General Description and History

The Donskoy Cat is a hairless cat breed of Russian origin. This cat breed started in 1987 with the discovery of a hairless cat in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don by cat breeder Elena Kovaleva. It is not related to the better known hairless breed of cat the Sphynx, also known as the Canadian hairless, whose characteristic hairlessness is caused by a recessive gene, whereas the Don hairlessness is caused by a dominant gene.

The Donskoy was first officially recognized by World Cat Federation (WCF) in 1997, and by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2005. The standard of points describes the cat as being medium-sized and muscular, with large ears, almond shaped eyes and distinctive long, webbed toes. They require frequent grooming, in spite of their lack of coat. Over-bathing can cause the skin to become very oily.

The Peterbald cat breed was originally created by crossing Donskoy with Siamese and Oriental cats to create a hairless cat of Oriental type. Matings between Donskoy and Peterbald are no longer permitted.

The Donskoy is in a class of its own. It is a highly intelligent, beautiful loving cat that looks directly into your eyes and seems to penetrate your very soul. These beautiful hairless cats remind you of extra terrestrials coming from the outer universe. Their appearance is characterized by magic harmony and their wrinkles give them an extraordinary old wizened look. If you can imagine the head of ET with long shell type ears, almond-shaped eyes that make you believe in the transmigration of a Bastet Goddess Ghost, the scruff of a giraffe, a small belly of a piglet, the tail of the Rats` King from The Nutcracker, small webbed toys of a monkey all wrapped up in into a leather or suede vestment with numerous wrinkles – you willl get the surrealistic image of the enigmatic Donskoy.

The Donskoy is a Russian breed whose history starts with the foundational cat being discovered in the city Rostov-on-Don in Russia in 1987. Elena Kovaleva, a professor of the State Pedagogical Institute, encountered young boys playing soccer with a bag–inside the bag was a kitten squalling of fear and pain. Elena took the bag and brought the kitten home. She named the kitten Varvara. Varvara grew up losing her hair for which she was treated for in vain.


A couple of years later Varvara gave birth to both haired and completely hairless kittens. The kittens with hair began to lose it just as their mother did. People decided that the kittens were unhealthy and decided to get rid of them. Irina Nemikina, enthusiast and professional cat breeder rescued a kitten and in several years generated a completely new breed of Russian cat, a hairless one which she named–the Don Sphynx. Don after the river Varvara was found beside and Sphynx because it was hairless. In TICA it is known as the Donskoy.

Donskoy Personality

The Donskoy cat breed is a very intriguing, elegant, unique, inquisitive, soft-hearted and social cat. They are very active, extremely friendly, highly intelligent very loving and amiable. The Donskoy cat is very good-natured, gentle, easy to groom and handle. Their coats are warm and soft to the touch making then wonderful to hold and cuddle. They have a well balanced personality, show a lively interest in their surroundings, and enjoy making up & playing games. Donskoy cats are extremely affectionate with a frisky nature and an irrepressible curiosity. They are very social and are under the impression that anyone entering the home is there to see them. Their social skills extend to other animals to which they also will offer companionship. They are loyal and dedicated to their owners. These highly sociable cats need company and should not be without a companion pet. Donskoy love to be a part of all your activities and are easily trained to follow voice commands.


The Donskoy sports 4 different coats types in a variety of colors. All but one coat usually results in hairlessness. The Donskoy cat carries a dominant hair loss gene that causes their birth coat to fall out if they have one. Their coats include Rubber Bald, Flocked, Velour and Brush. The Rubber Bald is born bald and remains that way throughout its life. The Flock coat appears hairless and has the texture of a soft chamois. The Flock coat can disappear and the cat can become bald. Velour-coated kittens are born with a bald spot or Monk’s cap on the top of the head. Their wool-like coat becomes wiry and disappears gradually within the first year or so with some residual hair remaining on the face, legs and tail. The Velour can also completely lose their coat and become bald over time. The last coat is Brush and only a portion of their coat is lost over time. Their coat can be bristly, soft, wavy, and often wiry on their whole body with bald areas on the head, upper part of neck or on the back. The Donskoy cat is unique in that it can grow a winter coat (fine wool on the chest and hairs on the end of the tail) and will lose it when the weather warms. Their skin is similar to human: it sweats when it is hot and it gets sun-tanned.

Donskoy cats are elegant and sturdy with strong boning. They are medium-sized with soft hairless wrinkled skin that feels hot and velvety to the touch. Their skin is excessively elastic, with pronounced wrinkles on the cheeks, jowls and under the chin with vertical wrinkles separating their ears and running down the forehead spreading into horizontal lines above the eyes. Wrinkles are also found at the base of the neck, in the breast area, at the base of the tail, on the front and undersides of the legs, down the sides of the body to the underbelly and groin.

Males as a rule are generally larger than females. The Donskoy cat is medium to medium-long in length, dense, muscular, strong-boned, with wide breast and croup. They have a deep groin-line with a well-rounded abdomen called a fatty belly where fat accumulates in the winter. Their body is almost pear shaped. They are hard and muscular, not a delicate cat. The male has stud jowls, a thicker neck, wider shoulders, and a broader head than the female. The male is more muscular and gets significantly larger than the female. The front legs are shorter than their back legs yet are in proportion with their body. They have oval feet with long slender toes. Toes are very long, slim and distinguished with thumbs that bend inward rather than downward on the front paws giving the appearance of slender hands (monkey fingers). Webs separate the long toes. Their tail is medium long, straight and tapers from body to rounded tip.

Article Name
Donskoy Cat Breed
The Donskoy Cat breed is a hairless cat of Russian origin. This cat breed started in 1987 with the discovery of a hairless cat in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don by cat breeder Elena Kovaleva.
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