Donskoy Cat: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide

| Updated: April 19, 2023
Donskoy Cat

Also known as Don Sphynx or Russian Hairless, the Donskoy cat is not related to the more famous Sphynx cat, which has a different genetic mutation that causes hairlessness. The Donskoy breed originated in Russia in the late 1980s and is still quite rare outside its homeland. These cats have a unique charm and beauty, with wrinkled skin and expressive faces. They are also very affectionate, and sociable and love to cuddle and interact with their humans.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about the Donskoy cat breed, from its history and origin to its personality and temperament, appearance and characteristics, care and health, and where to buy one. Read on to find out more about this rare and fascinating breed!

Breed Overview

Weight 6 to 15 pounds
Length 13 to 15 inches
Coat Length Bald or slight fuzz
Coat Colors Skin can be any color found in felines
Coat Patterns Skin can have any pattern found in felines
Eye Color Any color found in felines
Personality Affectionate, curious, playful, intelligent, and friendly
Lifespan 12 to 15+ years
Hypoallergenic No
Good with Kids High
Good with Pets Medium
Origin Russia

History and Origin of the Donskoy Cat

The story of the Donskoy cat breed began in 1987 in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia. A professor named Elena Kovaleva was walking home from work when she saw a group of boys who were abusing a kitten. She rescued the kitten from them and took it home with her. She named the kitten Varvara and noticed that it had patches of hair missing from its body. She thought that the hair loss was due to stress or illness, so she tried various treatments to help Varvara grow her hair back. However, nothing worked, and Varvara became completely bald.

Elena realized that Varvara’s hairlessness was not a disease but a genetic mutation. She also discovered that Varvara was not sterile, as some people believed hairless cats were. Varvara mated with a local tomcat and gave birth to a litter of kittens that included both hairless and haired offspring. The kittens that had hair soon lost it as well.

One of Varvara’s hairless kittens caught the eye of Irina Nemikina, a professional cat breeder who visited Elena’s home. Irina adopted the kitten and named it Chita. She was fascinated by Chita’s appearance and personality and decided to create a new cat breed based on her.

She bred Chita with other hairless cats that she found in the streets or shelters of Rostov-on-Don. She also outcrossed her with other breeds such as Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, European Shorthair, and Domestic Shorthairs. She named the new breed Don Sphynx after the Don River that flows through Rostov-on-Don.

Irina Nemikina worked hard to promote and develop the Don Sphynx breed. She registered her cattery with the World Cat Federation (WCF) in 1990 and applied for official recognition of the breed in 1996.

The WCF granted their recognition in 1997 with the breed name: Don Sphynx. The International Cat Association (TICA) followed suit in 2005 but registered the breed as Donskoy.

Donskoy Cat Appearance

Size and Traits

The Donskoy cat is a medium-sized cat that weighs between 6 and 15 pounds when fully grown. They have a muscular and solid body, with a straight back and shoulders that are narrower than the rump. Their long legs and distinctive webbed toes help them grasp objects and climb.


The Donskoy cat’s most striking feature is its apparent hairlessness. The Donskoy cat can have four different types of coat: rubber bald, flock, velour, or brush.

  • Rubber bald type: Completely hairless, with smooth, elastic skin that feels like rubber.
  • Flock type: Fine fuzz covering the whole body, giving it a soft texture.
  • Velour type: Short fur that covers most of the body except for the face, ears, feet, and tail.
  • Brush type: Wiry fur that covers the whole body, sometimes with bald patches.

The coat type of the Donskoy cat can change throughout its life, depending on factors such as age, hormones, seasons, or stress. Some kittens may be born with hair and lose it as they grow older, while others may be born bald and grow some hair later on. Some cats may have different coat types on different parts of their body, such as a rubber bald head and a brush tail.

The Donskoy cat can have any color or pattern on its skin that is found in other cats, such as black, white, red, blue, cream, chocolate, lilac, silver, golden, tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolor, or pointed. The color and pattern of the skin may change with the coat type or the temperature. For example, a black Donskoy cat may appear gray or brown when it has some hair or when it is cold.

Physical Shape

The Donskoy cat has a wedge-shaped head with well-developed cheekbones and eyebrows that give it an expressive look. It has large ears that are set wide apart and slightly tilted forward. It has prominent whisker pads and a strong chin.

Eye Colors

It has almond-shaped eyes that can be any color found in other cats, such as green, blue, yellow, copper, or odd-eyed.


The Donskoy cat has a long, straight tail with a rounded tip. The tail may have some hair or be completely bald.


