The Donskoy is a hairless natural cat breed and is known by other names - the Don Sphynx and Russian Hairless.
This so-called 'hairless' trait is as a result of a spontaneous
(natural) mutation caused by a dominant gene.
The Don Sphyx cat has a very elastic skin and the wrinkling is pronounced. The more wrinkles it has the better. Its wrinkled skin feels soft and hot - like a warm fuzzy peach.
The Russian Hairless comes in all coat colors and there are 4 coat types, but a totally hairless cat is preferred:
This is not considered a show quality coat but is permissible for breeding.
The brush-type coat has fur over the entire body and the hair is wavy, wiry, soft and bristly. Bald areas are visible on the back, upper part of the neck and the head.
Kittens are born with a bald patch on the top of the head whilst the rest of the body is covered with a wavy coat.
Over the next two years of the cat's life this hair gradually disappears. Some hair may remain on the legs, tail and face.
Kittens are born with a coat that resembles the look and feel of chamois.
It appears hairless, but the hair is very short and fine. The flocked coat does sometimes disappear leaving the cat bald.
Donskoy kittens that are born totally bald and remain bald throughout their lives.
Example of how the coat changes
Jaroslavna Moon Rainbow as a kitten © Elena Malik of Krasa Mira donsphynx.eu
Moon Rainbow about 11 months | Don Sphynx picture © Elena Malik of Krasa Mira Cattery
Jaroslavna Moon Rainbow adult | Don Sphynx picture © Elena Malik
The Don Sphynx has a medium sized body and its abdomen is rounded, but not fat and it has the appearance of having just recently eaten a large meal. This is a strong-boned, sturdy and muscular cat, but at the same time a very elegant cat.
The Russian Hairless has a powerful, muscular, rounded neck and it legs are muscular and firm.
Its feet are oval with slender, long toes. The thumb on the front paws bend inwards making the paws look more like slender hands - like those belonging to a monkey.
Another distinguishing feature is the web toes and the thick, cushion-like paw pads which gives the impression that the Don Sphynx is walking on clouds.
The tail is straight, medium-long and described as whippy.
Kittens and young cats sometimes have hair on their tail which generally disappears at around two years. Whilst a bald or hairless tail is preferred, some cats do have fine, hair/fluff on the tip.
The Donskoy's head is described as wedge-shaped (or V-shaped) with a
flat forehead. It has a well developed, strong jaw and chin and its muzzle is slightly rounded. Its ears are large, upright and tilt forward.
Whiskers may be
sparse, curly, broken, long or short or may even be absent.
Its eyes are almond-shaped, medium to large in size, set at a slant and not wide open.
Eye-color and coat color has no relationship. Eyebrows may be absent, whole or broken.
Donskoys are indoor cats. They are sensitive to extreme heat and cold and it is preferable to keep them indoors.
To prevent boredom, create an indoor adventure zone for your companion. It should include cat gyms, cat toys, scratching towers and if possible an indoor garden full of non-toxic plants.
If you have a safe and escape-proof garden, your cat can be let out for an hour or two at sunrise and sunset.
They love the company of their humans and do not tolerate solitude.
Would they suit a home with children?
Yes they do adore children, but small children do need to be taught how to handle kittens and cats.
Are they pet friendly?
Yes. They do prefer dogs to other cats. Any new addition to the family needs to be gradually introduced to the resident cat or dog. Owners need to respect the 'rights' of the existing pets.
In terms of other cats, they are rather selective who they invite into their domain. They may snarl at other cats. This behavior is possibly driven by jealousy and being possessive of their human!
Oh to have a Donsky in your life!
They are the most wonderful companions, they are loving, tender-hearted, affectionate, friendly and amiable cats.
These cats are highly intelligent cats, smart in every way. They do follow voice commands and can be trained with very little effort.
They love to be handled and do not object to their grooming routine.
Donskoys are active and lively and behave more like children (or monkeys) than cats.
They are very interested in their surroundings and love creative games. These cats are sociable, curious and wonderful companions for young and old.
Their owners are number one in their lives and they are almost dog-like in terms of their loyalty.
They not aggressive cats and it will never bite or scratch unless it needs to defend itself.
Whilst the Donskoy is a hairless cat, it is not a low maintenance cat breed!
Their skins, like human skin, sweats and as result daily sponging is recommended.
A monthly bath is suggested. Nail clipping every 4- 6 weeks and weekly dental hygiene is needed.
Our chapter on hairless cat care provides in depth information on the grooming of these special cats.
They are described as healthy cats.
Being hairless, they do need special skin care. Protect their skin from sunburn and extreme cold and drafts.
They are prone to gum disease and tooth decay, so regular dental check-ups are advised.
Like all cats they do need to receive vaccinations against the common feline infectious diseases.
They have a higher body temperature than other cats and as a result do require more food than most other cat breeds.
They love their food so this will not be a problem.
Note: You do need to increase their calorie intake in winter to ensure that they maintain a higher body temperature.
There are commercial foods available for hairless cats or speak to the breeder about an appropriate diet.
Female cats are lighter than the male cats, but on average the Donskoy weighs between 3.5 - 7.0 kg (7.7 - 15.4 lbs)
Provided your cat receives all its inoculations, a premium well balanced diet and exercise, it is likely to live 12 + years.
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