5 Hairless Cat Breeds — The Naked Truth

Curious about hairless cat breeds? Are they as low-maintenance as they seem? Are they really even hairless? Meet five hairless cat breeds here.

Sphynx kittens playing.
Sphynx kittens playing. Photography by dezy / Shutterstock.

Love cuddling with furry felines but curious about their naked counterparts? Prepare to have your appetite sated with this crash course on hairless cat breeds. A word of warning: by the end of this article you’re definitely going to want to add one of these hairless cat breeds to your feline family!

1. Bambino

A Bambino cat.
A Bambino cat. Photography ©peterpancake | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Have you met the Munchkin? What about the Sphynx? Well … say hello to the Bambino — a too-cute-to-handle cross between the two with lemon-like eyes set upon a wedge-shaped head. A relatively new breed (created in 2005!), the Bambino is classified as a dwarf, and has the short, well-muscled legs to prove it. Do they slow him down in any way? Not a bit! He takes corners like a race car and has the activity and energy levels of his Italian namesake: a baby, small child or toddler!

Though part of the small cat committee (Bambinos weigh, on average, between 4.9 and 8.8 pounds), this baby is big on character, compassion and cuddles, and will quickly capture your heart!

Fun fact: As with all hairless cat breeds, Bambinos are not hypoallergenic. They produce the same allergy-causing Fel d 1 as furred felines.

2. Donskoy

Donskoy cat.
Donskoy cat. Photography by Flickr user stanze under Creative Commons License. Some modifications have been made to fit the specifications of this site.

If a man of mystery holds the key to your heart then you’ll adore the Donskoy — a hairless heartthrob with a quartet of aliases: Don Sphynx, Russian Hairless, Russian Donskoy and Don Hairless! The first Donskoy was discovered in 1987 by Elena Kovaleva in Russia.

Elena rescued the kitten from boys who were being mean to her. As time passed, the kitten, named Varvara, lost her hair … and when she gave birth to a litter of kittens they lost their hair as well! First believed to be an illness or disease, a professional breeder finally stepped in and realized that a new breed was born: the Donskoy!

Known for their dog-like loyalty, the Donskoy doesn’t require loads of attention and interaction — he demands it! Intelligent and friendly, the Donskoy is highly inquisitive, making him an easy feline to train.

Fun fact: Donskoys grow a winter coat (most frequently seen on their chest and tail) during the chilly months, then shed it again when the temps rise!

3. Peterbald

Peterbald cat.
Peterbald cat. Photography ©GlobalP | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

You know the Donskoy you met above? Well, the Peterbald has ties to that dashing fellow! How so? The Peterbald is a cross between the Donskoy and the Oriental Shorthair — giving him the sophisticated look of a Siamese in hairless form! Affection runs high when it comes to the Peterbald — he will curl up under the covers with you come bedtime and sit by your side during all meals.

As with Orientals, Peterbalds are highly vocal and love to converse with their humans — they’ll also see you off in the morning and greet you at the front door when you return in the evening. How’s that for devotion?

Fun fact: Peterbalds, like all hairless cat breeds, have a higher metabolism than cats with full coats, making more food an essential. Even more intriguing? That fast metabolism makes scratches and wounds on their skin heal faster!

4. Sphynx

Sphynx kittens meowing.
Sphynxes can have patterned skin! Photography by Oleg Mikhaylov / Shutterstock.

Out of all the hairless cat breeds, the Sphynx is likely the one you’ve heard of before — and that has quite a bit to do with his appearance in pop culture. After all, Mr. Bigglesworth of the popular Austin Powers film franchise was a Sphynx … and nearly stole the screen from Mike Myers!

Celeb status aside, the Sphynx was ranked the eighth most popular cat breed in 2016 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association — an honor likely attributed to his debonair good looks and friendly persona. Sphynxes were also ranked the most affectionate cat breed by the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

Fun fact: Though naked, not all Sphynx skin is the same — it comes in patterns and colors that mimic that of their furred familia. Sphynxes even come in tabby and tortie shades!

5. Ukrainian Levkoy

Ukrainian Levkoy cat.
Ukrainian Levkoy cat. Photography by Flickr user Nickolas Titkov under Creative Commons License. Some modifications have been made to fit the specifications of this site.

A cross between a Donskoy and a Scottish Fold, the Ukrainian Levkoy is, perhaps, the most unique cardholder in the hairless cat breeds crew because she has not one signature feature, but two: being completely hairless, and possessing those squeal-worthy folded ears! Though the Ukrainian Levkoy loves attention and affection, she isn’t overly demanding of it and finds contentment even when on her own.

