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|Height:||9 – 11 inches|
|Weight:||8 – 12 pounds|
|Lifespan:||15 – 20 years|
|Colors:||Many different body colors, with hairless skin|
|Suitable for:||Families looking for an affectionate and playful rare breed|
|Temperament:||Loyal, playful, intelligent, and inquisitive|
If you’re looking for a hairless cat breed, then you need to meet the Ukrainian Levkoy! This breed is so rare, it hasn’t even been accepted into American breed associations yet. In their native Ukraine, this hybrid breed was created by crossing the hairless Donskoy with the Scottish Fold, which is known for their distinctive folded ears.
This resulted in a new hairless breed of cat, also with folded ears. Ukrainian Levkoys are affectionate and intelligent. They love to explore their surroundings, and you may find them creating trouble in the least expected places. They’re also incredibly affectionate and loyal. Given their rarity, you might not know all that much about this breed, so let us tell you everything you need to know.
Ukrainian Levkoy Characteristics
Ukrainian Levkoy Kittens
There’s something so adorable about hairless kittens, and if you agree, you might find it super hard to visit or see photos of these cute little cats online without wanting to immediately adopt a Ukrainian Levkoy. But before you do, you need to be 100% sure that you can provide what these little kitties need.
3 Little-Known Facts About Ukrainian Levkoy
1. They’re a hybrid breed
This breed originated in Ukraine in the early 2000s, when breeder Elena Biriukova crossed the hairless Donskoy with the Scottish Fold. This resulted in a hairless breed with distinctive folded ears. The Domestic Shorthair and Oriental breeds were also used to result in what we now recognize as the Ukrainian Levkoy. Their name is inspired by the folded leaves of the Levkoy plant.
2. They’re not yet accepted by U.S. breed associations
The Ukrainian Levkoy breed was accepted by the ICFA RUI (the country’s breed association) in 2005 and by Russia’s breed association, the ICFA WCA, in 2010.
3. Some Ukrainian Levkoys have straight ears
The breeding guide for Ukrainian Levkoys recommends that one parent cat has straight ears, so these occur fairly regularly in this breed. The gene that codes for folded ears is incompletely dominant, as it is with the Scottish Fold, one of the founding breeds used to establish the Ukrainian Levkoy.
Breeding two cats with the gene that codes for folded ears can result in health issues, which is why crossing with a straight-eared cat is recommended. Fifty percent of the kittens in each litter will have folded ears, and the remaining kittens will be straight eared.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Ukrainian Levkoy
Ukrainian Levkoys are affectionate, smart, and curious. They love exploring their homes and can sometimes create havoc by pulling things down, climbing where they’re not supposed to, and generally having fun! They’re also intelligent and love spending time learning new tricks, spending time with their owners, and making sure everyone in the house knows that the cat is the boss!
Are These Cats Good for Families?
Ukrainian Levkoys can make great family pets, as their affectionate and playful nature means they’ll always be up for any type of fun or adventure. They’re sociable and loyal, so they don’t enjoy being left home alone all day.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Yes! Ukrainian Levkoys love company, so whether that’s another cat, a dog, or more people, they’ll be happy to hang out with everyone equally. Always take care to introduce new pets to each other slowly, and make sure they don’t have to compete for resources like food, water, and their litter trays.
This breed doesn’t have an overly high prey drive, so they can usually live in the same house as smaller caged pets. We never recommend leaving them together unattended, though!
Things to Know When Owning a Ukrainian Levkoy
Besides the sizeable investment of buying your new kitten, Ukrainian Levkoys have a few specific requirements in terms of the way that they’re kept. You need to make sure you can meet these before you commit yourself to a new kitten.
Food & Diet Requirements
Hairless breeds like the Ukrainian Levkoy have to burn a significant amount of energy to keep themselves warm. They’re a naturally slim breed but may eat more than a bigger, haired cat, without gaining weight. Making sure they’re fed a high-quality food is vital. We recommend choosing one with real meat as the first ingredient.
Make sure whatever food you select, whether raw, dry, or kibble, meets the nutritional needs of your cat’s specific life stage. Look out for the statement showing that a food meets AAFCO nutritional guidelines.
Ukrainian Levkoys are active and energetic, but for many reasons, you may decide that it’s best to keep your cat indoors. Hairless breeds are incredibly sensitive to changes in temperature, so you may find that your cat can’t regulate their body temperature effectively when it’s very hot or cold. They’re also susceptible to sunburn.
Another good reason to keep your cat indoors is that this breed is so rare, they’re a high target for being stolen. The friendly and outgoing nature of the Ukrainian Levkoy may mean they could approach someone who may decide that they’d like a rare breed cat without having to pay for it themselves.
If you do keep your cat inside, make sure they have plenty of enrichment activities designed to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Food puzzles, high shelves, outdoor cat enclosures, and plenty of toys will keep your Ukrainian Levkoy engaged and content, and so will plenty of time with their owners!
Ukrainian Levkoys are intelligent, and short training sessions can be a rewarding enrichment activity to keep them mentally active. They can be taught to take walks on a leash too, as long as they’re wearing a harness and are appropriately dressed for the weather!
Positive reinforcement, or clicker training, is a great way to bond with your cat.
You might not need to brush your hairless cat, but you’ll need to dedicate a fair amount of time to keeping their skin in good condition. Their skin secretes oils, which if left on their coats, can feel greasy. It needs wiping away with a soft cloth or baby wipe once or twice a week.
You may also decide to bathe your cat using a gentle cat shampoo. This can help remove excess oils and leave your cat feeling more comfortable. Ukrainian Levkoys also have sensitive skin that can easily be scratched. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your cat’s skin for cuts and treating these with antiseptic spray before they get infected.
Health and Conditions
There isn’t much information about the health conditions that affect the Ukrainian Levkoy. Conditions that can affect the parent breeds are listed below, but we also recommend asking any breeders about the potential health conditions that they’re aware of. They may also test parent cats for certain genetic conditions.
Male vs. Female
You might have a particular preference for either a male or female kitten, but since the Ukrainian Levkoy is such a rare breed, you may not always be able to get the sex of your choice. The litters are usually fairly small, with three to five kittens. Remember that some of these kittens will be straight eared, giving you even less choice.
If you had to sign up on a waiting list and there are other families ahead of you, you might need to decide if you want a kitten of any sex or would rather wait for another litter to become available, which may take a while.
The personality of a kitten won’t depend on their sex. There are a few differences between male and female cats, with male cats being bigger and often more affectionate.
The Ukrainian Levkoy is a rare cat breed, initially created by crossing the Scottish Fold and the Donskoy cats. They are intelligent, fun-loving, and curious. If you have precious ornaments in your house, you might want to relocate these to somewhere your cat can’t access! These cats love climbing bookshelves, exploring their territory, and making sure everyone knows that they’re the boss of the house.
Their hairless skin does need careful attention, so you’ll need to adapt to a new grooming regime to keep your cat comfortable and clean. They’re also best suited to life as an indoor cat, as they can’t tolerate extremes of temperature well.
If you’ve got an ultra-rare Ukrainian Levkoy, we’d love to hear more about them in the comments below.
Featured Image Credit: Image: Alexandr Junek Imaging, Shutterstock
- 1 Ukrainian Levkoy Characteristics
- 2 Ukrainian Levkoy Kittens
- 3 3 Little-Known Facts About Ukrainian Levkoy
- 4 Temperament & Intelligence of the Ukrainian Levkoy
- 5 Things to Know When Owning a Ukrainian Levkoy
- 6 Final Thoughts