Don Sphynx

Don Sphynx cat

Introduction

First things first; this breed of cat is not related to the better known Sphynx (aka “Canadian Hairless”, “Moon Cat” and “Moonstone Cat”). This cat is native to Russia. The Donsky follows the Sphynx in terms of date of origin (1966 for Sphynx and 1987 for Donsky).

OK, the Don Sphynx (aka “Don Hairless”, “Russian Hairless”, “Don Bald Cat”, “Donskoy”, “Donsky”) is not the same as the Sphynx, but how is it different (other than the name)? Obviously, there is a fairly wide variation between cats of the same breed, all of whom could be fine cats. It is therefore, difficult, at least for a layperson, to see an immediate difference.

One difference is hidden. The mutated gene that produces the hairless coat is dominant in the Donsky. This makes breeding easier as at least half the litter on an outcross would be hairless. This has meant a fairly quick development to recognition by the WCF and TICA. The Sphynx mutation is recessive.

Don Sphynx Cat

The TICA breed standard should give us some clues as to the difference in appearance. In the general description section, the answer to the most outstanding difference is found. The Sphynx “appears” to be hairless, while the Donsky is the “first truly hairless cat”. Looking at the cat above, it is not totally hairless. This is acceptable it seems under the Russian breed standard (different I presume to TICA and FIFE) (see appearance below). Looking at the photograph by Gunnel Hedberg (below) we see skin that is truly hairless. The Donsky above may be under 2 years of age and growing into hairlessness. As to the head there should be an indentation just above and between the eyes. This is not mentioned in the Sphynx breed standard for the head.

There are other descriptive differences, which may be due to different authors or be real differences. For example, the ears are described as being “very large” for the Sphynx and “large” for the Donsky. I am sure that there are other differences.

Origin & History

DateEvent
1987“Discovery” of female hairless cat (Varya) in Russia, Rostov-on-Don (a small town) by a cat breeder (see map below).
1989
origin
Varya breed to a mixed breed cat resulting in several hairless kittens, one of which, a black female, was breed to European Shorthairs and Domestic Shorthairs creating the foundation cats of the Don Sphynx breed
1993Mating a Don Sphynx with a Siamese/Oriental resulting in another cat breed, the Peterbald.
1997Recognised by the World Cat Federation (WCF) and TICA.
2005Crossed with Scottish Fold to produce Levkoy Cat. Conformation is more rounded than the Donsky and ears are less folded than the Scottish Fold.
PresentDon Sphynx not recognised by CFA or GCCF. Preliminary recognised breed in FIFE.


Rostov on don Russia

Don Sphynx Cat

Appearance and Character

From a layperson’s point of view the hairless cat breeds look a bit fragile and vulnerable, but this is not the case. This is a strong, medium sized cat with a long body. A noticeable feature is obviously the large ears but also the long toes, which look more like fingers of a person’s hand as the joints are visible (being hairless). In fact FIFE calls then “monkey fingers”.

Being able to see the skin so clearly shows a copious quantity of wrinkles, the same as for the Sphynx. Do Sphynx cats generally have more wrinkles than cats with fur? It seems so, yes. Of course, being hairless the wrinkles are more apparent. The lack of hair also gives us the chance to see the coat pattern embedded into the skin. Click here to see a Black and White (Solid & White) Sphynx (or Pink and White actually:).

Although this cat is truly hairless (ref:TICA), cats under 2 years of age may have short fur on the cheeks, neck and on the muzzle. Kittens may also have the Rex coat and a bald spot on the head.

However the idea that this cat is only hairless when of a certain age is now considered outdated and kittens are most often born hairless. In winter a fine coat may appear. The whiskers are curly, non-existent (see above – cracked off) or cracked (but still on).

Interesting point: if you cross a Sphynx with a Don Sphynx, the offspring are not hairless because different genes are involved in each cat breed in relation to the hairlessness.

As to character. They like to be picked up, which may be associated with a liking for warmth. The Sphynx is athletic. This cat is the same. It is  amiable and sociable. To the touch this cat feels warm and velvety. There was a time when I didn’t like the hairless cats now I’ve changed my mind.

Breeders

As at 2008 – things change.

Cattery Rubin Kaira
Located Moscow, Russia. Nice website again. I know this is provocative, but the Russians build better cattery websites than the Americans.

Abrakadabra’s Don Sphynx – link broken early April 2014.
Located near Hamburg, Germany. Nice site and very informative.

Sources:

  • Messybeast
  • Wikipedia
  • About
  • Breeder sites
  • TICA
  • CFA
  • Abrakadabra’s Don Sphynx

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Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

Comments

Don Sphynx — 8 Comments

  1. In thinking of getting another don sphynx why is it same are born bold and same have some fuzz over them some have wiskers some don’t in the dame litter

  2. hi iv got a don sphinx kitten she was born nov 13tg but she so small got fuzz all over her but its coming off her there a lot on her tail tho will this all go

    • Hi Ann, I believe that most Sphynx grow thin hair on the tail, face, around the genitals and on or around the feet. I not sure it will go because Sphynx cats are not entirely hairless as you are aware. As long as your cat is healthy I would accept it as normal. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Pingback: Ukrainian Levkoy Cat | Pictures of Cats

      • I reckon they are rare in the USA. I’d see if a breeder is not too far away, which is probably unlikely. You might be lucky. Google “don sphynx breeder” in Google.com and see what comes up. The website Breedlist.com is pretty good on lists of breeders of purebred cats. Or find a Don Sphynx cat club and ask them. It will take some searching. The Don Sphynx is similar to the Sphynx which is a more common cat breed. They are quite popular cats and actually quite charming. Good luck and thanks for visiting.

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