Donskoy cat sitting on a pet bed

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The Donskoy cat, also known as the "Don Sphynx" or "Russian hairless," is a distinctive feline breed known for its unique hairless appearance. Originally from Russia, this cat has captured the hearts of cat enthusiasts worldwide with its charming personality and striking features. 

Keep reading to learn more about these unique cats, their history, behavioral characteristics, and care requirements. 

the donskoy cat was discovered in 1987 in Rostov-on-Don

History & Origin of Donskoy Cats

The Donskoy cat's origin can be traced back to Russia, but it's a fairly new breed that was discovered in 1987 in Rostov-on-Don, where a hairless kitten named Varvara" was discovered by a woman named Elena Kovaleva. This discovery marked the foundation of the Donskoy cat breed.

The breed gets its nickname "Don Sphynx" based on the river where she was found – Don — and Sphynx because of the cat's hairlessness. 

Recognizing the uniqueness of Varvara's appearance, Kovaleva decided to develop the trait further. The Donskoy cat was established as a recognized breed through a carefully managed breeding program. The breed gained international recognition and was officially accepted by various cat breeding associations.1 

Today, Donskoy cats are cherished for their striking hairless appearance and engaging personalities, making them a sought-after and unique companion for cat lovers worldwide. 

Physical Attributes of Donskoy Cats

Physical Attributes of Donskoy Cats

  • Height: 11-12 inches
  • Weight: 6-14 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years2

You may notice that Donskoy cats don't look like other types of naked cat breeds like the Peterbald. The Donskoy has a unique physical appearance that sets them apart. Donskoy cats have a moderate weight range, weighing between 6 and 14 pounds, a healthy weight for a cat of its size. This breed is also medium-sized, with a well-proportioned and muscular build. They generally have a balanced physique that complements their hairless appearance.3 

On average, Donskoy cats have a lifespan of around 12-15 years, like most cats. They can live long lives when provided with proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups. 

Despite being renowned for their hairless trait, Donskoy cats can come in a variety of coats. The coat colors of this breed are diverse and include a wide range of shades and patterns. Some common Donskoy cat coats include rubber bald, flocked, velour, and brush.3 What's interesting about these types of coats is that most of them eventually result in hairlessness. Donskoy kittens can be born with fur that eventually disappears throughout its life. 

The skin texture is another thing that sets Donskoys apart. They have a soft, warm skin texture that can have wrinkles around the neck and joints. The skin's pigmentation can vary; some may have spots or patterns. While the rubber bald, flocked, and velour all lose all their fur, the brush coat only loses a portion of its hair over time.3 

These cats are also characterized by large, expressive ears that can be quite prominent. The ears are generally upright, contributing to their alert and attentive expression.3 

Donskoys also have large, almond-shaped eyes that can come in various colors, ranging from yellow and green to blue. They have long and slender tails, proportional to their body. The tail is flexible and can have a significant curve.3

Behavioral Characteristics of Donskoy Cats

Donskoy cats may be known for their unique appearance but have engaging and affectionate behavioral characteristics. While individual cat personalities vary, these cats are known for a few common behaviors. 

Donskoy cats are often described as affectionate and loving cats. They tend to form strong bonds with their human companions and enjoy being close to them. They may seek out cuddles and warmth, making them excellent companions for those looking for a devoted feline friend. 

The breed is also social and generally enjoys interacting with people, including children and other pets. They're known for their friendly demeanor and adapt well to various social environments. This sociable nature makes them a good fit for families and individuals alike. 

Like many cats, Donskoy cats and kittens are playful. They enjoy interactive play and may engage in activities like chasing toys, climbing, and exploring their surroundings. Providing them with stimulating toys and play opportunities can help keep them entertained. 

These cats are also considered intelligent. They can learn quickly and may enjoy puzzle toys or activities that challenge their minds. This intelligence can make them responsive to training and interactive play sessions. 

Keep in mind that because of their hairlessness, Donskoy cats may be drawn to warmth. They may seek out sunny spots in the home or enjoy cozy blankets to stay comfortable. Providing them with warm areas for them to rest can improve their overall well-being.3

Donskoy Cat Health Risks

Donskoy cats are considered a healthy breed.1 However, their hairlessness can make them prone to certain conditions, such as: 

  • Sun sensitivity: Donskoy cats can be more prone to sunburn due to their lack of fur or sparse coat. It's recommended to provide them with indoor shelter during peak sunlight hours or apply pet-safe sunscreen to areas with less hair coverage. 
  • Skin health: The hairlessness of these cats requires special attention to skin health. Regular bathing may be necessary to remove oils and debris, and moisturizing with a cat-friendly product can help keep their skin in good condition. 
  • Temperature sensitivity: Hairless breeds may be more sensitive to extreme temperatures. You should ensure a comfortable and warm environment for your Donskoy, especially during the colder seasons. 
  • Dental health: Like many cat breeds, Donskoy cats may be prone to dental issues like dental disease and dental plaque. Regular dental care, including tooth brushing and providing dental treats, can improve and support their oral health.4 

Caring For a Donskoy Cat

Donskoy cats require the same level of care as any other cat but have special considerations due to their hairless coat.

