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Ukrainian Levkoy Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Ukrainian Levkoy Sphinx

Ukrainian Levkoy Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

If you’re looking for a hairless cat, you must meet the Ukrainian Levkoy! This breed is so rare that it hasn’t even been accepted into American breed associations yet. In their native Ukraine, the hybrid feline was created by crossing the hairless Donskoy with the Scottish Fold, which is known for their distinctive folded ears.

Breed Overview

Height:

9–11 inches

Weight:

8–12 pounds

Lifespan:

15–20 years

Colors:

Several skin colors with hairless skin

Suitable for:

Families looking for an affectionate and playful rare breed

Temperament:

Loyal, playful, intelligent, and inquisitive

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 much about them, but we’ll discuss everything you need to know below.

Ukrainian Levkoy Characteristics

Energy
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A high-energy cat needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep healthy and happy, while a low-energy cat needs minimal physical activity, but still needs mental stimulation. When choosing a cat, It’s important to ensure their energy levels match your lifestyle.
Trainability
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Cats that are easy-to-train are more willing and skilled at quickly learning prompts and actions with minimal training. Harder-to-train cats are usually more stubborn or aloof and require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Certain cat breeds are more prone to various genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat in those breeds will have these issues, but they do have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Lifespan
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Due to their size or potential genetic health issues of a specific breed, some cats have shorter lifespans than others. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and hygiene also play an important role in your cat’s lifespan and quality of life.
Sociability
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Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other cats and animals. Cats that are more social have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches or jump on laps for cuddles, while cats that are less social shy away, hide, are more cautious, and even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed or gender, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to many different situations.

Cat ball divider 1Ukrainian Levkoy Kittens

There’s something so adorable about hairless kittens, and if you agree, you might find it hard to see photos of these cute hairless cats online without wanting to adopt a Ukrainian Levkoy. But before you do, you must be 100% sure you can provide what these little kitties need.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Ukrainian Levkoy

1. They’re a Hybrid Breed

The Ukranian Levkoy originated in Ukraine in the early 2000s when breeder Elena Biriukova crossed the hairless Donskoy with the Scottish Fold. This resulted in a hairless cat with distinctive folded ears. The Domestic Shorthair and Oriental breeds were also used to produce what we now recognize as the Ukrainian Levkoy. The folded leaves of the Levkoy plant inspired their name.


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 have straight ears. The gene that codes for folded ears is incompletely dominant, which is true of the Scottish Fold.

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.

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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 learning new tricks, spending time with their owners, and ensuring everyone in the house knows the cat is the boss!

Are These Cats Good for Families?

Ukrainian Levkoys can make great family pets, and their affectionate and playful nature means they’ll always be up for fun or adventures. They’re friendly, loyal, and 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 introduce new pets to each other slowly, and make sure they don’t have to compete for resources like food, water, and litter boxes.

Ukrainian Levkoys have a high prey drive, but they can usually live in the same house as smaller caged pets. We don’t recommend leaving them together unattended, however.

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Things to Know When Owning a Ukrainian Levkoy

Besides the sizeable investment of buying your new kitten, Ukrainian Levkoys have a few requirements in terms of the way that they’re kept. You must ensure you can meet these before committing 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, hairy 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 life stage. Look for the statement showing that a food meets AAFCO dietary guidelines.

Exercise

Ukrainian Levkoys are active and energetic, but you may decide it’s best to keep your cat indoors for many reasons. Hairless breeds are incredibly sensitive to changes in temperature, and they 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 the Ukrainian Levkoy is so rare they’re a target for thieves. The friendly and outgoing nature of the Ukrainian Levkoy makes them tolerant of strangers and more likely to be stolen.

If you keep your cat inside, ensure they have plenty of enrichment activities 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!

Training 

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 if they wear a harness and are appropriately dressed for the weather! Positive reinforcement, or clicker training, is a great way to bond with your cat.

Grooming 

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 can feel greasy if left on their coats. It must be wiped away with a soft cloth or baby wipe, but Ukranian Levkoys also need weekly baths.

The baths remove excess oils and leave your cat feeling more comfortable. Ukrainian Levkoys have sensitive skin that can easily be scratched. It’s a good idea to check your cat’s skin for cuts and treat them with antiseptic spray before they get infected.

Health and Conditions

There isn’t much information about the Ukrainian Levkoy’s health conditions. Conditions that can affect the parent breeds are listed below, but we also recommend asking breeders about the potential health conditions that they’re aware of. They may also test parent cats for specific genetic conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Temperature regulation issues
  • Skin allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Osteochondrodysplasia
  • Arthritis

Male vs. Female

You might have a particular preference for a male or female kitten, but since the Ukrainian Levkoy is such a rare breed, you may not be able to get the sex of your choice. The litters are usually relatively small, with three to five kittens. Remember that some of the 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, but male cats are bigger and often more affectionate.

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Final Thoughts

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 them to somewhere your cat can’t access! These cats love climbing bookshelves, exploring their territory, and playing games.

Their hairless skin requires careful attention, and you’ll need to adapt to a new grooming routine to keep your cat comfortable and clean. They’re also best suited to life as indoor cats since they can’t tolerate extremes of temperature well. If you have an ultra-rare Ukrainian Levkoy, we’d love to hear more about them in the comments below.


Featured Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

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