She’s slightly standoffish at first, but once the Ukrainian Levkoy gets to know you she is all about the cuddles and gets along with everyone — from children to adults to other animals.

Fun fact: A relatively new breed (her origins only date back to the early 2000s!), the Ukrainian Levkoy sports wrinkles all over her hairless form, which gives her an even more distinctive look! 

What to Know About Hairless Cat Breeds

A hairless cat with blue eyes.
Hairless cats don’t automatically mean low-maintenance cats! Photography by Gareth Cowlin/Shutterstock.

Think you want to parent one of these hairless cat breeds? A few things to note about hairless cat breeds —

  1. Some hairless cat breeds (for example, the Donskoy and Peterbald) have a handful of coat types that give the slightest hint of fur (from rubber bald to flocked and brush to velour), but the Sphynx, Bambino and Ukrainian Levkoy are covered in a fine, downy fuzz, making them feel like suede.
  2. Hairless cat breeds as a whole are highly intelligent and inquisitive, with dog-like loyalty and affection. Given that, they do need mental stimulation and loads of love from their humans.
  3. One way to show hairless cat breeds a little TLC is through their grooming routine. While furred felines take care of most grooming on their own with little help from their humans, hairless kitties need a little more assistance. Daily wipe-downs all over their bodies help to absorb excess oils that would typically be soaked up by fur; and monthly (or more frequently, as needed) baths prevent skin problems. Clean the ears weekly to prevent infection and remove wax build-up and debris. Hairless cat breeds also need sun protection. Use an SPF formulated for kitties to avoid sunburn, and a sweater for those chillier months.

Thumbnail: Photography by dezy / Shutterstock. 

This piece was originally published in 2018.

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16 thoughts on “5 Hairless Cat Breeds — The Naked Truth”

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  2. Pingback: Should You Bathe a Cat? What to Know About Cat Baths – On Pets

  3. Usually, kittens that do not “make the grade are neutered and sold as “pet quality” for less than a purebred that meets the breed standards. Incidentally, pet breeders do what they do for the love of the breed; most barely break even with vet expenses (normal routine care plus the occaisonal C-section, accident or injury). The ones in it for the money are the backyard breeders and puppy and kitten mills. And they don’t give a rodent’s backside about proper care, genetics (to breed out bad characteristics such as polycystic kidney disease, cardiac hypertrophy, etc.) or anything but make money. Big difference.

  4. I wish that people would leave cats alone.
    Let GOD and His handmaiden Nature give us these sweet and wonderful creatures.

  5. My lovely and happy Donskoy is 11 yo, outlived all her older siblings, a cancer survivor, had multiple surgeries including an eye removal.
    I hate the breeders who would do these experiments on animal life! They require so much everyday attention and very prone to many diseases.

  6. Annie in Florida

    I agree. I think it is awful that Human Beings breed animals simply to MAKE MONEY! I find this absolutely repugnant. I am not religious but I do believe that humans are the worst species ever created. We think we can manipulate, change living beings…how disgusting is that?? And these cats are alive. They think, they feel, and dont for a MINUTE think that their kittens who dont” make the grade” wont be disposed of. Of course they will. Awful, just awful. Humans are terrible creatures that we do this stuff to lovely animals.
    And then there is this: with millions of cats and kittens being destroyed every single hour of the day – why on God’s Earth would anyone sane create MORE helpless creatures? Why on earth would a sane, thinking human want to BUY a cat when so many are just waiting – out there, lonely and scared – to find a good home???
    Go to a darn shelter, find a lovely, sweet kitty who needs a home but does not have a “Pedigree”. They will be healthier, more appreiciate and will give you JUST as much love as a “bought” cat. Put Cat Breeders out of business, as any truly caring Cat Person would want to do.

    1. Five of my 7 past and present kitties were from shelters. The very first was from a private home where they didn’t get the mother cat neutered. And the second was from a private home that didn’t want the poor little girl anymore; she was only 6 months old. :-(

    2. You sound so same an logical. Humans aren’t purrfect(you like that) but to write that we’re the worst creatures is crazy to me. I love animals but I’m not choosing and one of them over the relationships I have with mankind.

  7. People and their “God Complex” are detrimental to all life!
    Stop your stupid experiments.
    Leave animals as they are. Start working on your twisted ego!

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