Also known as the Don Sphynx, Russian Hairless or the Don Hairless, the Donskoy is a breed arising from a natural mutation. In 1987 a blue tortoiseshell kitten was rescued Elena Kovaleva. The kitten named Varvara began to lose her fur around four months of age. Initially, it was thought that the hair loss was due to a fungal, skin or mite infection and appropriate treatments were given. However, despite this, her coat didn’t grow back. A year later she mated with the neighbouring tom and produced a litter of kittens. One kitten was given to a friend of Elena’s, Irina Nemykina. The kitten, named Chita began to lose her fur around four months of age, as had occurred with her mother. Chita was mated with another neighbourhood tom and produced four male kittens, this time developing a “velour” coat.
These cats went on to become the founding stock of the Donskoy, outcrossing with European Shorthairs to increase the gene pool. In 1997 a Donskoy was mated to an Oriental and the resulting offspring went on to found the Peterbald breed.
The gene responsible is different to that of the “Canadian” Sphynx. The hairlessness in the Sphynx is recessive, which means both parents must pass a copy on to the offspring in order for them to inherit the trait, however, the gene for the Donskoy is dominant and only one copy is required for the offspring to be hairless.
The Donskoy was recognised by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and by TICA in 2005.
Appearance of the Donskoy:
The Donskoy is a medium-sized cat of muscular build. They are stockier than the Canadian Sphynx with heavier boning. The body is long and stocky, leading to a thin, tapering tail. The toes are long with webbed.
The head is short and wedge-shaped, with large ears set wide apart and almond shaped eyes.
The coat comes in four forms. From completely hairless to a “normal” coat. Some kittens are born completely bald, known as “sticky bald”. All colours and patterns are accepted.
Temperament of the Donskoy:
The Donskoy is an extremely affectionate breed of cat, they love nothing more than spending time with their human companions.
They are playful, energetic, intelligent and get along with people and other pets. Gentle in nature, they make an exceptional family pet.