tip.

The head is V-shaped and angular. The eyes are almond-shaped and the ears they are very big.

Last, this breed is characterized by a certain sexual dimorphism. Males tend to be longer and more muscular than females. It also, have stronger cheeks and a neck, wider shoulders and head.

Size and weight

  • Male size: 20-25 cm.
  • female size: 20-23 cm.
  • Male weight: 3-7 kg
  • female weight: 3-7 kg

Varieties of "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"

Contrary to what his hairlessness as an adult might lead you to believe, actually exist 4 varieties of Donskoy (Don Sphynx), 3 of which have fur at birth, before it disappears totally or partially:

  • The Donskoy Rubber Bald completely hairless from birth and remain so throughout their lives;
  • The Donskoy Flocked is born with a light down that is similar to that of a Siamese cat touch. This may go away over time and the cat may bald.;
  • The Donskoy Velour is usually born bald on the top of the head and with a soft, wavy coat all over the body. During the first year of life, the hair becomes progressively stiffer and disappears, except for the hair on the head, legs and tail. Some individuals lose their hair completely and go hairless like the Donskoy Rubber Bald;
  • The Donskoy Brush retains part of its fur as an adult. The coat is usually smooth, but it can also be wavy. Baldness usually appears on the head, upper neck and back.
Cat Sphynx
Cat Sphynx – Dmitry Makeev, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Character and skills

If the appearance of Don Sphynx can arouse surprise, and even some negative preconceptions for their originality, worth going further. In fact, this cat is not only distinguished by its appearance: he is also endowed with immense qualities that make him an especially appreciated life partner.

The Don Sphynx not only is he a smart cat, but also has a temperate and affectionate character. The absence of fur does not prevent him from enjoying the caresses. It also, its soft and warm fur is very pleasant to the touch. It also, with his good character, grooming your cat will not become a test of strength, since it is easy to handle.

Being active, especially curious and lively, explores its environment with enthusiasm and is very prone to inventing all kinds of games in search of new stimuli.

The Donskoy it is also a very sociable breed of cat. Enjoy the company of its owners and the visitors that pass by, whose attention you would like to have.

His sociability is not limited to humans, since he is also willing to share his space and time with other animals. It is, Therefore, of a breed of cat suitable to live with a dog or other pet, which may simply be one of your companions. It is even especially advisable to offer him a playmate in case of long and frequent absences, to avoid being isolated at home too often and for too long. In the end, he is in great need of company, whatever form it takes.

It must be said that this cat has plenty of affection, and is particularly loyal to its owners. He deserves the nickname of “cat dog”, since it likes to follow its owners in all their daily activities. This closeness to its owner also means that it is possible to teach your cat commands or tricks., that you will probably gladly carry out.

The other side of the coin of his kindness and his total lack of aggressiveness is that he is not very suspicious of the danger that possible attacks from other cats or other animals could represent.. For this reason, it is a recommended cat for life in a flat rather than for life outdoors.

Care "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"

Due to the lack of hair, the care of Donskoy they are somewhat more complex. It is recommended to bathe the animals every fortnight approximately. There is no consensus on the exact procedure for bathing. The use of a mild body soap or mild facial soap is often recommended.. It is important to use a neutral pH soap. Too frequent baths should be avoided. If the correct pH is not respected, skin problems may occur.

With the time, a thin film of sebum forms on the skin because there is no fur to absorb the oil produced. The film provides some protection, but it looks unsightly. It can be cleaned in the shower or with the help of a damp cloth.. If a cloth is used, cleaning is done quickly. But, the effect is less durable than in the shower. You can use a microfiber cloth and water to clean. Soap should not be used. How animals are used to bathing from an early age, showering is usually not a problem. The water should be lukewarm.

You can place your Donskoy in the shower tray and have a towel spread out. Spread some washing lotion on the cat's back. Now you have to run a little water down your back and then you can massage the lotion. Avoid getting water into the nose, mouth, ears or eyes. Rinse the water well and place the cat on the prepared towel. It is important that you dry the cat well.

It also, as with any other race, it is important to check the condition of your ears at least once a week. Dirt or excess earwax can accumulate in the cartilage folds and cause discomfort or even infection.. Cleaning your cat's ears whenever they look dirty will go a long way in preventing this from happening..

Similarly, it is advisable to check your cat's eyes once a week to detect any abnormalities or infections, and clean them when necessary.

Male donskoy/don sphynx – ooznu, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Indoor or outdoor cat?

Keep your Don Sphynx inside. These cats are not only susceptible to problems with extreme temperatures, but also, because they are rare, someone may be tempted to steal them.

It also, Your cat's friendly nature means she may not assess dangers properly.

How much activity does he need? "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"?

To the Donskoy they love to be manipulated by humans and will always want to be the center of attention when you are at home. It is vital to understand that the breed needs company, so this is not the best cat to adopt if you are away for long periods of the day due to work commitments or if you travel a lot.

The Donskoy es an intelligent and inquisitive gato, so you'll also want to provide an environment where the breed can explore and seek new adventures on their own. The strategic use of smart and interactive toys can help keep your cat stimulated and satisfied..

Health and nutrition

The Donskoy have an elevated body temperature and, Therefore, is better protected against infection.

The Donskoy adults are relatively immune to many diseases. But, make sure that the cat does not stay in a drafty place. They suffer much less from heart disease than their peers. The heart is healthy and strong in many representatives of the breed.

People with allergies to cats or cat hair do not usually react allergic to it. Donskoy. But, it has been observed that people who did not previously have an allergy may have allergic reactions specifically to Don Sphynx.

Since when buying a cat you commit to the animal, you must exclude the possibility that it is allergic. Maybe you know a cat of this breed in your circle of acquaintances and you can try to get in touch with him. Or you can ask a breeder or animal shelter to check the cat's reaction..

The Donskoy they have no eyelashes, so dust can quickly build up around the eyes. It is usually discharged through tear fluid., which is present in large quantities. In cats of this breed, eye slits are narrower, which means that tear fluid can collect in the corners of the eyes.

Donskoy Sphinx
Kitty of the sort Donskoy Sphinx – Alex Rave, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Life expectancy

Of 12 to 15 years


The Donskoy has no particular sensitivity to food: is quite happy with industrial cat food.

But, due to its lack of fur, has more difficulty than other breeds in regulating its body temperature and, Therefore, you should eat more at low temperatures to compensate. So, your diet should not only be of good quality, but also rich. Having said that, despite your greed, it is not a breed of cat with a pronounced risk of being overweight.

For sale "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"

The price of a kitten Donskoy ranges between 1200 and 1500 EUR. This high price compared to most other breeds is largely due to their great rarity..

There does not appear to be any significant price difference between the two breeds, nor between males and females. But, the number of representatives of the breed and transactions is reduced, so it remains uncertain to extract any general rule.

Videos "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)"

Cats 101 Animal Planet - Don Sphynx ** High Quality **
Cats 101 Animal Planet – Donskoy
Donskoy cat or Don Sphynx or Russian Hairless.

Alternative names:

  • Don Hairless, Don Sphynx, Russian Hairless, Donskoy

2 thoughts on "Donskoy (Don Sphynx)”

  1. This cat is frankly scary. It embodies an Egyptian curse, non? Personally, I do not think that this breed of cat can coexist with me one day. I will surely be afraid to go home.


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