Due to their lack of hair, Donskoy cats typically require regular skin care, which means cleaning their skin regularly. You can use cat-friendly wipes to keep your cat clean between baths. Additionally, these cats may be sensitive to sunlight, so they might require sun protection if spending any time in the sun.1 

Hairless breeds are also more sensitive to extreme temperatures. Keep your cat in a comfortable and warm environment at all times. You can also consider getting them sweaters for the colder months. 

Ensure a well-balanced, high-quality cat food appropriate for your cat's age, size, and activity level. You can consult with your vet for proper diet and nutrition recommendations.1  Your vet might also suggest a weight management plan if your cat is overweight. 

In addition to at-home care, you should schedule routine veterinary visits for vaccinations, preventive care, and wellness checks. Regular check-ups allow for early detection of potential health issues and contribute to overall well-being. 

Cats also need enrichment. Donskoy cats are known for their intelligence and active nature and require mental stimulation. Provide a variety of toys, scratching posts, and interactive play to keep them engaged and prevent boredom-related behaviors. 

Keep in mind that Donskoy cats are known for their affectionate and social nature. As such, they can experience anxiety when left alone for too long. Spend quality time with your cat, offering cuddles and play. They may also enjoy the company of other cats, but keep in mind that every cat is different. 

While one Donskoy may enjoy the company of others and want to cuddle, another may prefer a more independent lifestyle. Getting to know your cat is important to ensure you can provide them with the specific type of care they want and need. 


What is the difference between a Donskoy and a Sphynx?

Donskoy and Sphynx cats are hairless breeds, but they're different. While the Sphynx has a fine, downy coat, the Donskoy can have varying degrees of hairlessness depending on its coat type, from completely bald to a velour-like coat. Additionally, the Donskoy has a more muscular build and more wrinkled skin. 

How much does a Donskoy cat cost?

The Donskoy cat price can vary based on factors like pedigree, age, and breeder reputation. If you can find a Donskoy at a pet shelter, costs may be lower and will include things like neutering and health exams. 

Keep in mind that other than the initial cost of getting a Donskoy, there are ongoing costs of pet ownership. Before adopting a cat, you should review your financial situation to make sure you're prepared for these expenses. 

Are Donskoy cats good pets?

Every cat has a unique personality, but Donskoy cats are generally known for being good pets. They are affectionate and social and enjoy human companionship. Their playful and curious nature makes them engaging companions. 

Individual behavior can vary with any pet, so spending time with a Donskoy before bringing one home can help ensure a good match for your lifestyle and preferences. Regular care, attention, and proper socialization contribute to a positive relationship with your Donskoy cat. 

Woman holding Donskoy cat

Final Notes

If you're looking for a unique cat, the Donskoy might be right for you. Known for their moderate size, unique coat, and affectionate behavior, these cats make wonderful additions to families and individuals looking for a playful and intelligent feline companion. 

Looking for convenient and reliable pet care solutions? Try Dutch online pet care and try our online pet pharmacy. We connect you with licensed vets in the comfort of your home and on your schedule. Take care of your Donskoy and ensure they get the care they need when they need it most. Sign up for a Dutch membership today. 



  1. Patterson, Jonathan. “Donskoy.” Welcome to TICA - The International Cat Association, TICA Cats, TICA Pedigreed Cats, Pedigreed Cats, Pedigreed Cats Registry, Household Pet Cat Registry, Domestic Cat Registry, Savannah Cat, Bengal Cat, Persian Cat, Maine Coon Cat,

  2. Adams, Christian. “Donskoy Cat Breed: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits.” Catster, 29 Jan. 2024,

  3. “Donskoy Breed.” Welcome to TICA - The International Cat Association, TICA Cats, TICA Pedigreed Cats, Pedigreed Cats, Pedigreed Cats Registry, Household Pet Cat Registry, Domestic Cat Registry, Savannah Cat, Bengal Cat, Persian Cat, Maine Coon Cat,


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