Introducing the 6 bald cat breeds: it’s not just their looks that make them special

Hangai Lilla

2024. February 14 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Our next article will be a good lesson for those who judge a book by its cover and refuse to learn about hairless cats because of their appearance. And for those who are fans of the sphynx look, but didn't know that other naked cats existed, the world can now open up.


To avoid any confusion, if you are looking for a hypoallergenic cat, you are in the wrong place. Unfortunately, the reality is that we are not allergic to cat fur, but to a protein called FEL D1 in the cat’s saliva and skin. Now that we’ve cleared that up, here come the bald cats!

The list includes breeds such as the Lykoi, which is not completely bald but have incomplete fur.

1. Sphinx

The sphinx is the result of a natural mutation, but breeders have faced many challenges in breeding them due to the limited genetic pool. This problem has now been overcome by the occasional inclusion of hairy individuals in breeding.

The Sphynx loves attention, it loves to be the centre of it. Energetic and athletic, she loves to play. He has a very kind and friendly nature, loves to be stroked and caressed. They have a hard time being alone, their owner is all they have. It can only be kept indoors, its naked body requires special care. (This is also true for all the other breeds on the list.) -it usually gets on well with dogs and other cats.

2. Elf

The elf was created by cross-breeding the sphinx and the American curl and is also known as the imp of the cat world. The breed has only been around for 20 years, so it is not yet officially recognised by the associations, but it is likely to have a promising future and is already very popular. It owes this to its peculiar appearance on the one hand and its exceptional inner qualities on the other.

The breed’s creators wanted to create a cat with the internal characteristics of a sphynx, but with ears that curl back like the American curl. Experience so far shows that they have succeeded. The elf is a playful, friendly, happy cat who loves to be near its owner. It is very friendly and intelligent, and can be taught tricks. It can also be ideal for families, it gets on well with other animals.

3. Donskoy

The donskoy is surprisingly not related to the sphinx. Its breeding was not without problems, as the kittens’ hair started to fall out over time, leading to the suspicion that a disease might be the cause. However, it was later discovered that a hereditary genetic mutation was causing the hair loss (not the same one as with the sphynx), so the breeding programme began. Kittens are often born with hair and then go bald at around 2 years of age. Sparse fur may remain on the muzzles, ears, legs and the tail of the animal.

The Donskoy is a very open and friendly cat, its curiosity knows no boundaries. Its temperament is often compared to that of a dog: it can be trained to retrieve, but it can also be taught tricks and to walk on a leash. They are active, fun cats who love to be close to humans, so they are only recommended for owners who can devote more time and energy than average to their pet. They are also very well suited to families: gentle with children and attentive to the elderly.

4. Peterbald

The Russian peterbald may be completely hairless, but its body may also be covered with tiny hairs resembling the feel of a peach. The first specimens were the result of cross-breeding a Donskoy and an oriental shorthair. Baldness is dominantly inherited in their case, with hairless individuals often having sparse whiskersas well. However, it is still not known why the gene that causes baldness in them causes some individuals to lose their hair during their lifetime if they are born with hair.

The peterbald embodies everything a cat owner could dream of. He can be a well-balanced, kind, quiet, yet qurious companion. Like the previous breeds, it is very energetic and intelligent, so it is essential to stimulate him mentally and physically. It’s a vocal cat, whose purring is also louder than average. Not a single-owner pet; it can be a great choice for families and can form deep, affectionate relationships with several people.

5. Ukrainian levkoy

The Ukrainian levkoy is a young breed with a history dating back to 2004. It was created by cross-breeding the Donskoy and Scottish fold which is why many people are sceptical about it. (About the problems affecting the Scottish lop-eared read more here.) The breed is not officially recognised by any major organisation. It can be completely hairless, or covered with short hairs with a peachy touch.

It seems to be dreamlike in character, carrying traits from both ancestors. She is an intelligent, calm and loyal pet whose family is everything. Patient and playful, always up for a bit of fun, but never demanding. When playtime is over, it also appreciates physical contact, loves to be stroked and often naps on its owner’s lap. Its fans describe the breed as a real stress reliever. As we have already seen, it is an incredibly social animal that can become depressed if left alone for long periods. We only recommend it for families or owners who spend a lot of time at home and have the energy to care for the cat.

6. Lykoi

The werewolf kitten, aka the lykoi have a somewhat frightening appearance according to some, and is the result of a natural mutation that appeared by chance in a wild population. Recessively inherited, the lykoi gene cannot be linked to any other bald gene. The semi-hairy tiny werewolf has a silky coat, resembling a possum by standard. The undercoat is deficient, as is the covering hair, mainly on the mask, the back of the ears, the legs and the feet.

Like all hairless cats, the Lykoi is characterised by extreme kindness and affection. As a cat, it is not afraid to show its affection, and will immediately cuddle up if it wants to. Its intelligence is also outstanding, which makes it important to teach it tricks and play with it a lot. Every moment we spend with one of these cats is a gift, very fun and easy to live with. The breed is adaptable, so it can easily fit into families, but be aware that it does not tolerate being alone well.

Which of the 6 best suits you?

bald cats doni sphinx elf cat hairless cat lykoi peterbald semi hairless cat sphynx Ukrainian levkoy

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