Donskoy cat breed

Breed standard: FIFe, TICA I Size: Medium I Average lifespan: 12+ years I Temperament: Gentle and kind I Coat: Hairless I Origin: Russia.

The Donskoy is a hairless cat breed. These cats have unique physical characteristics that make them truly one of a kind.

The origin of the Donskoy

The Donskoy is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world. Their body is completely hairless. When it comes to the origin and history of the Donskoy cat breed, it dates back to 1988 in Russia. One day, while a teacher in Russia was returning home, she found a female cat who was being mistreated by children in the streets. The cat was in a terrible state with parts of her body that no longer had hair. This teacher tried to bring this cat back to good health. Despite all of the veterinary treatments that were done on her, the hair that had fallen off would not heal, and the cat ended up losing her hair until she became completely hairless.

An uncommon mutation

Despite the absence of hair, the cat grew normally. Her first litter was made up of both hairless cats and cats with hair. However, as the cats grew older, all of the kittens lost their hair like their mother.

The teacher who had found this cat realized that it was from a genetic particularity. So, she decided to cross the cat and her kittens with other breeds. All of the kittens that were obtained were hairless. Therefore, it was a dominant genetic mutation that was at the origin of the disappearing hair that her cat had. Thus, the Donskoy cat breed was created.

The dominance of the hairless gene made it possible to quickly establish this characteristic. The descendants were crossed with different breeds in order to create several variants of the Donskoy. The crosses were made with Persian cats, European Shorthairs, Siberian cats, and Oriental Shorthairs.

A rare cat amongst the rarest of cats

The Donskoy joined the Sphynx which had been the only hairless cat breed until then. It was actually this resemblance to the Sphynx that gave this cat other names such as Don Sphynx. It is also called Russian Hairless

The Don Sphynx was officially recognized in 1997 by the World Cat Federation (WCF) and then by The International Cat Association (TICA). The FIFé (Fédération Internationale Féline) and the LOOF (Livre Officiel des Origines Félines) did not officially recognize the breed until very recently. Donskoys remain a very rare cat breed. There are only a few dozen Donskoy breeders in the entire world. For example, in France, only 126 Donskoys were counted between 2003 and 2019, according to the LOOF’s statistics.

The dominance of the gene that codes the Donskoy’s absence of hair has led to certain feline organizations like the LOOF and the WCF to ban crosses with other breeds.

The character of the Donskoy

The Donskoy’s qualities

Donskoys are curious cats who always enjoy exploring their surroundings. In addition, these cats are very intelligent and kind. As this cat is gentle and sociable, they can accept living with other pets. Another benefit of this cat’s gentleness is that it makes it much easier to groom them.

The Don Sphynx does not like solitude and gets very attached to their owner. In fact, they enjoy following them around everywhere while they go about their daily activities. These cats even enjoy sleeping by their owner’s side underneath the blanket. Donskoys really love to snuggle!

This cat’s skin is soft and warm to the touch. The unique physical characteristics of the Donskoy makes this cat ideal for those who can tolerate the allergenic protein Fel D1, but have a cat hair allergy.

Additionally, the Donskoy cat breed likes to play and has a tendency to regularly invent new ways to keep themselves entertained. They do not mind spending time in the company of other breeds or playing with them. This cat can also get along well with children.

Are there any downsides to having a Donskoy?

Because this cat is hairless and has a gentle temperament, it make them vulnerable to attacks from other cats and pets. Furthermore, the Donskoy has a tendency to underestimate the dangers that they are faced with. In addition, as they are hairless, they are very sensitive to extreme temperatures and sweat a lot. 

Lastly, this is not a calm cat and does not like to sit still.

The physical characteristics of the Donskoy

This medium-sized cat has unique physical characteristics that make this cat look different from other cats. 


The Donskoy is an elegant cat with a medium-sized build. They have well-developed muscles that cover their solid bone structure.

Similar to other cat breeds, males Donskoys are longer than females.


When it comes to the head, it is in the form of a V. In addition, it is angular with wrinkles on the forehead. These cats have large ears that are slightly leaning forward, with rounded ends. The eyes are large and almond-shaped.

Donskoys have prominent cheeks that are even more prominent for males. Additionally, the head is larger for males than for females.


The body of the Don Sphynx is solid, well-built, and gives off a certain strength and power. Their chest is wide. They have a rounded abdomen and a wide croup.

Their legs are also muscular, long, and proportionate to the rest of their body. With that being said, the hind legs are taller than the front legs. These cats have oval paws with long toes that are linked by webs between the toes. The paw pads are prominent and outward-facing. When it comes to the tail, it is long and thin. 

Skin, color, and grooming


The skin is very elastic with lots of wrinkles on the cheeks, the jowls, and the chin. On the body, the folds are visible around the chest, at the base of the neck, and the tail. The wrinkles are also visible on the sides of the body until the stomach and the groin. These wrinkles are due to the extreme elasticity of the skin of the Donskoy.

Depending on whether or not the cat is born with hair, the Donskoy can be categorized into 4 different varieties. The Rubber Bald Donskoy is born completely hairless. The Flock Donskoy has a light coat similar to that of the Siamese, but the coat can disappear as time goes on. The Velour Donskoy, on the other hand, has a curled coat with a bald head. The hair disappears later, but stays on the paws, the tail, and the face. When it comes to the Brush Donskoy, these cats keep a part of their coat (stiff or soft to the touch, depending on the cat). However, it can become bald.


All of the colors are accepted for the Donskoy. The tabby cats of this breed can have mackerel, spotted, or blotched patterns. With that being said, it is rather difficult to clearly see these patterns

Grooming the Donskoy

The absence of hair does not mean that you do not need to groom this cat. In fact, it’s the contrary! Washing this cat weekly or bi-weekly is recommended to eliminate the excess sebum on their skin.

Hair absorbs excess sebum. Unfortunately, this is not possible for the Donskoy. For this reason, the skin can become oily to the touch. It is recommended to use a shampoo that it designed for cats when washing them.

The ears, phalanges, the area under the paws, and the area between the paw pads should also be washed every week.

Just like the ears, the eyes should also be inspected every week to reveal eventual anomalies and treat them as early as possible.


The physiological needs of the Donskoy are greater than that of other cats. It requires a lot of energy and nutrients to regulate the temperature of their hairless body. For example, they need more food that is high quality, especially during periods when the temperatures are low.

Did you know?

The Donskoy’s skin resembles that of humans. It is capable of sweating when it is really hot outside and can even tan in the sun.

The Donskoy at a glance

Size: 25 to 30 cm for female and male Donskoys.

Weight: 3 to 7 kg (≈ 6.6 and 15.4 lb).

Health: The Donskoy benefits from good health, except for pulmonary infections that are more frequent than average for this breed.

Average lifespan: 12 to 15 years.

Are Donskoys good with children? This is a cat with a gentle character. This cat breed is non-aggressive and particularly kind. For this reason, they can adapt very well to life with a family and children.