The Donskoy cat is a friendly, affectionate, curious, playful, intelligent, and loyal cat that will steal your heart with its antics and charm. These cats love to be with their humans and will follow you around the house like a shadow. They will also greet you at the door when you come home, sit on your lap when you watch TV or snuggle with you in bed at night. They are very warm-blooded and enjoy being cozy under blankets or clothes.

The Donskoy cat is also very smart and trainable. They can learn their name, come when called, walk on a leash, or even perform simple tricks like fetching or rolling over. They are eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement. They are also very vocal and will communicate with you through various sounds and gestures.


The Donskoy cat is also very sociable and outgoing. They get along well with children, other cats, and even dogs. They are not shy or aggressive with strangers but rather curious and friendly. They enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.

The Donskoy cat is also very playful and mischievous. They love to play with a variety of toys, especially ones that challenge their intelligence and curiosity. They also like inventing their own games, such as hiding in boxes, opening drawers, or climbing shelves. They are very adventurous and fearless and will explore every nook and cranny of their environment. They need plenty of mental stimulation and an enriched environment to keep them happy and healthy.

The Donskoy cat is a very affectionate and loyal cat, but they also have a strong independent streak. They do not like being left alone for long periods and may become bored or depressed if they do not get enough attention and companionship. They may also develop separation anxiety or destructive behaviors if they feel neglected or abandoned. They thrive in homes where they have constant human interaction and stimulation.

Care and Health

Diet and Nutrition

The Donskoy cat has no special nutritional requirements, but it needs high-quality food that meets its energy and nutritional needs. It also needs omega-3 fatty acids to support its skin health and prevent dryness or irritation. You can supplement its diet with fish oil or flaxseed oil capsules.


The Donskoy cat needs regular grooming to keep its skin clean and healthy. The grooming routine depends on the coat type of the cat. Rubber bald cats need to be bathed once a month with a mild shampoo and moisturized with a lotion or oil after drying. Flock and velour cats must be bathed occasionally and wiped with a damp cloth between baths. Brush cats need to be brushed once a week to remove dead hair and trimmed if necessary.

The Donskoy cat is sensitive to cold and sunburn due to its lack of fur. It needs protection from extreme temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight. You should keep your Donskoy cat indoors only or provide it with clothing or sunscreen when going outside. You should also provide it with warm bedding and blankets to keep it cozy indoors.

Common Health Issues

The Donskoy cat is generally healthy and does not have any breed-specific genetic diseases. However, it may be prone to common health issues affecting other cats, such as dental problems, ear infections, skin infections, or allergies. You should check its teeth regularly for signs of decay or gum disease and brush them daily with a pet toothpaste. You should also check its ears regularly for signs of dirt or wax buildup and clean them gently with a cotton ball or a soft cloth. You should also check its skin regularly for signs of irritation, infection, or parasites and treat them promptly with a veterinarian’s advice.

Where to Buy a Donskoy Cat

You should also be prepared to pay a high price for a Donskoy cat, as they are not very common and may have high demand. The average price range of a Donskoy cat is between $500 and $2,500, some being higher depending on pedigree and location.

You can find a list of Donskoy breeders on the World Cat Federation (WCF) or The International Cat Association (TICA) websites.


Donskoy cats are a rare and fascinating breed that originated in Russia in the late 1980s. They are not a common breed and may be hard to find, but their unique charm and beauty as a hairless cat with wrinkles and expressive faces make them irresistible. They can also be devoted and affectionate lifelong friends for the right person.

More Cat Breeds

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:


Q: Is the Donskoy cat related to the Sphynx cat?

A: No, the Donskoy cat is not related to the Sphynx cat. They have different genetic mutations that cause hairlessness.

Q: What are the different types of coats can the Donskoy cat have?

A: The Donskoy cat can have four different types of coat: rubber bald, flock, velour, or brush. The rubber bald type is completely hairless, the flock type has very fine fuzz, the velour type has short fur, and the brush type has wiry fur.

Q: How often must the Donskoy cat be bathed and moisturized?

A: The Donskoy cat needs to be bathed and moisturized depending on its coat type. Rubber bald cats need to be bathed once a month and moisturized after drying. Flock and velour cats must be bathed occasionally and wiped with a damp cloth between baths. Brush cats need to be brushed once a week and trimmed if necessary.

Q: What common health issues may affect the Donskoy cat?

A: The Donskoy cat may be prone to some common health issues, such as dental problems, ear infections, skin infections, or allergies. You should check its teeth, ears, and skin regularly and treat them promptly with a veterinarian’s advice.

How much does a Donskoy cat cost?

The average price range of a Donskoy cat is between $500 and $2,500, with kittens being more expensive than adult cats. However, some Donskoy cats may cost as much as $5,000 if they are rare or exceptional.

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