Graceful tortoise (torty) Donskoy cat in studio on black background.
(Photo Credit: Svetlanistaya | Getty Images)


The Donskoy cat, a breed as distinct as it is elegant, has a hairless body and captivating personality. One of the most distinguishing features of the Donskoy cat is their hairlessness, a result of a natural genetic mutation that emerged in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia in the early 1990s. Despite their apparent lack of fur, Donskoys are not to be mistaken for being cold or uninviting; on the contrary, their exposed skin feels warm and soft to the touch, making them especially sought after by those seeking an affectionate and unique feline companion. The Donskoy is also sometimes known as the Don Sphynx.

Beyond their physical uniqueness, Donskoy cats are known for their friendly and sociable nature. These cats form strong bonds with their human counterparts, often seeking warmth and closeness. Their interactive and playful personalities make them well-suited for households where they can receive the attention and affection they crave.

When considering a Donskoy, it’s advisable to prioritize adopting from rescue organizations or shelters to provide a loving home to a cat in need. However, if you decide to purchase, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the breeder follows ethical practices and prioritizes the well-being of their cats. Reputable Donskoy breeders prioritize the health and temperament of their cats, conduct necessary health screenings, and provide a nurturing environment for the kitties. This active approach ensures that you bring home a healthy and happy kitty while discouraging unethical breeding practices.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: Russia
  • Size: Medium
  • Breed Group: Hairless/Semi-hairless (Don Sphynx or Donskoy)
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat: Can be hairless, flocked (appears hairless but feels like chamois), velour (short, fine hair), brush (sparse, curly hair), or straight (short, fine hair).
  • Temperament: Intelligent, playful, affectionate, loyal, social, active, curious, enjoys human interaction
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate to high
  • Training: Easy to train, enjoys learning tricks
  • Grooming: Varies depending on coat type, but generally requires regular bathing and moisturizing.
  • Health: Generally healthy, but some potential for genetic health conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
  • The hairlessness gene in Donskoy cats is dominant unlike other Sphynx breeds. These cars are either born bald or lose their fur over time.
  • Aside from lacking fur, Donskoys also lack whiskers!
  • There are four types of Donskoys: Rubber Bald, Flocked, Velour, and Brush. The Brush and Velour coats may retain some fur as they grow.

Donskoy Pictures

Donskoy History

The story of the Donskoy begins in 1987 in Russia when a professor named Elena Kovaleva noticed some kids playing soccer with a bag. When Kovaleva heard the sound of meowing coming from inside the bag, she discovered that a kitten was being kicked around.

After Kovaleva rescued the kitten, she noticed that the animal began to lose their hair as they grew older. Later on, the cat gave birth to more kittens who also lost their hair or were born bald!

One of these kittens was adopted by a breeder named Irina Nemikina, who began to develop the Donskoy. The Donskoy was officially recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1987.

Donskoy Size

The Donskoy is a medium-sized cat. As is always the case, exact size standards might vary.

Most Donskoys weigh in at six to 15 pounds.

Donskoy Personality

The Donskoy has a reputation as one of the gentlest cat breeds around. They are loving and sociable and enjoy being around both humans and other cats, so if you already have a feline-friendly household, definitely consider the Donskoy if you’re looking to add more cats to the homestead.

Donskoys love to be handled by humans and will always want to be the center of attention when you’re at home. It’s vital to understand that the breed needs companionship, so this is not the best cat to adopt if you’re away for long periods of the day due to work commitments or if you travel a lot.

The Donskoy is an intelligent and inquisitive cat, so you’ll also want to provide an environment where the breed can explore and seek out new adventures on their own. Strategic use of smart and interactive toys can help keep your cat stimulated and satisfied.

Donskoy Health

Donskoys are generally considered to be healthy cats; although, it’s important to schedule regular wellness visits with your cat’s vet. Some of the more common health problems Donskoys suffer from include:

  • Sunburn: While cats have fur that provides some natural protection against the sun, they can still be susceptible to sunburn, particularly in areas where the fur is thin or skin is exposed. Hairless breeds, such as the Donskoy cat, are more vulnerable to sunburn because they lack fur as a natural barrier against the sun’s UV rays.
  • Skin Issues: Skin issues in cats can manifest for various reasons, ranging from allergies and infections to underlying medical conditions. It’s important to note that diagnosing the specific cause of a cat’s skin problem often requires a veterinarian’s expertise.

  • Tooth Decay: Tooth decay in cats, also known as dental caries, is relatively uncommon compared to dental issues such as periodontal disease. Unlike humans, cats typically do not experience true tooth decay involving the breakdown of tooth structure due to bacterial acid. However, dental problems in cats are often associated with plaque buildup, tartar formation, and gingivitis.

Donskoy Care

As with all cats, it’s important to keep up your Donskoy’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your cat healthy. Beyond scheduling yearly wellness visits with your vet, you’ll definitely want to add a scratching post to your living environment. This can help promote healthy scratching and keep the cat’s nails in good condition.

The Donskoy’s ears should also be examined regularly for signs of dirt building up or possible infection. It’s advisable to talk with your vet about starting a regular teeth brushing regimen that will suit your Donskoy, especially as the breed is prone to suffering from tooth and gum issues. Your vet can advise you about specific brands and techniques.

Donskoy Coat Color And Grooming

The Donskoy’s coat comes in four different types that can be many different colors. These coats are known as rubber bald, flocked, velour, and brush. Rubber bald cats are bald and remain that way for life. Flocked coats are yellowish and may disappear as the baldness gene takes over. Velour kittens have a bald spot on their heads with wiry, woolly hair on the body that disappears after their first year, though some of the coat can remain. Brush coats cover the whole body except for patches on the head and neck or back.

When it comes to grooming, the Donskoy is a hairless cat so you’ll need to wipe the breed down daily. This is to get rid of oils that the skin produces–as a hairless cat, there is no hair to absorb the oils. You’ll also need to instigate a bathing routine, ideally once a week but definitely at least twice a month.

Climate is also an issue to keep an eye on: The Donskoy does not fair well in extreme temperatures. Speak to your vet about applying a suitable sunscreen to the cat, and also consider a cat coat during the colder months. While Donskoys may grow a winter coat, it is often fine and not suited for very cold winters. Interestingly, cats of this breed can sweat through their skin and even get tan with exposure to sunlight, much like humans. That said, protection from the elements is a must, so talk to your vet.

Children And Other Pets

The Donskoy is a friendly and social cat who does well with young children. Just be sure that early socialization takes place and boundaries are properly set on both sides–and supervise early interactions between kids and cats.

When it comes to other household pets, the Donskoy fares well with many domestic animals. Although, you’ll want to supervise early interactions between the new cat and existing pets. Ultimately, early socialization really pays off with this breed. Make sure to reward your Donskoy for good behavior when you bring them home to your family!

Donskoy Rescue Groups

It may be hard to find a breed specific rescue for Donskoy cats because they are a somewhat rare. However, you may want to try shelters and rescues that cater to all types of cats, including Donskoys, as well as your local shelter. Here are some nonprofit rescues you can try:


Life Span
12 to 15 years
6 to 15 pounds
Country Of Origin


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